5 Sep 2012

First Lady urges voters to give Obama another term

10:22 pm on 5 September 2012

US First Lady Michelle Obama headlined the first night of the Democratic Party convention on Tuesday, urging voters to re-elect her husband.

She addressed a packed convention centre in Charlotte, North Carolina, following a string of fiery speeches, highlighting Barack Obama's character and attributes as a father and husband.

Mrs Obama acknowledged that the change her husband wants to enact has proven difficult over the past four years, but asked voters to give him another term to fix America's weak economy.

"He reminds me that we are playing a long game here, and that change is hard, and change is slow, and it never happens all at once. But eventually we get there. We always do."

Michelle Obama described her husband as a man who is in touch with ordinary Americans and her speech connected their shared background to the values she said guided Mr Obama as president, the BBC reports.

"As president, you can get all kinds of advice from all kinds of people, but at the end of the day, when it comes time to make that decision, as president, all you have to guide you are your values and your vision and the life experiences that make you who you are."

Mrs Obama said her husband was inspired by his own background when advocating for laws involving fair pay for women, healthcare and student debt.

"When it comes to the health of our families, Barack refused to listen to all those folks who told him to leave health reform for another day, another president. He didn't care whether it was the easy thing to do politically - no, that's not how he was raised. He cared that it was the right thing to do."

She said he had not been changed by the White House and was "still the same man I fell in love with all those years ago".

Former president Bill Clinton is Wednesday's highlight at the , with Mr Obama to close the event on Thursday when he will formally accept his nomination.

The BBC reports the convention is likely to highlight the party's diversity, with young black and Hispanic party members set to deliver speeches.

San Antonio mayor Julian Castro is to give the keynote address. Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, a former White House chief of staff, will also take to the stage.

Debates ahead

Republican nominee Mitt Romney is expected to spend the week preparing for a series of debates with Barack Obama.

A recent opinion poll shows Mr Obama maintains a thin lead over the Republican nominee. But an ABC News/Washington Post poll released as the convention got under way showed Mr Obama with the lowest pre-convention favourability for an incumbent president since the 1980s.

Mr Obama is expected to answer Republican attacks that his economic policies have failed, and present himself to voters as an experienced and caring alternative to Mr Romney.

The election will be held on 6 November.