Obama's Wife Visits U. South Carolina

This story was written by Liz Segrist, The Daily Gamecock
Michelle Obama cracked jokes and inspired students when she spoke on behalf of her husband, presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.

Students piled in as a choir sang to greet Michelle Obama yesterday at 4:30 p.m. in the Russell House at the University of South Carolina.

"In case you haven't heard, my husband is running for President," Michelle Obama said as she laughed with the audience. "You see, his view of politics is, 'What if I tell the truth?'"

She said the challenge for all of us is whether or not we are ready to change.

"Barack is ready, and let me tell you, if anyone tells you that you aren't ready, you tell them where to go," Michelle Obama said. "People say they want change, but people don't like it. People still have plastic on their couches."

She said as first lady she would help others achieve family balance.

"We haven't done a good job sustaining families," Michelle Obama said. "Every woman I know is struggling to keep their heads above water. It wasn't like that with my parents' generation."

Justin Dotson, a third-year psychology student, said he'll vote for Obama if he wins the nomination.

"He has a strong presence," Dotson said. "He hasn't been corrupted by politics. I know a lot of people think he's too young and inexperienced, but I think that's a good thing."

Michelle Obama said she agrees that age isn't everything.

"Judgment and wisdom matter. It matters more than years in Washington," she said.

Michelle Obama said she stresses the importance of young people voting because politicians disregard them in decision-making since they usually don't participate.

"There's nothing more critical than your votes," she said. "It's the power we have in a democracy. You have to be active in it for it to work."

Jo Taka, a USC alumni who was student body president in 2001, said she is proud to stand and speak for Barack Obama.

"He is an advocate of change, not only in words, but actions."

Michelle Obama said they finally paid off their student loan debts and could live peacefully and comfortably, but they need to change the nation.

"I worry about the world my kids will grow up in," Michelle Obama said. "Like it or not, this mess is yours. Whether or not you vote or have a job, these problems are yours."

Auma Obama, Barack Obama's sister and project director of CARE International in Kenya, said the senator's greatest trait is his sincerity.

"He's genuine. He really means it," Auma Obama said.

Michelle Obama said it is important to lower the cost of education to give everyone an opportunity.

"The cost of education is ridiculous," she said. "We find that young people give up their dreams because they don't have the money."

Michelle Obama said her childhood dramatically shaped who she is today.

"Who I am is from how I was raised, growing up with working-class parents," Michelle Obama said. "The lense I see life through is from my childhood."

Terry Goodfellow, a USC English professor for international students, said she is unsure whom she will vote for, but she said she really likes Michelle Obama.

"Every time I hear her speak, it's good," Goodfellow said. "She's mature, wise and she has charisma. She seems like a really great person."
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