The Wolfpack received an appearance of presidential proportions; First Lady Michelle Obama appeared and spoke at North Carolina State University on Oct. 4, 2016. Obama’s rally took place at Reynolds Coliseum on NC State’s campus at 3 p.m. following her appearance at the Charlotte Convention Center at noon. She spoke at the local college with the intention of encouraging young adults to vote and advocating for the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
The atmosphere of the event was festive and filled with excitement. The line stretched back for hundreds of yards and each student could not have been more excited to be there. Forty-one-year old Ingrid Sanchez literally shut down her recruiting business in order to be able to turn out and show her support for Obama. “She has her finger on the pulse of what it means to be socially responsible today but also what it means to teach our children that,” Sanchez said of Obama. The buzz only increased as everyone was let into the tightly-packed coliseum. Students whooped and hollered for the First Lady when she stepped onto the stage, a commotion that hardly let up as her speech proceeded; nearly every statement that she made was followed by loud applause and noises of praise.
A large portion of Obama’s speech focused on Clinton and why she should be president. After bringing up the fact that some claim to find the 2016 presidential candidates uninspiring, she proceeded to list off Clinton’s accomplishments in her time as a U.S. senator, secretary of state, and former first lady. “No one in this race has (Clinton's) experience,” Obama said. “Not Barack, not Bill. Nobody." Something significant that the audience noticed about Obama’s thirty-minute address was that she advocated for Clinton without directly mentioning the Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s name once; instead, she indirectly referenced things he has said and done throughout the campaign. “If a candidate traffics fear and lies on the campaign trail; if a candidate mocks people who are disabled or sick; if a candidate implies our veterans are weak because they can't deal with the wounds of war; if a candidate regularly demeans women, criticizing how we look and act,” Obama listed. “See, well, sadly that's who that candidate really is.”
Obama spent the rest of her speech emphasizing the importance of millennial voting. Research has shown that millennials are the least likely to turn out for 2016 voting, so the Clinton campaign is relying on the Obamas, two people who are very popular with the younger crowd, to get young adults to vote. “Elections aren’t just about who votes,” Obama told the crowd of students. “But who doesn’t vote, and that’s especially true for young people like many of you.”
Several guests spoke prior to the First Lady’s appearance. Former NC governor James Baxter “Jim” Hunt, whom the university named a library after, appeared to voice his praise of Clinton, followed by Senate candidate Deborah Ross. Overall the event was called “inspirational” and “eye-opening” by audience members. Obama closed out by reminding the audience of what their presidential options are and letting that speak for itself.