First Lady Michelle Obama has warned young voters against being “tired or turned off” in the 2016 US presidential election at a rally in Virginia.
She urged them to rally behind Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton, “particularly given the alternative”.
Mrs Obama is emerging as one of Mrs Clinton’s most effective advocates, especially with voters who backed President Barack Obama but are less enthusiastic about his potential Democratic successor.
The Clinton team’s biggest challenge regarding Mrs Obama is getting the reluctant campaigner to commit to more events.
Yesterday’s rally was Mrs Obama’s first solo campaign event for Mrs Clinton and comes nearly two months after her star turn at the Democratic convention.
Speaking to mostly students at George Mason University in Fairfax, she repeatedly jabbed Republican candidate Donald Trump without mentioning him by name, declaring that being president “isn’t anything like reality TV”.
Mrs Obama pointedly called out those who continue to question the president’s citizenship “up to this very day”.
Drawing on a frequently quoted line from her convention speech, Mrs Obama said her husband had responded to those questions by “going high when they go low”.
Hours earlier, Mr Trump stated for the first time that the president was born in the US, though he did not apologise for devoting years to promoting false allegations that Mr Obama was not an American citizen.
Mrs Obama vouched repeatedly for Mrs Clinton’s character, urging voters motivated by her husband’s history-making campaigns to feel the same way about the first woman nominated for president by a major US party.
“When I hear folks saying that they don’t feel inspired in this election, well let me tell you, I disagree – I am inspired,” Mrs Obama said.
Jennifer Palmieri, Mrs Clinton’s communications director and a former Obama adviser, called the first lady “an advocate without peer”.
“There is no other surrogate with the reach, credibility and respect she has,” Ms Palmieri said.