If I can borrow a few minutes of your time, please watch this video of Michelle Obama. She was known on the campaign trail as "The Closer," because for many folks on the fence in the primary election, she was the final bit of umph that pushed them into Barack Obama's camp.
I traveled to Iowa twice in 2007 to get out the vote for Barack Obama, including the final week, after Christmas and over New Years, where we knocked on doors in the snow all day, every day, talking about hope and change, often times in doorways, driveways, and in the kitchens of Iowans I'd never met before.
For many, Michelle Obama made them believe it was all possible. Here she is, three years ago, in August of 2007, talking at a time when the polls looked scary. Barack Obama made a believer out of me, but Michelle kept me believing we could really do it.
Video transcript, 8/16/07, Iowa:
Our main reason, at least the girls and I, we're here for the state fair. I don't know about you, but we're going to get some stuff on a stick. I don't care what it is -- a hot dog, a Snickers bar. We are eating everything on a stick today.
But the other reason I'm here is to introduce my husband. You know the guy running for President. Yeah, that's pretty good.
One thing I want to share with you today is that whenever I get in front of an audience I get pumped up, because I'm very passionate about this race. I'm passionate about my husband in this race, because I know that, and I'm trying to convey to all of you that there is something very special about this man.
This is why we're doing this, because Barack and I talked long and hard about this decision. This wasn't an easy decision for us, because we've got two beautiful little girls, and we have a wonderful life, and everything was going fine, and there would have been nothing that would have been more disruptive than a decision to run for President of the United States.
And as more people talked to us about it, I mean the question came up again and again, what people were most concerned about -- they were afraid. It was fear.
Fear again, raising its ugly head in one of the most important decisions that we would make. Fear. Fear of everything. Fear that we might lose. Fear that he might get hurt. Fear that this might get ugly. Fear that it would hurt our family. Fear.
But you know the reason why I said "yes" was because I am tired of being afraid.
I am tired of living in a country where every decision that we have made over the last ten years wasn't for something, but it was because people told us we had to fear something. We had to fear people who looked different from us, fear people who believed in things that were different from us. Fear of one another right here in our own back yards. I am so tired of fear, and I don't want my girls to live in a country, in a world, based on fear.
That is why, and we have to admit it, we are in this war.
We are in this war because for eight years we were told to be afraid and everybody followed suit. Everybody cut and run, because it was very unpopular not to be afraid -- to talk about hope and possibility.
But you know what, there is my husband, who at the time that many people in political life were moving towards fear, he sat on this stage at this anti-war rally at a time when it wasn't convenient for him to talk a different unconventional voice. He stood on that stage in the middle of a very hotly contested primary in Illinois.
It looked a lot like this one because there was a billionaire in the race. He was buying up every sign, every politician, every minister in our state. There was a strong political family in the race -- they had been there for years. People said that there was no way that Barack could build a political machine. There was another black candidate that had been thrown in the race. There was a woman -- everybody was in this primary and Barack Obama was not supposed to win. He couldn't raise the money, he had a strange name. People said, "Fear him because he is different."
But even in the midst of all that, at the core of all that when he could have lost, taking a stand, he stood on that stage and he called this war to a T. He said "This is wrong. This will cost us millions. We are going after the wrong enemy," he said, and it was unpopular, but he was right. Because he's special.
He's lived a broad life, and the thing that I want you all to remember -- please, please, please, don't base your votes this time on fear. Base it on possibility. Think. Listen. The game of politics is to make you afraid so that you don't think and what we need right now isn't political rhetoric, isn't games playing. We need leadership. We need people with judgment. We need decent people, people with common sense, people with strong family values, people who understand the world. We need a man like Barack Obama who you know, on the day that he is elected to office, will change the way the world sees us. You know that. That is the possibility of Barack Obama.
So as I introduce to you today my husband, the man that I love who I would rather have at home with me, at the state fair, but whom I am willing to sacrifice, because we have this window of opportunity. We have a chance to make something real happen, something possible happen, to live beyond our fear. Think about that and help us. Help lift us up and help us fight this fight to change and transform this country in a fundamental way.
This chance won't come around again.
So, please help me introduce and welcome to you the next President of the United States of America, my husband, Barack Obama.