MIAMI LAKES, Fla. (AP) — First lady Michelle Obama told supporters she is fired up and urged them to “get it done in Florida,” during a sweep through the state Tuesday.
Obama reminded volunteers a few thousand votes could make the difference in an extremely close election in the fall. The latest polls show her husband, President Barak Obama, with a narrow lead over Republican challenger Mitt Romney. And Florida is considered one of the top battleground states with 29 electoral college votes up for grabs.
Obama’s trip marked her first official public campaign jaunt through Florida this year. She has come previously to promote her work as first lady and to attend private fundraisers.
Obama was in full campaign mode as she highlighted her husband’s efforts to create more jobs before a packed audience at the Barbara Goleman Senior High School gym in the western Miami suburb of Miami Lakes. She also touted the president’s signature health care law, which she emphasized has increased affordable, preventative care for many, as well eased access to contraception for women and enabled more than 6 million young adults to remain on their parents’ health insurance.
Obama urged everyone in attendance to register to vote and make sure their neighbors registered as well.
“Multiply yourselves,” she said.
“Let me ask you one more question?” the first lady said as she finished her speech. “Are you all in? ‘Cause I’m in. I’m so way in, and I am so fired up.”
Obama received a roaring affirmative from the more than 1,000 grassroots supporters.
Clara Gabriel, 49, a Broward County school teacher, was among those who signed up to volunteer with the campaign after the first lady’s speech.
Gabriel, a native of Haiti, voted for President Obama in 2008, but like several others in attendance Tuesday, she did not get involved with the campaign during the last election.
“It’s very different this time,” she said. “I don’t want him to lose. There is much more he needs to do, and I feel I have to do my part now.”
The first lady headed to Orlando Tuesday afternoon. Before speaking to about 2,000 supporters at the University of Central Florida, she joined an exercise class for grade-school-age children at a nearby YMCA. Dressed in sneakers and capris, she joined the children in an energetic game of tag. She also joined a dance exercise class for older children.
Echoing what she told Miami supporters, Obama told the Orlando crowd at UCF that her husband wanted to restore security to the middle class.
“We’re not doing this because we want to win an election, although we do and we will,” she said. “We’re doing this for the vision for our country that we all share.”
Associated Press writer Mike Schneider in Orlando contributed to this report.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.