I'm hesitant to say "one of the best speeches of 2016" because this may well be the best speech of 2016! I seriously recommend stopping everything you're doing and watching it now.
Not only has Michelle Obama delivered two of the best speeches supporting Hillary Clinton during the 2016 campaign, she also provided the Democratic nominee's campaign its unofficial slogan.
"When they go low," Clinton says on the campaign trail, "We go high," her supporters shout back.
In 2008 and 2012, President Barack Obama's campaign aides anointed Michelle Obama "The Closer." This year, Hillary Clinton may well designate her most popular surrogate the starter, the reliever and the pinch-hitter, too.Full disclosure: I cried watching this speech. It's incredible.
On Thursday, the first lady deployed a profoundly personal rebuke of Donald Trump's sexually aggressive boasts, delivering the most powerful censure to date of the GOP candidate's cavalierly-expressed views toward women.
It was the second time this year Obama has captured her audience and driven home an emotionally-felt message in a way no other surrogate -- or, for that matter, Clinton herself -- has been able. After carefully honing an apolitical air of authenticity over the past eight years, in part by actively avoiding the harsh spotlight of campaigning, the first lady is disbursing her capital with withering force in the final 26 days before Election Day, aiming to convince the women and minority voters who helped propel the Obamas into the White House to show up one more time.
Her voice quaking with fury, the first lady said Thursday that Trump's comments about using his celebrity to grab and grope had affected her powerfully, occupying her thoughts since the tape emerged late last week.
"I can't believe I'm saying a candidate for president of the United States has bragged about sexually assaulting women," Obama said during a campaign stop in New Hampshire.
"I've listened to this, and I feel it so personally," she said. "And I'm sure that many of you do, too -- particularly the women. The shameful comments about our bodies. The disrespect of our ambitions and intellect. The belief that you can do anything you want to a woman. That is cruel. It's frightening. And the truth is, it hurts."
The speech came only a day after the first lady marked her girls' education initiative at the White House, insisting the US should serve as a model to other countries for its treatment of young women. Her remarks on the campaign trail were as much a message to men as they were to women, amounting to a reminder that decency still exists, even as public discourse rapidly devolves.
"To dismiss this as everyday locker room talk is an insult to decent men everywhere," she said. "The men that you and I know don't treat women this way. They are loving fathers who are sickened by the thought of their daughters being exposed to this kind of vicious language about women."