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First Lady Michelle Obama called on voters to continue the changes that began two years ago when her husband was elected president during a political fundraiser on Tuesday for Sen. Barbara Boxer at the Ebell Theatre on Wilshire Boulevard.
The first lady was joined on stage by Boxer and Dr. Jill Biden, the wife of Vice President Joe Biden, and called on audience members to encourage people to vote. Mrs. Obama said while much has been accomplished during the past two years, the Nov. 2 election will be critical in ensuring the progress that has been made continues. Boxer is facing Republican candidate Carly Fiorina in one of many races around the country that will determine the balance of power in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. The close races have prompted the first lady, and President Barack Obama, to hit the campaign trail in support of democratic candidates.
“I know that a lot of folks are still hurting. For a lot of folks, change hasn’t come fast enough,” Mrs. Obama said. “But rest assured, it hasn’t come fast enough for Barack either. The truth is, it is going to take a lot longer to dig ourselves out of this hole than anyone would like. But if you remember, that is exactly what Barack told us. There is too much at stake, not just for our future, but for our children’s future. We’ve come too far, and we can’t stop now.”
Boxer began her remarks by wishing a speedy recovery for Fiorina, who was hospitalized Tuesday after being diagnosed with an infection related to reconstructive surgery following her battle with breast cancer. But Boxer attacked Fiorina’s policy objectives, and her opponent’s support from Republicans such as Karl Rove and tax reform advocate Grover Norquist. Boxer accused the Republicans of attempting to stifle voter turnout, particularly among the Latino population, and said she would continue to champion causes including limiting offshore oil drilling, protecting women’s right to abortion, and creating new jobs in California.
“I am saying to those who would try to depress voter turnout, it isn’t going to work. We are going to come out and vote,” Boxer said. “They say we want to ship jobs out to China, well I want to see jobs in Chino and Chico and Chula Vista. There is a choice between candidates who want to overturn Roe vs. Wade. It’s a choice between candidates who even after the BP tragedy, want to ‘drill, baby, drill’ off our coast. I know this is a tough fight, this is a brutal fight, but is this state worth fighting for? That’s what we are doing here tonight. We are getting ready for a fight, and if we turnout, we are going to win.”
Mrs. Obama touted Boxer’s dedicated career serving the public, both during her 10 years in the House of Representatives, and the past 17 years in the U.S. Senate. The first lady said Boxer is “a champion for California’s families” and added that “there is no one who fights harder, there is no one who cares more deeply than our friend, Barbara Boxer.”
Mrs. Obama also characterized Boxer as part of the solution to larger problems affecting the nation, including health care reform and improvements to education. She said many people may feel that the American dream of home ownership and enabling their children to go to college is out of reach, and she said by supporting candidates like Boxer, it will enable her husband to continue moving forward an agenda designed to make housing more affordable, and education more attainable, for everyone.
“We are here not just because of the election, we are here to renew the promise of restoring the American dream,” Mrs. Obama said. “We believe every child should have access to outstanding public schools, we believe in some simple truths, that if you are sick, you should be able to see a doctor, that if you work hard, you can make a decent wage and save for retirement. That you can work hard, and leave something for your kids. That’s the vision we are fighting for. Don’t lose sight of that.”
The first lady’s appearance at the Ebell Theatre was organized by the Democratic National Committee and the Friends of Barbara Boxer. Approximately 1,000 people in attendance paid $100 each for admission to the fundraiser.
The small, intimate event was in stark contrast to a political rally held on Oct. 22 at the University of Southern California, where President Barack Obama appeared before an estimated crowd of approximately 37,500 people in support of California’s Democratic candidates. The mood was upbeat throughout the rally, which also included speeches by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, California’s Speaker of the Assembly John Perez, actors Kal Penn and Jamie Foxx, gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown, and Boxer. President Obama also said the nation is at a critical point in history, where voters will decide the balance of power in Congress. The president said Republican candidates want to “roll back laws that would keep California on the cutting edge”, and added that the millions of dollars spent by special interests — and in the case of gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman, the candidates themselves — demonstrate an attempt to limit access to government only to those who can afford it.
“All this money that they are paying into this election is not just an affront to our elections, it is an affront to us as Americans,” President Obama said. “If everybody who fought for change in 2008 turns out, we will win this election. You don’t get involved just to elect a new president, you get involved because it is a defining moment. That’s why some of you cast your vote for the first time in 2008. Week by week, day by day, we’ve been grinding it out because that is the nature of change, and what I think is a complex Democracy. Change is always hard. If our parents, our grand parents and our great grandparents would have listened to the cynics, then we wouldn’t be here today. I need you to keep believing, I need you to continue the change that we started.”
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