First lady Michelle Obama addressed the DNC Women's Leadership Forum at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Washington, D.C. today. This year is the 20th Anniversary of the DNC Women's Leadership Forum. Other speakers included House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood.
The first lady has been non-political for most of the four plus years in the White House.
No longer and on this day the gloves came off.
Michelle Obama did not disappoint as she displayed this newly-found political acument. She denunced the tea party-induced government shutdown and made a spirited defense of Obamacare, reported Politico.
"So when a small group of folks in Congress shuts down our government to try to shut down Obamacare, and we watch as our President stands strong, that’s not just some political fight in Washington -- it is a battle about our most fundamental values and aspirations," said the first lady to great cheers.
The first lady went on. "And I’m not just talking about the shutdown. I am talking about the millions of Americans who will soon have quality, affordable health insurance because of the Affordable Care Act."
"And I think it’s important for us to all remember who exactly is benefitting from this new law. They are folks who come from all across the country, who come from all different backgrounds and walks of life," said the first lady.
She added that another beneficiary of Obamacare are the "spouses of our veterans –- folks who are working around the clock caring for their loved ones wounded in war, yet who don’t have insurance themselves."
"They’re young people who’ve aged out of their parents’ plan and can’t afford insurance on their own -- we may have a few of those in the room. Amen," added the first lady to laughter and applause.
"They’re folks with preexisting conditions –- women who had breast cancer years ago, folks who had asthma as a kid, people who’ve been turned away from insurance again and again. The single mother who lost her job. The couple who are both working jobs that don’t provide insurance. The folks who are paying too much for their current plan and just need a better deal," said the first lady who was now on a roll.
"So many of these people have been living from emergency to emergency. They’ve been ignoring their symptoms and just praying that nothing goes wrong. And now, finally, because of all of you, because you helped elect Barack Obama President, these people finally have some hope -- because of you," said the first lady.
Michelle Obama told her story. "My family wasn’t rich –- far from it. And my father had multiple sclerosis, which is a serious chronic health condition, so we lived with the reality that at any given moment, my father could have had a flare up and needed medication, even hospitalization. That’s how we grew up. But we were lucky. My father’s job at the city water plant provided health insurance, so my dad was able to stay healthy enough to get up every day and get to his job."
"So for my family, health insurance meant everything. It gave my dad the pride and the dignity of being our provider and being able to pay his bills. He was even able to pay the little tiny bit of my college tuition that wasn’t covered by student loans and grants. And in turn, that allowed me to get my degree. It allowed me to build my career and support a family of my own," added the first lady.
The First Lady went on to cite some accomplishments of her husband's. "We’re now starting to see the results of his convictions and his hard work. Our auto industry is back. Our housing market is rebounding. Our deficits are shrinking. And our businesses have created 7.5 million new jobs under this president."
"But let’s be clear: Barack hasn’t done anything of these things alone; hasn’t done any of this just sitting by himself in the Oval Office," said the First Lady to more laughter. "Remember the Recovery Act that helped rescue our economy and create all those jobs? Well, we needed Congress to pass that bill. Remember the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to help women get equal pay for equal work? Believe it or not, that bill was passed by Congress back in 2009."
"And of course, the Affordable Care Act -- yes, that’s right, Obamacare was passed by Congress in 2010. It was signed by my husband, it was upheld by the Supreme Court," said the first lady.
The first lady called on the women to help take back the House. "The fact is that right now we are just 17 seats away from taking back the House -- yes, 17. But they are 17 hard seats. And we’re just six seats away from losing the Senate."
Now that the first lady has shown this political side, the Republicans could be in real trouble. You can bet the first lady will be stumping in at least 17 Republican Congressional districts.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, who also addressed the forum, said it best. It wasn't about beating the Republicans. Schultz said that when women sit at the table, they bring solutions.
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