PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — The day after First Lady Michelle Obama delivered an impassioned speech at the Democratic National Convention, Hillary Clinton supporters delivered a message of their own: We want more.
A broad swath of Clinton supporters praised the speech, from those in the arena Monday night to sports stars, to her president husband. Her message -- which hit on the historic nature of an African-American First Family, Clinton’s readiness for the job and included shots at Donald Trump -- was labeled as one of the best on behalf of the Democratic presidential candidate.
And though President Barack Obama has appeared on the campaign trail with Clinton, supporters of the former secretary of state now want to know if and when an appearance from FLOTUS could be in the works.
“She would be phenomenal in Florida,” said Joy Friedman, a Clinton supporter from the Sunshine State. “The Floridians love her. She’s a draw, people love her and people trust her. And trust is a big thing.”
Michelle Obama took the stage during a particularly tense moment on the opening night of the DNC. Some Bernie Sanders loyalists sought to make public their displeasure with the DNC and Clinton campaign by booing and jeering throughout the night.
Emboldened by leaked emails showing DNC bias against Sanders, the vocal protesters were even chided by comedian and fellow Sanders supporter Sarah Silverman for the outbursts. But many in the arena felt the first lady’s speech had a unifying quality to it, even if that unity disappeared after she left the stage.
“I don’t think there was anybody in that room who wasn’t absolutely riveted by what she was saying,” said Sanders delegate and Florida’s Broward County Democratic Chair Cynthia Busch.President Obama’s long-awaited endorsement of his former Cabinet secretary was an important milestone for her campaign.
But it also put on stark display the challenges Clinton has as a candidate when placed side-by-side with a gifted campaigner like the president. A joint campaign appearance in North Carolina earlier this month spurred stories about how at ease and comfortable the president looked back on the campaign trail, while also reinforcing Clinton’s reputation as robotic and stiff.
The president will have his chance to wow Clinton delegates when he speaks here on Wednesday. And though Michelle Obama may be at equal risk of outperforming Clinton on the campaign trail, she also demonstrated she can appeal to minority voters in a way the former secretary of state cannot.
“That was a black woman up there speaking and, myself being a black woman, I just felt so honored,” said Tonia McMillian, who came here to help organize an SEIU event. “And when she talked about being in the White House built by slaves and now her daughters are playing on the front lawn. She blew me away.”
Despite her well-received speech, Michelle Obama has made a number of Shermanesque statements about her lack of interest in running for public office – especially president. "Let me tell you, there are three things that are certain in life: Death, taxes, and Michelle is not running for president. That I can tell you," she said in January.
But even if she never enters the arena, many Democrats are confident Michelle Obama will play an important role in the party even after her husband leaves office. “I’m excited to see what she and the president do after they leave the White House,” said Friedman. “I don’t think they’re going to stop fighting for what’s right and I think they’re going to do something large and impactful after they leave. I don’t think they’ll go away silently.”