Michelle Obama: Every vote counts

DALLAS -- First lady Michelle Obama brought one key message to North Texans on Monday -- her husband wants to keep his job for another four years.

She told more than 400 supporters gathered at a private fundraiser Monday afternoon at the Hilton Dallas Lincoln Centre that President Barack Obama has pushed for healthcare reform, fought for tax cuts for working families and labored to help save the automobile industry.

But he's not finished, she said.

"We cannot turn back now," she said. "We need to keep moving forward. That's what we are working for -- the chance to finish what we started."

Obama spoke for about 20 minutes during a fundraiser that people paid between $250 and $5,000 to attend. It drew a number of Metroplex dignitaries such as state Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas, Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, Dallas Cowboys Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith and Vince Carter, who played for the Dallas Mavericks this year.

She said the country added 4 million jobs in two years and now has a new healthcare law that is crucial because "in America, folks shouldn't go bankrupt because somebody gets sick"

Fort Worth's Prasad Thotakura was among those who attended the event to listen to Obama make the case for her husband's re-election bid.

"I wanted to know what changes President Obama would make in a second term," said Thotakura, president of the Indian American Friendship Council. "She promised he'll do his best to get the economy moving.

"He's more focused on creating jobs and securing our country from terrorists," he said. "She's promising he's going to do a good job, a better job, in his second term."

Kathleen Thompson, communications director for the Tarrant County Democratic Party, also wanted to hear what the first lady had to say.

She had an opportunity to speak to Obama, whom she met last year, and walked away with some White House advice for her children: "She said they should eat their vegetables."

Thompson said she was impressed with the first lady's speech, calling her the "first mom," and said she "represents the values of hard-working Texans."

Obama encouraged everyone to work hard on her husband's re-election bid, saying it will be a close election in November and that every vote is needed.

"She said we all need to work ... fight for everything we have worked so hard for," Thompson said. "It was so good to hear from our first lady the day after Mother's Day. It meant a lot to me to hear her."

In 2008, President Obama drew 43.68 percent of the vote in Texas, drawing support from more than 3.5 million Texans. Republican nominee John McCain got more votes in Texas, picking up 55.45 percent, or more than 4.4 million votes.

Michelle Obama's last visit to Tarrant County came in February as part of a four-state tour marking the two-year anniversary of her Let's Move campaign, an effort to curb juvenile obesity. Anna M. Tinsley, 817-390-7610

Twitter: @annatinsley