First Lady Michelle Obama campaigns in Columbus, Dayton, says country is ‘better off'

WESTERVILLE, Ohio - Michelle Obama promoted her husband in the electoral battleground state of Ohio on Tuesday as a president for opportunity and economic fairness, and making progress that could slip away if he isn't re-elected.

She highlighted President Barack Obama's health care overhaul as helping people get needed treatment and avoid financial ruin from bills. She told a boisterous crowd of about 1,800 people at the Dayton Convention Center that he also is trying to ensure college education opportunities and a stronger middle class.

"Everyone in America should do their fair share, which means teachers and firefighters shouldn't pay higher taxes than millionaires and billionaires," she said.

Before she left Ohio, she stopped by the campaign's Dayton office and joined people making calls seeking volunteers for door-to-door campaigning and voter registration drives this weekend.

"No, really. Really truly," she assured one woman she called after identifying herself.

"We're going to spend a lot of time in Ohio," she told the woman.

Among signs on the walls in the small room was one that showed the state with the heading: "It all comes down to Ohio."

Mrs. Obama stopped earlier at a suburban Columbus high school, exhorting people to keep things "moving forward." She also made an unannounced stop at a nearby recreation center. She quizzed, hugged and played with children, but declined some older youths' urging to do "the Dougie" dance. She explained later there was "no beat" to dance to.

Mrs. Obama told a crowd of around 2,000 in a Westerville school gymnasium that the count

She said the country is better off because of the passage of the Affordable Care Act, the return of troops from Iraq and the auto bailout.

"These are the choices that we face," Mrs. Obama said. "Are we going to continue to change with regard to the progress that we've made, or are we just going to let everything we've worked so hard for just slip away? We can't do that -- we have to keep moving forward, forward."

The pace of campaigning has been picking up in Ohio. The president and Vice President Joe Biden both made stops last week, and Republican challenger Mitt Romney made three stops in Ohio last Wednesday.
Welsh-Huggins reported from Westerville.
Contact Welsh-Huggins at and Sewell at

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