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First Lady Campaigns For Ill. Democrat Candidates

First lady Michelle Obama With Illinois Congressional Candidates, Bill Foster, Left, Debbie Halvorson, Right, And Dan Seals. (AP Photo)

First lady Michelle Obama With Illinois Congressional Candidates, Bill Foster, Left, Debbie Halvorson, Right, And Dan Seals. (AP Photo)

roberts250 Bob Roberts
Bob Roberts is a native of Wilmette who has worked in Chicago media...
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UPDATED October 14, 2010 11:10 a.m.

CHICAGO (CBS/AP) - For only the third time since her husband became President, Michelle Obama is waking up in the master bedroom of her Hyde Park mansion. She cast her ballot Thursday morning at a polling place on Chicago’s South Side, while in town to campaign for Democrats in Illinois.

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She cast her ballot Thursday morning at a polling place on Chicago’s South Side. The Obamas maintain their voting address at their South Side home.

The first lady voted in Illinois’ election at the Martin Luther King Community Center on Thursday. As she left, she told the election judges to make sure that everyone is voting early.

Anna Roberts voted near the first lady, and she became emotional, describing the experience as very moving. Roberts says she came to the polling place after hearing that Obama planned to vote while she was in town, in hopes of seeing her.

The first lady came to Chicago on Wednesday to raise money for U.S. Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias and Democrats running for Congress.

Giannoulias is locked in a tight race with Republican Mark Kirk for President Barack Obama’s former Senate seat.

michelle obama headshot speaking thumb First Lady Campaigns For Ill. Democrat Candidates

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“I am thrilled to be home,” she said Wednesday night, as she spoke at two downtown fund-raisers, the first for U.S. Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias, and the second for U.S. Rep. Bill Foster, U.S. Rep. Debbie Halvorson and 10th District congressional candidate Dan Seals.

Michelle Obama has avoided politics since going to Washington, but last week she declared herself “fired up and ready to go” to do her part to help Democrats stay in power on Capitol Hill.

Her return to the campaign trail has been highly anticipated by Democratic candidates.

Wednesday night, she said her husband’s administration is working hard to repair the economy.

“I know that a lot of folks are still hurting,” she said. “And when folks are hurting, it feels like change hasn’t come fast enough. And trust me, it hasn’t come fast enough for Barack.”

She said she looks at the issues facing the nation from the viewpoint of a “mom-in-chief.”

“When I think about the issues facing our nation, I think about what it means for my girls,” she said. “I think about what it’s going to mean for the world we’re leaving — for them and for all of our children.”

She said that is why she is on the campaign trail, asked the audience to vote and to get out the vote.

“My husband can’t do this alone,” she said, urging them to work for Giannoulias, who embraced her before and after the speech. “We need you to make those phone calls for Alexi. We need you to knock on those doors for this handsome young man…people will vote for him.”

A Who’s Who of Illinois Democrats were on hand for the Giannoulias fund-raiser, including U.S. Senators Dick Durbin and Roland Burris, U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush and Jan Schakowsky, Gov. Pat Quinn and running mate Sheila Simon, state treasurer candidate Robin Kelly, state comptroller candidate David Miller, former Illinois Comptroller Dawn Clark Netsch, and Obama’s legislative mentor, retired Illinois Senate President Emil Jones.

Giannoulias is locked in a tight race with Republican Mark Kirk for President Barack Obama’s former Senate seat.

Tickets ranged in price from $500 apiece to $10,000 a couple at the first event, with the proceeds going both to Giannoulias and other Illinois Democratic candidates.

The second event raised money for U.S. Rep. Bill Foster and Debbie Halvorson and Dan Seals, who hopes to succeed U.S. Rep Mark Kirk in the 10th District.

Organizers say the event for Foster, Halvorson and Seals raised $400,000.

(TM and © Copyright 2010 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS Radio and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)