Michelle Obama campaigns for Hillary Clinton in Charlotte

Michelle Obama campaigns for Hillary Clinton in Charlotte

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — First Lady Michelle Obama spoke Tuesday in Charlotte on behalf of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. It was Obama's first Clinton campaign event in North Carolina and came just days after Clinton appeared in Charlotte.

WATCH LIVE: First Lady Michelle Obama campaigns for Hillary Clinton in Charlotte

Posted by WSOC-TV on Tuesday, October 4, 2016

About 4,000 people gathered in the Convention Center to hear the first lady speak Tuesday.

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Obama's remarks were veiled, including poking fun at Clinton's rival Donald Trump, and his complaints about his microphone during the first presidential debate.

"Hillary is tough, when she gets knocked down she doesn't complain, she doesn't cry foul," Obama said while tapping the microphone. "No she gets right back up."

The first lady also focused on the voters who enthusiastically supported her husband in 2008 and 2012, and highlighted Clinton's policies, like her plan for free college tuition.

The first lady said that President Obama won by two votes per precinct in 2008, highlighting the importance of each vote in North Carolina.

Polls show that Michelle Obama's favorability rating is near 60 percent, making her Clinton's most popular campaign speaker.

In all but one of the past nine presidential elections, Republicans have won North Carolina. President Obama was the exception in 2008. He was propelled to the top by attracting a diverse crowd of younger and more educated adults.

With a month left until the November election, Clinton's campaign is ramping up spending in North Carolina, making a final push for those key voters.

By Nov. 8, Clinton is expected to spend $14 million more in North Carolina than Trump's campaign.

While the spending levels are drastically different, polls are close -- and getting closer. The latest numbers show Trump has 42 percent of the vote compared to Clinton's 47 percent.

Event Security 

Some voters said security was on their minds as they waited in line to see the first lady.

Angela Lewis told Channel 9 she wanted to know the Secret Service would protect them and the first lady inside the Convention Center.

"I do hope that it can be kept on political subject and there won't be anything that happens underhanded or anyone trying to undermine and take our focus off of what we're here for," Lewis said.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers were outside the Convention Center, directing traffic for the event.

The Secret Service handled security inside. They set up airport-style security checkpoints with metal detectors.

The highly unusual aspect of the event was the Secret Service did not allow people to enter through the Convention Center's main entrance on College Street.

Instead, they directed crowds to the Caldwell Street entrance, which is two blocks away by the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

It gave the Secret Service more control over the crowds because the Caldwell Street entrance was closer to the Crown Ballroom.

Clinton's Visit

Clinton spoke Sunday during a service at Little Rock AME Zion Church, an historically African-American congregation. Clinton sat down with several black community leaders for a roundtable discussion at Mert’s Heart and Soul. The conversation was rooted in recent unrest after the shooting death of Keith Scott at the hands of police.

“She just wanted to listen,” said Mario Black, co-founder of Million Youth March Charlotte. “She wanted to know what we wanted.”

Black said the topic of police reform quickly came up.

Charlotte is still reeling over the officer involved shooting and protests that followed.

“The curfew is lifted. The National Guard is gone. The police are no longer in riot gear. Folks are walking around with their families, but underneath all of that people are still hurting,” said Dennis Reed. “People still have great concern."

Reed is the founder of Inspire the Fire, a local, non-profit group that mentors children and helps them embrace their artistic talents.

Reed told Channel 9 he was in the streets during protests and sat in on the emotional city council meeting. Reed said he and the group stressed to Clinton the need to bridge the gap between police and the community.

“One of the things we talked about was what would it be like if we had some of these officers living in these communities,” said Reed.

Topics such as use of force, what to do when stopped by police and House Bill 972 were also discussed.

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