Michelle and Hillary teamed up today at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Joined by First Lady Michelle Obama in Winston-Salem, Clinton Vows to Preserve the Progress of the Last Eight Years
At a rally in Winston-Salem on Thursday, Hillary Clinton and First Lady Michelle Obama laid out the stakes in this election and urged Americans to preserve the progress of the last eight years on November 8th. Clinton also highlighted a new plan she released today to address the urgent crisis of bullying. Clinton’s plan would provide $500 million in new funding to states that develop comprehensive anti-bullying plans.
Clinton – a former first lady herself – also reiterated her admiration for the First Lady’s work on behalf of education for women and girls, better nutrition for kids and opportunities for military families. Clinton called this a stark contrast to Donald Trump’s bigotry, ugly remarks towards women and disrespect for our military, saying, “Yesterday, when he heard that a retired Army colonel and former dean of the Army War College said that Donald doesn’t understand military strategy, Trump said, ‘I’ll teach him a couple things’ Well actually, Donald, you’re the one who’s got a lot to learn about the military and everything else that makes America great […] And he should learn from Michelle Obama how a leader supports them, not disrespects them!”
The First Lady called Clinton the sort of president our children deserve, someone who is a unifying force in this country rather than a divisive one – someone who asks us to embrace our differences. The First Lady said Hillary, whose mother was abandoned by her parents but still raised a “strong, smart, loving daughter,” understands the significance of the American Dream and will protect it for the next generation. The First Lady said, “Remember that. It’s a country where a girl like me, from the south side of Chicago, whose great-great-grandfather was a slave, can go to the finest universities on Earth, a country where a biracial kid from Hawaii, the son of a single mother, can make it to the White House, a country where the daughter of an orphan can break that highest and hardest glass ceiling and become president of the United States. That is who we are. That is what’s possible here in America but only, only when we come together, only when we work for it and fight for it. So that’s why for the next 12 days, folks, we need to do everything possible to help Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine win this election.”
Both Clinton and Obama also urged North Carolinians to get out the vote and make sure the Democratic ticket, including Senate candidate Deborah Ross and Gubernatorial candidate Roy Cooper, is elected on November 8th. The First Lady recalled her husband’s tight victory in North Carolina in 2008 and loss there in 2012, reminding the crowd not to register a protest vote but to vote for progress.
Clinton and the First Lady’s remarks, as transcribed, are below:
HILLARY CLINTON: “Hello, Winston-Salem! Hello Wake Forest! It is so great to be here in this beautiful city at this extraordinary time and to have a chance to be with so many, including the Wake Forest family. And it doesn’t get any better than being here with our most amazing First Lady Michelle Obama. I want to thank everyone who has filled this arena, and I especially want to thank Dr. Hatch and the staff team and students at Wake Forest University. I will never forget being here with the legendary Maya Angelou, one of the most powerful voices our country has ever heard.
So I couldn’t think of a better place to come back to with another woman whose voice we need now more than ever. I want to say what I think is obvious but can’t be said enough, and that is this may be one of the most, if not the most important election of our lifetimes, no matter our age. But for young people it will be so consequential because every election is about the future. And this one is about whether we build on the progress we’ve made, the legacy that President Obama has built or rip it away and go backwards. So we have a lot of work to do.
And I don’t mean just in the presidential race. Let’s be sure to elect Roy Cooper, the next governor of North Carolina. He will always put the people of North Carolina first. And he will repeal HB2 – because he knows that discrimination is wrong. It’s bad for business, and it’s against North Carolina’s values.
And let’s send Deborah Ross to the United States Senate. She will be an independent voice for the working families in this state, and she will help break through the gridlock in Washington.
And unlike her opponent, Deborah Ross has never been afraid to stand up to Donald Trump. And remember, it is not just Roy’s name and Deborah’s name or my name that’s going to be on the ballot. So much of what we care about – so much that’s at stake in the election is, too.
Voting rights are at stake. And if you care about this sacred right, and want to make sure our leaders of both parties do their part to protect and strengthen it – not chip away at it, you’ve got to vote in this election. And so I hope, after all North Carolina has gone through with the efforts to suppress people’s votes, you will turn out and say, “No. We demand the right to vote.”
And supporting our veterans is at stake. If you believe that America should stand with those who served because they served us, then you’ve got to vote. And so when you think about yourselves, your families, people you know who’ve worn the uniform of our country, the best way to make clear that we respect the military, and we will do everything we can to make sure they and their families have what they need as they sacrificed for us, is to show up and vote.
And climate change is at stake. Now, I shouldn’t have to say this in 2016, but I will. If you believe in science, right? And you know that climate change is real and demands action right now – you’ve got to show up and vote in this election.
Immigration is at stake. If you believe that we need to fix our broken system, keep families together, and give people who love America a path to citizenship – you’ve got to vote.
And marriage equality is at stake, too. If you believe everyone deserves to be treated equally in America, no matter who they are or who they love – then you’ve got to turn out and vote in this election.
Good jobs that pay good wages are at stake. Investing in our roads and our bridges and our water systems and all the work that needs to be done in our country. That really matters, and we can put millions of people to work and have a more competitive economy. That’s why we’ve proposed a very big jobs program, because I don’t want anybody willing to work in this country not to have a good job with a rising income to support themselves and their families. If you believe that, then you’ve got to come out and vote.
And particularly, for all of the students here, affordable college education is at stake. And not only that, relief from student debt that you already have is at stake. So if you believe as we do that everyone should be able to afford to go to college and graduate and that everyone should be able to pay down and pay off their debt, then you’ve got to get out and vote in this election.
And dignity for women and girls. Again, I wish I didn’t have to say this, right? But indeed, dignity and respect for women and girls is also on the ballot in this election. And I want to thank our First Lady for her eloquent, powerful defense of that basic value. So I think you’re getting the idea here that I think everything we care about is at stake in this election. So you’ve got to vote – and get your friends and families and neighbors to vote too.
And don’t just take it from me because I think you’ve heard some really compelling voices say the same thing, and one of them is here with us today, right? There are so many things I admire about our First Lady. Michelle reminds us to work hard, stay true to our values, be good to one another and never, ever stop fighting for what we believe in.
She has spent eight years as our First Lady advocating for girls around the world to go to school and have the same opportunities as boys. She has worked for healthier childhoods for our kids here at home, better nutrition, more exercise. And we are seeing the results. We actually are seeing kids who are healthier, something that she was determined to try to achieve. She has encouraged more young people to go to college and follow your dreams, and she has supported America’s military families, who serve and sacrifice as well for our country.
Now, it hasn’t been all hard work. She played a mean round of ‘Carpool Karaoke,’ and among the many real privileges I’ve had is to see the President and the First Lady dance. Wow, one could only hope. Now, she also planted an amazing vegetable garden at the White House – and I can promise you, if I win, I will take good care of it, Michelle.
And boy – thank you! Boy, didn’t she dazzle the world with that wise and beautiful speech at the Democratic National Convention this summer?
And I have now, I have now stood on the debate stage for four and a half hours with Donald Trump, and if you see any of those debates, well, that has proved once and for all that I have the stamina to be President and Commander in Chief. But there were times during those three debates, the loop running in my head was what Michelle said at the convention, right? ‘When they go low, we go high.’
And on top of all that, just by being herself every day, never missing an opportunity to honor her parents for the hard work and sacrifice that set her on her way, she has shown every little girl and boy in America that there are no limits to what they can achieve if they work hard and do right and believe in themselves.
Seriously – is there anyone more inspiring than Michelle Obama?
And maybe, maybe it’s especially meaningful to me because I do know something about being First Lady of the United States, and I’m going to state the obvious. It’s not easy. You’ve got so many people counting on you. You’ve got the eyes of the world on you. And when you’re trying to raise your children as she is and I did, and give them the space and support they need to have as normal and safe and fulfilling childhoods as possible – that makes it even harder. I used to hang out in the main hall on the second floor of the White House around the time Chelsea would come home from school just to be sure I got to see her and see what happened that day and try to figure out what I needed to be thinking about and doing for her.
And let’s be real – as our first African-American First Lady, she’s faced pressures I never did. And she’s handled them with pure grace. By any standard, she has been an outstanding First Lady who has made us all so proud.
And she and the President, she and the President have been such wonderful friends to me and my family. It has just meant the world, the world to me, it really has.
I want to say just one thing about the First Lady’s work. I mentioned military families. She’s been their fierce champion. And military families have come up against a lot in this election. It just made me boil when Donald Trump disrespected a Gold Star family, Mr. and Mrs. Khan. He still hasn’t apologized to them.
He actually made it worse – just yesterday, he said again that if America had only made him President years ago, their son, Captain Khan, would still be alive. Honestly, I don’t – I don’t understand how anyone would want to rub salt in the wounds of a grieving family.
And he keeps insulting our military. Yesterday, when he heard that a retired Army colonel and former dean of the Army War College said that Donald doesn’t understand military strategy, Trump said, ‘I’ll teach him a couple things.’ Well actually, Donald, you’re the one who’s got a lot to learn about the military and everything else that makes America great. Starting by learning about the dignity and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform and their families. And he should learn from Michelle Obama how a leader supports them, not disrespects them!
No one knows the stakes in this election better than our First Lady. Because all the progress that we’ve achieved under President Obama’s leadership is at stake – he pulled our economy out of the biggest ditch that it was in when he became president. He saved the auto industry, he cracked down on Wall Street, he has tackled healthcare, climate change, civil rights, and so much else.
And all the work that we’ve done to strengthen our relationships with other countries and secure our leadership in the world is also at stake.
Now, I for one, and I hope all of you, do not want all that hard work – by our President and our First Lady and by millions of Americans – to be wiped away. We cannot let that happen.
We’ve got to do everything in our power to get everyone out to vote. To understand no matter what issue you care about, it truly is on the ballot. Now, this has been a hard election at times. It’s gotten pretty ugly, hasn’t it? We’ve all felt it – especially our kids.
I hear this from parents and children across our country – kids write me notes, they hand me little cards and notes when I shake hands with them. Their parents write to me, teachers talk to me. Kids are scared, kids are scared by the rhetoric they’re hearing, right? I see the educators’ heads nodding.
Little girls hear the ugly things that have been said about women in this campaign, and it makes them feel terrible and doubt themselves – and that is why it is important for voices, like our First Lady’s, to stand up and say, ‘Wait a minute, respecting women and girls is so important,’ and it is especially important for us to send that message to our children, boys and girls alike.
Our kids are scared that they’re going to be sent out of the country because their parents are immigrants or they’re immigrants. They’re scared if they’re Muslim, or have a disability. I got a letter from a parent – a mom from Wisconsin, I think, who adopted her son Felix from Ethiopia when he was a toddler. He just turned 11 years old – he wrote my campaign to let me know he was now 11 years old. I love it when little kids do little birthday remembrances. America is the only country he’s ever known. One day, he turned to his mom and asked, ‘If Donald Trump becomes President, is he going to make me go back to Ethiopia?’
Now that honestly breaks my heart. We’ve got to make sure all our kids know that America has a place for you – the American Dream is big enough for you. And then, we’ve got to make sure they learn the right lessons about how to treat people. I saw that sign, I believe in love and kindness, right?
Well, here’s one place to start. We know that bullying is a real problem in our classrooms, our playgrounds and online – and teachers have reported that this election has made it worse. So I want you to know, we’re going to launch a major new effort to help states and communities and schools and families end bullying wherever it takes places. And we will work together to make the internet a safer space for kids, invest in front-line professionals like guidance counselors and social workers and school nurses and psychologists to support kids who’ve been targeted, like the young woman I met in Iowa who told me she was bullied because of her asthma. This has got to stop. And I can’t think of anything more important than making sure every single one of our kids knows that they loved just as they are.
So ultimately, my friends, as Michelle reminded us this election is about our kids, and in my case, my grandkids. Their lives and their futures – nothing is more important to me than that. I’ve been fighting for kids throughout my career. I will fight for them every single day of my presidency. So we have a job to do.
Starting right now, let’s come together. Let’s work together. And let’s be hopeful and optimistic and unified in the face of division and hate. Bring people together in a spirit of mutual respect to solve shared challenges. Let’s have each other’s backs, lift each other up, not tear each other down.
Let’s go out and win this election to make sure we do exactly that – for Roy Cooper, Deborah Ross, and all of us. Let’s make sure you vote early. Vote as soon as you can, vote this afternoon. I’m excited about what we’re going to see happen here in North Carolina, and I am so excited to be introducing our amazing First Lady Michelle Obama!”
“Whoa! Well, hey there. You guys are pretty fired up, right? I like that. I like that. Wow.
Well, let me start, of course, because Hillary’s mini-tribute to me was – it’s taken me off of – it’s kind of thrown me a little bit. It was very generous. But I just want to take this moment publicly to thank Hillary. I mean, there – it takes a level of generosity of spirit to do what Hillary has done in her career, in her life, for our family, for this nation. And if people wonder, yes, Hillary Clinton is my friend. She has been a friend to me and Barack and Malia and Sasha, and Bill and Chelsea have been embracing and supportive from the very day my husband took the oath of office. So I am grateful for Hillary, for her leadership, for her courage, and for what she is going to do for this country. So it’s going to be good. It’s going to be good.
But I also want to take some time to recognize your former senator, Kay Hagan, who is here. Kay. It’s good to see you. And again, I just want to lend my voice to your outstanding Senate candidate Deborah Ross. Man, Deborah – as Hillary said, she’s someone who cares deeply about the people in this state, and she is always going to put your families first. So let’s make Deborah your next U.S. senator, alright? And let’s make Roy Cooper your next governor. How about that? Thanks also to all the members of Congress who are joining us, and your mayor, Allen Joines. Thank you, Mayor.
But more importantly, thank you to all of you for taking the time waiting in lines to be here today, to help us support the next president and vice president of the United States, Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine.
I don’t know about you, but I’m fired up. We’re going to make this happen. Now, you may have noticed that I have been doing some campaigning for Hillary. And I know that there are some folks out there who have commented that it’s been unprecedented for a sitting first lady to be so actively engaged in a presidential campaign. And that may be true, but what’s also true is that this is truly an unprecedented election. And that’s why I’m out here. I’m out here, first and foremost, because we have never had a more qualified and prepared candidate for president than our friend Hillary Clinton. Never before in our lifetime. I say this everywhere I go. I admire and respect Hillary. She has been a lawyer, a law professor, First Lady of Arkansas, First Lady of the United States, a U.S. Senator, Secretary of State. She has – [chants of “Hillary!”] Yeah, that’s right. Hillary doesn’t play. She has more experience and exposure to the presidency than any candidate in our lifetime. Yes, more than Barack. More than Bill. So she is absolutely ready to be commander-in-chief on day one. And yes, she happens to be a woman.
This election is also unprecedented because I don’t think we’ve ever had two candidates with such dramatically different visions of who we are and how we move forward as a nation. One candidate has a vision that’s grounded in hopelessness and despair, a vision of a country that is weak and divided, where our communities are in chaos, our fellow citizens a threat. This candidate calls on us to turn against each other, to build walls, to be afraid.
And then there’s Hillary’s vision for this country that you just heard, a vision of a nation that is powerful and vibrant and strong, big enough to have a place for all of us, a nation where we each have something very special to contribute, and where we are always stronger together. That is the choice we face between those who divide this country into us vs. them and those who tell us to embrace our better angels and choose hope over fear. And as we look into the eyes of our children, as we sent them off to school each morning and tuck them into bed at night, as Hillary said, the stakes in this election could not be more clear.
And let me tell you, this is not about Republicans versus Democrats. None of that matters this time around. No, no, no. This election is about something much bigger. It’s about who will shape our children and the country we leave for them, not just for the next 4 or 8 years but for the rest of their lives. Because as Hillary pointed out, we all know. We know the influence our president has on our children, how they turn on the TV and they see the most powerful role model in the world, someone who shows them how to treat others, how to deal with disappointment, whether to tell the truth. They’re taking it all in.
And as Hillary said, when you’ve raised children in the White House like Barack and Hillary and I have, you were reminded every day of the impact that you have. You start seeing the images of every child in this country in the face of your child. So when people wonder how Hillary keeps her composure through the overwhelming pressure of not just this campaign but of her career, or how Barack and I have dealt with the glare of the national spotlight these last 8 years, that’s the answer. With every action we take, with every word we utter, we think about the millions of children who are watching us, who hang onto our every word, looking to us to show them who they can and should be. And that’s why every day we try to be the kind of people, the kind of leaders, that your children deserve, whether you agree with our politics or not.
And when I think about this election, let me tell you, that is what I’m thinking about. I’m asking myself, what do my girls, what do all our children, deserve in their president? What kind of a president do we want for them? Well, to start with, I think we want someone who is a unifying force in this country, someone who sees our differences not as a threat but as a blessing. As Hillary said, we want a president who values and honors women. [Cries of “Yes!”] Who teaches our daughters and our sons that women are full and equal human beings worthy and deserving of love and respect.
We want a president who understands that this nation was built by folks who came here from all corners of the globe, folks who worked their fingers to the bone to create this country and give their kids a better life. We want a president who sees the goodness in all our communities, not just the brokenness, someone who understands that communities like the one where I was raised are filled with good, hard-working folks, folks who take that extra shift, who work that extra job because they want something more for their kids.
And finally, we want a president who takes this job seriously and has the temperament and maturity to do it well. Someone who is steady. Someone who we can trust with the nuclear codes because we want to go to sleep at night knowing that our kids and our country are safe. And I am here today because I believe with all of my heart – and I would not be here lying to you – I believe with all of my heart that Hillary Clinton will be that president.
See, over the years, I’ve come to know Hillary. I know her, not just her extraordinary professional accomplishments, but I know her personal values and beliefs. I know that Hillary was raised like Barack and I in a working family. Hillary’s mother was an orphan abandoned by her parents. Her father was a small-business owner who stayed up nights poring over the books, working hard to keep their family afloat.
So believe this: Hillary knows what it means to struggle for what you have and to want something better for your kids. See, and that’s why, since the day she launched her campaign, Hillary has been laying out concrete, detailed policies that will actually make a difference for kids and families in this country. As she said, she plans to make college tuition free, to help young people drowning in debt. She’s going to handle making sure that our climate is protected.
And let me tell you this about Hillary. She is involved and engaged in every policy issue that she’s developed. You go on her website – she’s going to raise the minimum wage, she’s going to cut taxes for working folks, she’s going to do her best to help women get equal pay for equal work. And if you want to know more, just go on her website, hillaryclinton.com. Because here’s the thing about Hillary: Thankfully, Hillary is a policy wonk. And let me tell you, when you are president, that is a good thing – because policies matter. They really matter. They determine whether our kids have good schools, whether they can see a doctor when they’re sick, whether they’re safe when they walk out the door or on their way to school. Policies matter. And that’s why Hillary has fought so hard for children’s health insurance as first lady, for affordable child care in the Senate. That’s why, as Secretary of State, she has gone toe-to-toe with world leaders to keep our kids safe. And that is why day after day, debate after debate, she has shown us such strength, such grace, refusing to be knocked down, refusing to be pushed around or counted out. Hillary does all of this because she is thinking of children like her mother, children like her daughter and her grandkids, children who deserve every chance to fulfill their God-given potential. That is why Hillary is in this. She is in this race for us. She is in this for our families, for our kids, for our shared future.
So let me tell you, that is why I am inspired by Hillary. That is why I respect Hillary, because she has lived a life grounded in service and sacrifice that has brought her to this day, that has more than prepared her to take on the hardest job on the planet. She has run an extraordinary campaign. She has built an impressive grassroots organization. She’s raised the money. She’s won all the debates.
So Hillary has done her job. Now we need to do our job and get her elected president of the United States. Because here’s where I want to get real. If Hillary doesn’t win this election, that will be on us. It will be because we did not stand with her. It will be because we did not vote for her. And that is exactly what her opponent is hoping will happen. That’s the strategy, to make this election so dirty and ugly that we don’t want any part of it. So when you hear folks talking about a global conspiracy and saying that this election is rigged, understand that they are trying to get you to stay home. They are trying to convince you that your vote doesn’t matter, that the outcome has already been determined and you shouldn’t even bother making your voice heard. They are trying to take away your hope.
And just for the record, in this country, the United States of America, the voters decide our elections. They’ve always decided. Voters decide who wins and who loses, period, end of story. And right now, thankfully, folks are coming out in droves to vote early. It’s amazing to see. We are making our voices heard all cross this country, because when they go low –”
AUDIENCE: “We go high.”
MICHELLE OBAMA: “And we know that every vote matters, every single vote. And if you have any doubt about that, consider this. Back in 2008, and I say this everywhere I go, Barack won North Carolina by about 14,000 votes – which sounds like a lot, but when you break that number down, the difference between winning and losing the state was a little over 2 votes per precinct. See, I want you all to take that in because I know that there are people here who didn’t vote. Two votes. And people knew people who didn’t vote. Two votes. If just two or three folks per precinct had gone the other way, Barack would have lost that state, could have lost the election. And let’s not forget back in 2012, Barack actually did lose the state by about 17 votes per precinct, 17. That’s how presidential elections go. They are decided on a razor’s edge.
So each of you could swing. In this stadium, let’s think about it. Each of you could swing an entire precinct and win this election for Hillary just by getting yourselves, your friends, and your family out to vote, just doing what you’re supposed to do. You can do this. But you could also help swing an entire precinct for Hillary’s opponent with a protest vote or by not voting at all.
So here’s what I’m asking you. Get out and vote.”
MICHELLE OBAMA: “Get out and vote for Hillary. Vote early. Vote right now. Leave here. Go vote. And don’t let anyone take that right away from you. As Hillary mentioned, you may have seen in previous weeks that folks were trying to cut early voting places and cut the hours they were open. But that didn’t stop people in this state. That’s beautiful.
Now I understand there are more locations that are opening. And I want you all to crowd those places. I want you to remember that folks marched and protested for our right to vote. They endured beatings and jail time. They sacrificed their lives for this right. So I know you can get yourselves to the polls to exercise that right because, make no mistake about it, casting our vote is the ultimate way we go high when they go low. Voting is our high. That’s how we go high. We vote. How do we go high?”
AUDIENCE: “We vote!” MICHELLE OBAMA: “How do we go high?”
AUDIENCE: “We vote!” MICHELLE OBAMA: “That’s it. And after you vote, volunteer.”
MICHELLE OBAMA: “No, no, no, no. We need you to volunteer. Roll up your sleeves. Make calls. Knock on doors. Get people to the polls. It’s turnout that’s going to make the difference. We have to turn our people out. Do not let yourself get tired or frustrated or discouraged by the negativity of this election as you are out there working your hearts out for my girl. Here’s the thing that I just want to tell you all because this has been a draining election. But I urge you to please, please be encouraged. You know, I want our young people to be encouraged because we still live in the greatest country on Earth. We do. And I have never felt more hopeful about the future. And I want – our young people deserve that. Be encouraged.
I feel that way because for the past eight years, I have had the great honor of being this country’s First Lady. First Ladies, we rock. But I have traveled from one end of this country to the other. And I have met people from every conceivable background and walk of life, including folks who disagree with just about everything Barack and I have ever said but who welcome us into their communities.
Remember, our neighbors are decent folks. We’re all good people who are openhearted and willing to listen. And while we might not change each other’s minds, we always walk away reminded that when it comes to what really matters, when it comes to our hopes and dreams for our children, we’re just not all that different. And I want you to remember that it’s that part of us as Americans, it is that piece of us that is in all of us.
That’s what drives folks like Hillary’s mother, who said to herself: I may not have grown up in a loving family, but I will build a loving family of my own. I will give my children what I never had. I will pour my heart into raising a strong, smart, loving daughter. That’s what drives people like my father, who kept getting up and putting in those long hours, who said: I may not have gone to college, but I’m going to keep working because maybe my son, maybe my daughter will because in this country, anything is possible.
As we walk away from this election, remember that is what makes us who we are. Remember that. It’s a country where a girl like me, from the south side of Chicago, whose great-great-grandfather was a slave, can go to the finest universities on Earth, a country where a biracial kid from Hawaii, the son of a single mother, can make it to the White House, a country where the daughter of an orphan can break that highest and hardest glass ceiling and become president of the United States. That is who we are. That is what’s possible here in America but only, only when we come together, only when we work for it and fight for it. So that’s why for the next 12 days, folks, we need to do everything possible to help Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine win this election. Are you with me?”
MICHELLE OBAMA: “Are you with me?”
MICHELLE OBAMA: “I can’t hear you. Are we going to do this? We’re going to vote. We’re going to vote early. We’re going to stand in line. We’re going to make our voices heard. No one is going to take away our hope. Let’s get this done. Thank you all. God bless.”