In preparation for her speech tonight at the opening of the Democratic Convention in Charlotte, NC, First Lady Michelle Obama hosted a conference call this afternoon with news outlets aimed at women, under the initiative Obama for America with Women Columnists. Mamiverse was chosen to be a participant in the conference call, which was moderated by OFA Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter.
Cutter opened the press call by reminiscing on the First Lady’s words at the Democratic Convention back in 2008: “The only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work hard for them.”
“We’ve come a long way since then,” Cutter said, “but on behalf of women we still have a long way to go.”
Michelle Obama’s cadence and warm tone as she addressed the media made me feel she really does understand the struggles of real moms, no matter what our social status, ethnicity or level of education.
As to what she will address in her speech tonight at the opening of the Democratic convention, the First Lady said, “I’m looking forward to reminding people about the qualities that make my husband the man he is today… He needs the chance to finish the job he started four years ago.”
Mrs. Obama explained that while she spoke to us, she was also dealing with the back-to-school jitters all we moms go through at this time of the year. “This time of year puts everything in perspective,” she stated, in reference to the outcome of the elections in November being about giving our children the best possible chance to lead a prosperous and dignified life.
She expressed her concern for mothers being in the best possible health in order to help their children thrive, and the importance of preventing the Affordable Care Act from being repealed.
“Every single woman needs access to the full range of health care. We should be able to make our own choices,” Mrs. Obama stated.
With the Affordable Care Act in place, she explained, insurance companies have to cover contraception, mammograms and prenatal care as no extra cost. They cannot charge us more just because we are women, and patients can’t be turned away by an insurance company because of a preexisting condition, such as diabetes, asthma or even pregnancy.
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“This is one I always cite in my speeches: Breast cancer,” Mrs. Obama said. “At a time when you need expensive treatment, insurance companies cannot legally tell you you’ve reached your lifetime limit. These are huge steps. As voters, we need to know [whether] we are going to keep these reforms or see them repealed.”
Also under the Act, kids are able to stay on their parents’ insurance policy until they are 26 years old. This means that our kids don’t have to go without health insurance at an age when they are busy trying to build their careers.
Mrs. Obama also expressed her support of equal pay for women. “Closing the pay gap would mean a difference between women forsaking 500 dollars from every paycheck for their entire career, or having that money in their pocket to pay for things for their kids, clothes, groceries
“The success of women equals family success,” she continued. “Issues are not just women’s, they are family issues. They affect our communities and our entire country.”
The First Lady explained how in the past four years she has seen her husband fight to give our sons and daughters a shot at achieving success.
“It’s critical that we keep moving forward,” she stated.
When asked by Yahoo Shine about how she sees her role as First Lady, she closed the press call by saying, “My job tonight to remind people who my husband is. He has had a very serious role. Few times can he let his hair down,” she continued. “Barack is still that leader of four years ago. I want to remind people of that, and I will spend time talking about that. I will reminisce about our lives together. How our upbringing has affected who we are today. We know what it means to be out of work and understand working-class struggles like those of like my dad or [Barack’s] grandparents. I hope you will tune in to my speech tonight.”
María T. Cardona, Mamiverse Political Editor says of Michelle Obama’s upcoming speech: “The First Lady has a unique opportunity tonight to remind voters that her husband is the one candidate in this race that ‘gets’ them and will fight for them no matter who they are and where they home from. As a father as a husband, and as President, she can crystallize for voters that he won’t rest until all children, single moms, single dads, and struggling families are able to a achieve a better life and attain the American Dream. She will define the stark choice all voters have this election, including and especially Latina moms.”