First Lady Michelle Obama arrived in Tucson on Monday as part of a four-state campaign push, stopping first in Colorado Springs earlier to meet with campaign volunteers and deliver remarks at the opening ceremony for the 2012 Warrior Games.
Obama wrapped up her trip in Las Vegas on Tuesday, and Albuquerque.
Obama’s trip to Arizona follows a visit from Vice President Joe Biden, who attended a private fundraiser in Phoenix on April 19, and Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney, who met with Hispanic business and community leaders in Phoenix, along with a rally in Tempe.
Romney has found himself the clear GOP frontrunner, after Newt Gingrich announced he is taking steps toward resignation in order to clear the path for Romney.
Arizona has become a battleground state in the upcoming Presidential Election, where President Barack Obama is seeking his second term.
As of April 23, polls on politico.com show Romney as a slight favorite over President Obama in Arizona, a state with a lot of swing potential, as 18 percent of voters currently remain undecided. Michelle Obama’s fundraising event, held at the Tucson Convention Center on Monday night, is a clear strategy to collect those votes before the Nov. 6 General Election.
Prior to visiting the TCC, the First Lady met with 20 youth volunteers from Tucson Village Farm at the Tucson International Airport.
Haile Thomas, 11, who promotes healthier lifestyles through the Healthy Girls Adventures Club, and as a member of the Youth Advisory for the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, was one of the first to greet Michelle Obama as she exited her plane.
“She told me she was very proud of the work we are doing, and how we have inspired her,” said Thomas. “It was absolutely incredible meeting her.”
Alex Sparks, 11, whose mother Elizabeth Sparks started the Tucson Village Farm, said he is proud of the work done by the organization.
“It’s been great watching this farm turn from a dirt plot to a working urban farm,” said Sparks. “She (Obama) said she is thankful for all our hard work, and that we are leaders in healthy eating.”
The Tucson Village Farm hosts field trips from various Tucson schools, where students are able to learn about the benefits of eating healthy foods, and are given the opportunity to taste different fruits and vegetables.
The efforts of the Tucson Village Farm align with the First Lady’s “Let’s Move!” program, aimed at fighting childhood obesity.
Elizabeth Sparks said meeting Michelle Obama was “kind, genuine, and responsive, and took the time to meet all of the children.”
In her speech at the TCC, Obama made assumptive remarks about the Arizona’s Congressional District 8 race, where GOP candidate Jesse Kelly faces Democrat Ron Barber.
“I also want to recognize Ron Barber,” Obama said. “He is going to do a fantastic job representing his district in Washington. We will be happy to have him out there.”
Obama defended her husband on issues like tax cuts and job creation, topics President Obama has been criticized for continuously by Republican Presidential hopefuls.
“Let’s start with all those tax cuts that my husband passed for middle-class families,” she said. “Those cuts are about whether people can heat their homes. That’s what that’s about. They’re about whether they can send their kids to college; whether they can retire with a little dignity, a little security.”
The First Lady said in the last two years alone, President Obama has managed to create four million jobs in an economy that was 750,000 every month under President George Bush.
Topics such as these will be points of debate between President Obama and Romney.
Besides Romney, Ron Paul stands as the only Republican threat to President Barack Obama in the General Election, though he has struggled thus far to win any primaries against Romney.
Recent debates between Romney and President Obama have intensified. In a recent advertisement, President Obama politicized Osama bin Laden’s death by questioning whether Romney would have made the same decision in ordering the raid that led to the death of the man deemed responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States.
Romney responded to the ad on CBS “This Morning.”
“Let’s not make the capture and killing of Osama bin Laden a politically divisive event,” he said. “There are plenty of differences between President Obama and myself, but let’s not make up ones based on, well he might not have done this. It’s disappointing and it’s unfortunate.”
The event hosted by Michelle Obama at the Tucson Convention Center was sold out.