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Published: Thursday, 2/21/2008

Michelle Obama urges Cleveland crowd to back her husband


CLEVELAND Speaking before a crowd of 1,000 gathered on a near-downtown college campus, Michelle Obama Thursday afternoon painted a picture of her comfortable life growing up in a working class family on the South Side of Chicago.

Then she drove home the reason that the crowd gathered in the University Center at Cleveland State University should vote for Barack Obama to become the Democratic nominee for president of the United States.

"The life that I had is becoming farther and farther out of reach," Mrs. Obama told the obviously enthusiastic crowd.

In a speech that lasted an hour, Mrs. Obama spoke of her husband s background and his work fighting for underprivileged people and traced the obstacles he has overcome in his campaigning and his fund-raising to be where he is now: on the cusp of being named the Democratic nominee.

She also spoke out against the war in Iraq and reminded the crowd that Mr. Obama had the courage to speak out against it in a tight race for his Senate seat from Illinois.

Finally, Mrs. Obama spoke about the importance of Ohio and its March 4 primary election.

"We know Barack can do well, but we need you praying with us, working with us, and standing with us," she told the partisan crowd.

Before introducing Mrs. Obama, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson announced his endorsement of the Illinois senator.

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