PEORIA -- Michelle Obama, the wife of presidential contender Barack Obama, brought an audience of perhaps 500 to their feet on July 30 as she spoke about her husband's campaign for the presidency and the couple's family life.
Her powerful and dynamic talk convinced many in the audience to support her husband's campaign.
Several people said they had come to the event to learn more about the candidate, and had not yet selected a favorite in the race for the Democratic nomination for president. Now they plan to support him, they said, as the crowd was leaving.
Michelle Obama was introduced by Loretta Durbin, wife of U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, (D-IL) as Obama's "secret weapon" in the campaign. "All the candidates are competing for the women's vote," she said.
The $35 event with sandwiches was billed as "Women for Obama."
Michelle Obama's half-hour speech touched on the couple's family life on the campaign trail and their concern about the direction of US politics.
"We know crap when we see it," she said of policies that leave women and families on their own to obtain health care and other essentials.
"Barack is the real deal. He is exactly who he says he is, honest, decent, smart, the smartest candidate who has run for president," she said.
She discussed "people who talk nonsense, is he black enough?" and said "that kind of talk is hurting our children, who study and work only to be told "suddenly I'm not black enough."
She also touched on the issue of experience. Obama "is one of the most experienced people I know. Barack is ready." He has taught Constitutional law and "probably knows the Constitution better than anybody in this current administration," she said.
People understand "the world is not what it should be" with "fairness, equality, openness, unity. We're not living in the world we want. The job of citizens is to narrow the gap between the two worlds," of the reality and the ideal, she said.