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Michelle Obama’s convention speech: The highlights

Universally acclaimed address put ’Hillary Clinton in the mainstream and Trump far outside it’, say critics

First Lady Michelle Obama "stole the show" during a testing first night at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, delivering an evocative and deeply personal speech in support of her party’s nominee for US president, Hillary Clinton.

"We need to pour every last ounce of our passion and our strength and our love for this country into electing Hillary Clinton as president of the United States of America," Obama said.

"In this election, we cannot sit back and hope that everything works out for the best... Between now and November, we need to do what we did eight years ago and four years ago."

The former US secretary of state has the "grace and the guts to keep coming back and put cracks in that highest and hardest glass ceiling until she finally breaks through, lifting all of us with her", the First Lady told the packed arena, referring to Clinton’s concession speech to Barack Obama, eight years before.

Obama said it was the "story of this country" that brought her to the stage - the story of "generations of people who have felt the lash of bondage, the shame of servitude, the sting of segregation but who kept on striving and doing what needed to be done".

It was "because of Hillary Clinton" that her "daughters and all our sons and daughters, now take for granted that a woman can be president of the United States", she added, her voice bristling with emotion.

"So don’t let anyone ever tell you this country isn’t great, that somehow we need to make it great again because this right now is the greatest country on earth," Obama concluded, with an elegant inversion of the Trump campaign message that brought the convention audience to their feet.

The First Lady’s speech was universally acclaimed, with The Guardian reporting that some delegates were moved to tears.
Others highlighted her skill in rebuking the Trump message without once mentioning the Republican nominee by name.

"Obama wasn’t there to rally the base. She didn’t even need to mention Trump’s name. Her goal was much bigger: she was there to claim the mantle of unifying American values," said Vox’s Libby Nelson. "She positioned herself and Hillary Clinton in the mainstream and Trump far outside it."

Gail Collins in the New York Times agreed, saying: "Michelle Obama stole the show. The Obama speech marked the moment where the Democratic convention turned around."


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