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Michelle Obama: Our Children's Future is at Stake in 2010 Elections

First lady Michelle Obama speaks at a campaign event for Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010, in Milwaukee.
AP Photo/Morry Gash
Michelle Obama
First lady Michelle Obama speaks at a campaign event for Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010, in Milwaukee.
AP Photo/Morry Gash

First Lady Michelle Obama made her debut on the 2010 campaign trail today in Milwaukee, offering a modified version of her husband's typical stump speech and adding a personal touch.

At a fundraiser in support of embattled Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold, the first lady acknowledged that the economic recovery has been slow - but added that voters needed to support Democrats so they can "finish what we've started." President Obama delivered the very same message in Milwaukee last month, but Mrs. Obama delivered it from the perspective of "Mom-in-Chief."

"When I think about the issues facing our nation, I think about what it means for my girls...and I think about what it means for the world we're leaving for them and for all our children," Mrs. Obama said. "As I travel around this country, and look into the eyes of the children I meet, I see clearly what's at stake."

Mrs. Obama invoked memories of her father battling with multiple sclerosis while working to support his family, as well as stories of Mr. Obama's grandmother waking up before dawn to travel to work and support her family.

"That's what the American Dream is all about," she said. "That fundamental belief that even if you don't have much, if you work hard, if you do what you're supposed to do, you can build a decent life for yourself, and an even better life for your children."

That dream has been slipping away for years, Mrs. Obama said, and Democrats are working to restore middle class stability.

CBSNews.com Special Report: Campaign 2010

"We're not here just because of an election. We're not here just because we support Russ. We're here to renew that promise. We're here to restore that dream," she said.

She added, however, that change is slow, and "it hasn't come fast enough for Barack or for Russ, either."

"But as Americans, we have always pushed past the cynicism and kept moving forward," she said. "And that's what we need to do again today. Because there is so much at stake right now - for our future and for our children's future."

Feingold is in a tough race against Republican businessman Ron Johnson. CBS News is calling the race a toss up, and recent polls give Johnson a slight lead.

Mrs. Obama praised the senator for championing progressive causes like health care reform and campaign finance reform, but she also noted his independent streak.

"When my husband was here in Wisconsin a couple of weeks ago, he talked about how independent and outspoken Russ is...and how Russ doesn't always agree with him. So Russ, that's something that you and I have in common," she joked.

Attendees of the fundraiser paid $250 or $500 to attend, and the event raised at least $250,000, the Associated Press reported.

After stumping in Milwaukee today, Mrs. Obama headed to Chicago to attend fundraising events for Democratic Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias, as well as for Rep. Dan Seals, Rep. Debbie Halvorson and candidate Bill Foster.



Stephanie Condon is a political reporter for CBSNews.com. You can read more of her posts here. Follow Hotsheet on Facebook and Twitter.