First lady visits Ohio on 1st day of early voting
CINCINNATI — First lady Michelle Obama visited Ohio on the first day of early voting on Tuesday, reminding a spirited crowd of 6,800 people that the last presidential election in the key swing state came down to just about 260,000 votes and that the current race will be even closer.
Obama said that 260,000 votes may not sound like a lot, but broken down, they amounted to 24 votes per precinct.
“Do you hear me? Twenty-four votes!” she said. “Just take that in for a moment. That could mean just a couple votes in your neighborhood, on your block. That could be just a single vote in your apartment building, one vote in your dorm room.”
She urged everyone in the crowd to keep that number in their head as the race comes down to its final weeks.
“It’s all at stake this November,” she said. “And it can all come down to what happens in just a few key battleground states like right here in Ohio.
“Early voting starts today!” she yelled. “Today!”
The crowd responded to the first lady with roars of excitement throughout the 30-minute speech, waving American flags and chanting, “Fired up! Ready to vote!” and “Four more years!”
Michelle Obama also retold a familiar tale about why she married Obama, how she and her husband have lived the American dream and that it’s important to help others struggling to reach their own goals.
She also touted her husband’s four years in office, pointing to health care reform, the end of the war in Iraq, Osama bin Laden’s death and the auto bailout.
Before Obama took the stage, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown told the audience that they were lucky to live in Ohio.
“We get to choose who the next president of the United States is,” he said “Your vote is so important.”
No candidate has won without Ohio’s 18 electoral votes since John F. Kennedy in 1960. Barack Obama won in Ohio in 2008, by about 260,000 votes, 52 percent to 47 percent.
A recent CBS/New York Times poll by Quinnipiac University showed Obama with a lead over former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney in Ohio, 53 percent to 43 percent. The margin of error was plus or minor 3 percentage points.
The candidates are set to have their first debate on Wednesday in Colorado.
Leah Ellsworth, a 62-year-old Cincinnati resident who attended the first lady’s speech, said she is going to cast a mail-in ballot for Obama this week because of his health care legislation that she said allowed her to get back on insurance after being cut off in 2009 during a battle with breast cancer.
She also said that she doesn’t feel that Romney will work for the middle class like Obama.
“He doesn’t have the perfection or understanding of how to help the middle class,” she said. “He hasn’t experienced it.”