Michelle Obama Returns to the Campaign Trail

The once reluctant campaigner is now in it to win it.

Posted: 05/20/2011 07:24 AM EDT
Filed Under Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama

First lady Michelle Obama officially returned to the campaign trail on Thursday when she delivered a speech to the Democratic National Committee’s 17th Annual Women’s Leadership Forum National Issues Conference in Washington, D.C. She’s come a long way since the 2008 presidential campaign during which she admittedly felt reluctant about her husband’s candidacy and earned a reputation for being prickly.

“I have to be honest with you, and many of you know this, when Barack first started talking about running for president, I wasn’t exactly enthusiastic about the idea,” Obama said.

She said that she had no doubt that her husband would make an “extraordinary president” but harbored some cynicism about politics and worried about the toll that a campaign would have on their family. But this time around, Obama said, she’s “in” and hopes everyone else will be, too.

“I have one question for you,” she said. “Are you in? Are you in? Because I’m in. I hope all of you are fired up. I hope all of you are ready to go.”

In her remarks, the first lady pointed to the administration’s accomplishments of the past couple of years, including health care reform legislation, larger Pell Grants and increased investment in community colleges and elementary and secondary education, the appointment of two women to the U.S. Supreme Court and her own efforts to combat childhood obesity and work with Jill Biden to rally national support for military families. She didn’t mention Osama bin Laden by name, but did note that “the man behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks has finally been brought to justice.” But despite the administration’s successes, Obama said, their work is not over.

“I think it’s fair to say we’ve seen some changes,” she said. “We should be proud of what we’ve accomplished. But we should not be satisfied. Because we’re nowhere near winning the future.”

(Photo: AP Photo/Susan Walsh)