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Locals say they'll help Obama's campaign after hearing first lady's speech
Supporters snap photos of first lady Michelle Obama speaking at the University of Mary Washington.
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Date published: 9/14/2012
For several years, Debra McNeil has looked for a full-time job with good benefits to support her two daughters.
The Fredericksburg woman hopes four more years with Barack Obama as president will help end what she said is a vicious cycle of unemployment.
McNeil, her two daughters and her father were among the crowd who turned out to hear first lady Michelle Obama during a campaign stop in Fredericksburg Thursday.
Mrs. Obama's speech echoed what she said at the Democratic National Convention--a speech that inspired many in attendance at the University of Mary Washington's William Anderson Center to come see her in person.
"She reiterated a lot that she said during the
McNeil, 50, has been distributing yard signs for the campaign, and her daughter, Ashley, 19, is ready to start volunteering in Richmond.
Ashley McNeil studies political science at Virginia Commonwealth University and, like many of the students in the crowd, is eager to vote in her first presidential election.
"If [Republican Mitt] Romney is elected, I'm screwed. Women won't have any rights," said Ashley McNeil, who was sporting an Obama "Progress" T-shirt.
Health care, women's issues, taxes, student debt, jobs and the economy were some of the issues the first lady addressed at UMW, her second campaign stop in Virginia Thursday.
"I think they've made more progress than people think. Things don't happen overnight," Ashley McNeil said about criticism of Obama's handling of the economy. "His presidential veto can only go so far."
She said she hopes Obama wins the election to ensure that she and her family can have affordable health care.
For Beatrice Kerr, Michelle Obama's visit was a good reason to pull her 11-year-old daughter, Eva, out of school early.
"I wanted to bring my daughter because Michelle is a great role model," said Kerr, who called the first lady a well-rounded, well-educated woman who cares about health.
Zakaria Kronemer, a 19-year-old UMW sophomore, picked up one of the 3,000 available tickets on campus Tuesday because he wanted to be part of history.
"I think politics is at one of its most-heated moments in history since the beginning of America," he said.