Gloria Goodwin holds up buttons for sale in supporter of Michelle Obama’s visit to Minges at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Caolina on Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012. (Aileen Devlin/The Daily Reflector)
By Ginger Livingston
Thursday, September 20, 2012
A campaign appearance by Michelle Obama in Greenville energized supporters who want to re-elect her president husband and want four more years for her as first lady.
Thousands filled Minges Coliseum for Obama’s visit on Wednesday, many waiting in line for hours to get a good seat.
“It’s been a blast,” Rogerline White of Raleigh said. “I can feel the energy here, and President Obama will be president for four more years.”
Moses Bond of Colerain and Mary Arrington of Nashville were among the first people in line, arriving just before 10 a.m.
“I want to get a good spot and get close to the first lady, Michelle Obama, who will continue to be the first lady for the next four years,” Bond said.
Arrington and a number of the people in line with her said Mrs. Obama’s intelligence, grace and charisma would make her an ideal president, too.
“She cares about all Americans, not just the 47 percent,” Bond said.
Some people in line criticized statements in a video that surfaced of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney at a fundraiser. Romney said Obama supporters were dependent on the government and did not pay taxes.
“We don’t consider ourselves privileged or mooching off the government,” Gloria Goodwin of Jacksonville said. “We pay taxes.”
Goodwin is a patient representative and a cancer survivor.
It makes her angry that so many people criticize the president for the Affordable Care Act. It’s passage will ensure Americans will has access to the care they’ll need to battle illnesses such as cancer, she said.
Matt Paske, East Carolina University Student Government Association vice president, welcomed the crowd as many were continuing to file into Minges. He urged students continue the support young adults gave to Obama in 2008.
“We have a president whose job is not done,” Paske said. “We need you in North Carolina to stand up.”
Retired Marine 1st Sgt. Ben Ruffin of Greenville said he suffers from back, knee and ankle problems and uses a cane to walk, but he didn’t mind standing nearly three hours before entering Williams Arena. He also did not like Romney’s comments.
“It’s a very sensitive issue. Everyone is hurting financially,” Ruffin said. “For someone who sent so many jobs to China (which Romney is accused of doing while working for Bain Capital) to be commenting on that. If he doesn’t want unemployment (Romney) should bring those jobs back to the U.S.”
Adrian and Joyce Shepard and two friends drove from Wilmington for the event. They are active in the Obama re-election campaign in New Hanover County.
“I have a tremendous appreciation for the first lady, and I think it’s a privilege to hear her speak,” Adrian Shepard said.
James Lovett said he has voted in previous elections, but this the first election he has followed closely. He was impressed by the first lady’s speech during the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte earlier this month.
“She really motivated the crowd, and I want to partake in that,” Lovett said.
Mark Whedon, an ECU senior from Raleigh, said he still is unsure who he will support in November. This is his first presidential election, and he is concerned about finding a job when he graduates.
“I want to hear what she has to say about jobs,” he said. “I think you can find a simple job, but I think it will be difficult to find a job in my field (economics).”
The 2012 presidential election is the first one in which Johnny Signorelli of Winfall will vote.
While still undecided, the ECU senior education major said he was excited to hear Obama.
“Education is important for me. My major is health education, and I think that she is active in fighting childhood obesity because it is something I am interested in,” Signorelli said.
Contact Ginger Livingston at firstname.lastname@example.org or 252-329-9570.