Michelle Obama: The Closer….Still

Last night as I gazed at the television―transfixed by Michelle Obama’s grace and poise― as her words flowed through her and landed on the hearts and souls of seemingly everyone in the convention hall, I was transported back to 2008. That is when she mesmerized me the first time. It was a campaign rally (her remarks begin at 30:00) at the University of California in Los Angeles. Having quit my ‘good’ government job as a public health leader to join the masses in pursuit of electing Barack Obama to the presidency, I was standing on the floor surrounded by thousands of equally hopeful and idealistic enthusiasts. My time on the campaign trail was unforgettable for a host of reasons but it was this day, this rally, that remains one of the most unforgettable highlights of my time as an OFA volunteer.

Campaign rally, Los Angeles-2008 Photo credit: Lisa K. Fitzpatrick, MD, MPH

The rally was packed with an all-star cast of surrogates for Barack Obama. Caroline Kennedy, Oprah Winfrey, Stevie Wonder. But for me, the pinnacle of that rally and my time in LA was the moment Michelle Obama stepped to the mic and brilliantly demonstrated why she unquestionably deserved the moniker bestowed by her husband- “the closer”. I’d heard him make the remark with no appreciation for what he meant. That day Michelle Obama spoke earnestly about her husband for 45 minutes, unaided by notes. If you were standing in indecision about whether or not to cast your vote for Barack Obama, you only needed listen earnestly to this woman with poise, authenticity and sincerity describe why she believed we should vote for her husband.

And so last night, the closer was back. At what was shaping up to be a frustratingly fractured first day at the DNC, she stepped to the mic and demonstrated why she may become memorialized as one of the greatest closers of all time. This morning I suspect there will be little, if any, focus and obsession about what this brilliant lawyer, ranked as the 5th most influential first lady, was wearing,― which, by the way, aggravates me to no end―but about how in her own right she has imprinted an indelible mark in history and on the office of the First Lady of the United States. Ms. Obama- the closer- I see you. We all see you. Thank you.


Previously posted on Huffington Post July 26, 2016 http://huff.to/2akaaJk