TRANSCRIPT: Michelle Obama Speaks at HRC/Victory Fund Luncheon at DNC

“If you do not live in a battleground state, get to one,” said First Lady Michelle Obama to an excited crowd at the Human Rights Campaign/Victory Fund luncheon on Wednesday.

BY Julie Bolcer

September 05 2012 3:00 PM ET

MRS. OBAMA:  Yes, I do, too.  (Applause.)  We have something in common.  (Laughter.) But whether it’s passing hate crimes legislation or refusing to defend DOMA; whether it’s ending “don’t ask, don’t tell” or ensuring that -- yes, yes -- (applause) -- or ensuring that people can be at their loved one’s hospital bedside -- (applause) -- or speaking out for the rights of all Americans to be able to do what Barack and I did and marry the love of our lives -- (applause) -- as President, my husband has stood strong for the basic values of freedom, justice and equality that make this country great.  And he always will.

And that’s why all of you are here today, because you know that all of that and so much more is at stake in this election.  We can’t take anything for granted because it’s all still on the line.  And I know you’re here today because you believe, like I believe, that our President, my husband, he’s done an extraordinary job.  Truly, I am so proud of him.  (Applause.)  And as I said last night, he has done it with vision, with character, with wisdom, with grace, with the experience that we need to keep moving this country forward for four more years.

But the one thing I want to point out here today is that we don’t want to make any mistake about it -- this election is about even more than the issues that are at stake right now.  It’s about even more than the candidates that are on the ballot this year.  This election, more than any other in history, is about how we want our democracy to function for decades to come.  (Applause.)  It’s about the lessons that we want to teach our kids and our grandkids as they watch these campaigns and they see those results on election night.

And we have to ask ourselves, do we want to give a few individuals in this country a far bigger say in our democracy than anybody else?

AUDIENCE:  No!

MRS. OBAMA:  Do we want our elections to be about who buys the most ads on TV?

AUDIENCE:  No!

MRS. OBAMA:  Do we want our kids and grandkids to walk away from this election feeling like regular folks can no longer be heard?

AUDIENCE:  No!

MRS. OBAMA:  Or are we going to show them that here in America, we all have an equal voice in the voting booth, and we all have a say in our country’s future, and a bottom-up, grassroots movement of people who love this country can always come together to move this country forward?  (Applause.)

And what I want you all to focus on, because we can be fired up, which we are -- (laughter) -- and we can be ready to go, but you know it’s the work on the ground that makes the difference.  So with every call that you make -- and I hope you are out there making calls; with every door you knock on -- this is an active campaign; with every voter you register -- because there are so many young people who are not registered, that are not focused, that are not paying attention, you all are providing the answers to those questions.  You all are making a powerful statement about how we want our democracy to work.  And by taking part in the democratic process that, for more than two centuries, has made this country one of the greatest countries on Earth, you all are helping to preserve that legacy for generations to come.

So what I want to say here today is that we don’t have a single minute to waste.  We really don’t.  Time is of the essence.  And we need you all to be fired up, but we need you to work like never before.  I mean, truly work like never before.  We need you out there every single day between now and November the 6th.  You see my face?  I’m serious.  (Laughter and applause.)  It’s my serious-First-Lady face.  (Laughter.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Your mom face.

MRS. OBAMA:  My mom face, that’s right.  (Laughter.)  That’s it.  You heard me, Sasha.  (Laughter.)  Yes, that’s how it works.  (Laughter and applause.) But I’ve been out there, and I’ve been traveling.  I will be out there.  I’m going to be working as hard as I can and going every place I can go.  (Applause.)  And let me tell you what I have seen out there:  We have a first-rate campaign.  I am so proud of the campaign that we are building, because it is a truly grassroots foundation.  We’ve got thousands of offices all across this country.  People who have been out there, you know our offices, our volunteers, our team leaders -- we have millions of people who are taking time out of their lives, who don’t have time or money to spare, but they’re going into these campaign offices, they’re making calls, they’re knocking on doors -- millions of people.

And we also have millions of ways for people to get involved and volunteer.  That is never the excuse.  People can go to barackobama.com today and find out how they can sign up to get involved.  So we have the resources to really handle all of this energy in this room and beyond.

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