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First Lady Gives Final Obama Campaign Push In Charlotte

Julie Rose

First Lady Michelle Obama rallied a few thousand supporters in a hangar at the Charlotte airport this afternoon. It was the last major Obama campaign event in North Carolina of the 2012 election.  WFAE's Julie Rose was there and joined WFAE's Mark Rumsey by phone from the rally. 

RUMSEY: Julie, why did Michelle Obama come here today?

ROSE: The Obama campaign has invested a lot of time and energy in North Carolina – the president's slimmest margin of victory in 2008 was here.  And the polls have President Obama and Governor Romney in a dead heat in North Carolina right now. The first lady came today for that one last chance to energize supporters, make sure they vote and spend tomorrow getting others to vote. She said the Obama campaign has always believed this year's outcome will be even closer than 2008.

"It will come down to what happens in a few key battleground states like right here in North Carolina!" said Obama. "When we win this state with your help, we'll be well on our way."

RUMSEY: If North Carolina's so important to the election, why wasn't it President Obama here today? Back in 2008 he held his last rally of the election here at UNC Charlotte.

ROSE: This time around Obama doesn't really need North Carolina to win re-election.  It would certainly send a strong signal of his support in the South if he did – but it'd be more like icing on the cake. Today he was in Ohio, Wisconsin and Iowa – states the campaign must feel are more critical than North Carolina.

RUMSEY: And who was in the Charlotte audience for the First Lady's rally today?

ROSE: From the cheers when Michelle Obama was speaking it sounds like most of them had voted early and had volunteered for the campaign in some capacity. I spoke to a woman who's been volunteering since 2008. She helped with the DNC and was one of the thousands of volunteers who had a ticket to see the president speak, but couldn't get in when they moved the event indoors.

Invites to this event today went out to everybody in the campaign's database of local supporters. People were here to taste the excitement. They love Michelle Obama. She spent about 40 minutes shaking hands meeting with folks after the speech.

RUMSEY: And the Romney Campaign – have they been in North Carolina for a final push?

ROSE: They haven't sent any high profile speakers to speak.  Presumably the Romney campaign focus is on that proverbial ground-game because the state is critical to the Republicans. Pundits crunching the electoral college math say Obama doesn't need to win North Carolina to win the election overall, but Romney can't get to the White House if he doesn't win North Carolina.