First lady: This election closer than 2008
Speaking to supporters at a farm in New York's Hudson Valley on Sunday, first lady Michelle Obama predicted a tighter result in November than the 7-point margin her husband enjoyed over Sen. John McCain in 2008.
"This election will be closer than the last one," Obama said in Pocantico Hills, New York, 30 miles north of Manhattan. "That is the only thing I can guarantee you. So he needs your help. And sitting on the sidelines is simply not an option if we want to keep moving this country forward. Barack needs you to be actively and passionately engaged in this election."
Obama was speaking to a brunch crowd of about 120 people at the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, which describes itself on its website as "a non-profit farm and education center." Guests paid $1,500 per person for the event.
Among the attendees: actress Vanessa Williams and Stone Barns owner Dan Barber, whom Obama thanked at the beginning of her speech for helping to launch her anti-obesity campaign when President Barack Obama first took office.
Speaking of a meal Barber prepared for the Obamas during the 2008 presidential campaign, the first lady said, "I had never tasted vegetables that were so fresh and so delicious and so simply created."
She continued, "I knew then and there that if, as he put it, if more people understood what good food tastes like, that they would demand it."
Later in her speech, Obama urged supporters to mobilize in support of her husband, saying even residents of solidly blue states like New York could contribute to the Obama effort.
"If things look good where you are, if you're in one of these wonderful states where things are great, then pack a bag. Pack a bag, spend some time in a battleground state like Pennsylvania. I could name a few that are very near, driveable," Obama said.
She said backers could point to the president's support of the American auto industry as a first-term success. While she didn't name her husband's rival, Obama made a reference to presumptive GOP candidate Mitt Romney, who wrote an op-ed in 2008 titled "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt."
"You can also remind people about how so many folks in Washington were telling Barack to let the auto industry go under -- I don't know if you remember that," Michelle Obama said Sunday. "With more than a million jobs on the line, they said let it go. But fortunately, Barack had the backs of American workers. He put his faith in the American people, and as a result, the auto industry is back on its feet again."