Politics

First Lady Touts Health Care Legislation and Economic Growth

First Lady Michelle Obama appeared before the Democratic National Committee's Women's Leadership Forum in full campaign mode Friday, urging the crowd of nearly 500 to help the party win in November.

"When you need something done and you ask women to do it it gets done, end of story," Mrs. Obama said. "We're going to need you to get out there and get it done."

Borrowing a line from the campaign trail that candidate Obama often used at the end of his rallies, she acknowledged that bringing change doesn't happen overnight, and it requires patience. "Progress doesn't happen without struggle and sacrifice. This stuff is supposed to be hard."

 

While she discussed her recent trips to Haiti and Mexico, and touted her national campaign to combat childhood obesity, Mrs. Obama spent a good part of her remarks lauding her husband's accomplishments.

"This man is working hard," she told audience at the Washington Hilton.

The first lady praised Mr. Obama for getting health care legislation passed and credited him with putting Americans back to work and getting the economy back on track.

"While a lot of folks are still hurting... we are finally heading in the right direction. Our economy is growing again instead of shrinking," she said to rumbling applause. "We have achieved all of this and more in just the first 15 months. So if this is what we can do in 15 months, just imagine what we can achieve in the next 15 months."

The first lady's remarks echoed a statement by her husband earlier in the day, when - flanked by his economic team - Mr. Obama said Friday's jobs report delivered encouraging news. "We now know that the economy has been growing for the better part of a year. And this steady growth is starting to give businesses the confidence to expand and to hire new people," the president proclaimed. "These numbers are particularly heartening when you consider where we were a year ago, with an economy in freefall."

The Labor Department announced Friday that 290,000 jobs were created in April, the biggest monthly total in four years. But the unemployment rate climbed from 9.7 percent to 9.9 percent, which the Republican National Committee calls "unacceptably high."

"The American people will not accept Obama's 'new normal' that includes high unemployment rates coupled with destructive policies that will put additional restrictions and taxes on the very businesses that will help create jobs," RNC Chairman Michael Steele said in a statement. "President Obama's policies have only served to do further damage to the economy by increasing our nation's debt and increasing the taxpayer's burden."