First lady visits Drake

071-copyThere was a noticeable buzz on Forest Avenue Friday afternoon, Oct 10, for the Bruce Braley Iowa Votes Rally.

More excitement than the typical midterm election campaign rally might produce. The reason the line was around the block an hour before the doors opened was simple: the first lady of the United States of America, Michelle Obama, was slated to take the stage in support of Iowa Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, Bruce Braley.

The location for the rally—Drake University Fieldhouse—was covered in the distinct purple “Braley for Senate” signs. Huge cut-out letters spelling Braley were dispensed to the seated crowd to the left side of the stage; hundreds of hand held signs and shirts with “Vote for Braley” were donned in support; yet there were whispers in the room, “Where’s Michelle?”

The first lady took the stage just before 4 p.m., almost three hours after the doors to the event were opened and the crowd had filed in.

During the course of her 22-minute speech she touched on how much Iowa and their values mean to her and the president, saying Iowans have “open hearts not closed minds” and that they “ask the tough questions.”

She talked about how Braley’s values are exactly what Iowa needs, and throughout she encouraged people to vote early. She also reiterates the importance of Democrats not taking midterms off, especially in this crucial election.

Mrs. Obama said, “Races like this can be won by a few thousand, even a few hundred votes.” She also goes on to say, “When the mid-terms came along, too many of our people just tuned out.”

First lady Obama was not able to cruise through her stop in Iowa without a couple hiccups, however.

During her speech she continuously mispronounced Braley’s name—even though it was spelled correctly all around the room─ calling him instead Bruce Bailey. This continued until someone from the crowd finally yelled out the candidate’s correct name. She also confused Bruce’s background, calling him a military veteran when in fact it was his father who served.

These kinds of mental slips can be common in politics, especially when you have been campaigning as much as the First Lady has. With President Obama’s approval rating being as low as it’s been of late, the Democratic Party has been leaning on her higher approval rating to draw more positive attention to the party and more people to the midterm voting booths.

In the course of a week she has been to Wisconsin to support Mary Burke, then to Chicago to a rally for Democrat Pat Quinn, who’s running for Governor, then on to Detroit for Democrats Gary Peters and Mark Schaues’ campaigns, before heading to Iowa and Bruce Braley’s rally.

The GOP is expected to remain in control of the House of Representatives and is only six seats from taking the majority of the senate.

This would, in turn, give Republicans control of congress for the first time in eight years; making it difficult for President Obama to continue his agenda, or for him to move bills through congress, during his remaining two years in office.

It could also force the president to start vetoing proposed bills─ brought to the table by a GOP controlled congress─ something he has done less than any other president in history.

Election day is Nov. 4. Residents can also cast votes early at the local county auditor’s office.

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