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Michelle Obama backs Harry Reid in Las Vegas rally

By Cristina Silva

Associated Press

Published: Monday, Nov. 1 2010 2:23 p.m. MDT

LAS VEGAS — First lady Michelle Obama made a day-before-the-election stop Monday in Las Vegas to boost Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's bid for re-election.

The first lady joined Reid at Canyon Springs High School for a final get-out-the-vote rally, framing the race as a battle over the "American Dream" and its promises of unfettered opportunity and middle-class comfort.

"We are not just here because of an election," she said. "We are not just here because we support Harry, and we do. We are here to renew that promise. We are here to restore that dream. We are here because we believe in some simple truths, that no child's future should be limited because of the neighborhood they are born in. We believe that if you get sick in America, you should be able to see a doctor. We believe that if you work hard you should make a decent wage and have a secure retirement. We believe that if you fulfill your responsibilities everyday you should be able to provide for your families."

Reid is in a tight race against Republican tea party favorite Sharron Angle. Statewide newspaper polls show the outcome is too close to call.

Republicans dismissed the first lady's visit as an empty last-ditch effort.

"It's awfully nice for the White House to spend the last of their political goodwill rearranging the seats on Senator Harry Reid's sinking ship, but tomorrow voters will come out in droves to hold Senator Reid accountable for his failed economic policies that has resulted in 195,000 unemployed Nevadans and an unemployment rate of 14.4 percent," said Jahan Wilcox, spokesman for the Nevada Republican Party.

Barely a week after President Barack Obama visited Las Vegas to urge Nevadans to keep Reid in office, his wife made a similar pitch, calling on Democrats to support their hometown candidate.

"Harry knows who and what he stands for and he has never forgotten where he came from," Michelle Obama said. "Harry didn't grow up with much, like many of us, and he knows what it means for our families when times are hard."

She encouraged parents to consider their children's best interests when casting a ballot.

"My children are at the center of my world. My hopes for their future are at the heart of every single thing that I do and that's really why I felt I had to be here today," she said. The first lady defended her husband's record more than she sold Reid's Washington legacy, a nod to the president's declining popularity and Republican attacks on his plans for health care reform and job creation.

"I know for a lot of folks change has not come fast enough, but believe it has not come fast enough for Barack or Harry, either," she said. "The truth is, this is the hard part of change."

Michelle Obama hit the campaign trail earlier this month for the first time since her husband's 2008 election.

Before the event, organizers passed out a script that directed the audience to use their cell phones to remind friends and relatives to vote.

Rep. Dina Titus, fighting for a second term against Republican Joe Heck, made the first call on stage, urging the crowd to follow her example.

"Send a message," Titus said. "They can't take our country back."

After the first lady rally, Reid was expected give a pep talk to field organizers, spokesman Kelly Steele said.

Angle campaign spokesman Jarrod Agen said Angle was slated Monday to be in Reno doing radio and television interviews and visiting local businesses.

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