Story highlights

Hillary Clinton lauded Michelle Obama on Thursday for what she said was a powerful defense of women

The first lady has emerged one of the most powerful surrogates for the Democratic nominee

Winston-Salem, North Carolina CNN  — 

Michelle Obama on Thursday delivered a resounding speech vouching for Hillary Clinton’s preparedness to be president, saying the Democratic presidential nominee has more experience than anyone else to assume the nation’s highest office.

“Yes – more than Barack, more than Bill,” the first lady said.

In her first joint campaign rally with Clinton, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Obama said the past eight years have taught her and her husband the tremendous responsibility that comes with the presidency. And as she has watched this election unfold, Michelle Obama said it has become clear that Clinton and her opponent, Donald Trump, have clashing visions for the country.

Dems can’t get enough of FLOTUS – and Clinton knows it

Without once mentioning the Republican presidential nominee’s name, Obama warned that Trump’s is a vision “grounded in hopelessness and despair.”

“This candidate calls on us to turn against each other, to build walls, to be afraid,” Obama said. “And then there’s Hillary’s vision for this country – a vision of a nation that is powerful and vibrant and strong, big enough to have a place for all of us. A nation where we each have something very special to contribute and where we are always stronger together.”

Michelle Obama: The Clinton surrogate that could finish off Trump

With less than three months left in her role as first lady, Obama also reflected on the “glare of the national spotlight” that she and her husband have had to weather during the President’s two terms in office.

“With every action we take, with every word we utter, we think about the millions of children who are watching us,” Obama said. “We want a president who takes this job seriously and has the temperament and maturity to do it well. Someone who is steady. Someone who can be trusted with the nuclear codes because we want to to to sleep at night knowing that our kids and our country are safe.”

If Americans want a “unifying force” who “values and honors women,” Obama stressed: “Vote right now. Leave here and go vote!”

Obama’s comments came after Clinton warned that the “dignity and respect for women and girls is also on the ballot in this election,” in what was a clear shot at Trump’s remarks about women.

Clinton delivered an introduction focused on an issue that Obama has been particularly outspoken about in the final months of the 2016 campaign. Clinton lauded Obama for what she said was an eloquent and powerful defense of women.

“Michelle reminds us to work hard, stay true to our values, be good to one another, and never, ever stop fighting for what we believe in,” Clinton said. “She has spent eight years as our first lady advocating for girls around the world to go to school.”

Clinton added: “Seriously – is there anyone more inspiring than Michelle Obama?”

Obama has emerged one of the most powerful surrogates for the Democratic nominee, eight years after her husband defeated Clinton in the 2008 Democratic primaries.

The popular first lady delivered an electrifying speech at the Democratic National Convention over the summer. And earlier this month, Obama delivered an impassioned condemnation of Trump for his recently unveiled lewd comments about women.

“I can’t believe I’m saying a candidate for president of the United States has bragged about sexually assaulting women,” Obama said at the time.

With her voice quivering, Obama recalled a recent meeting with young women at the White House.

“I told them they deserve to be treated with dignity and respect,” Obama said at the time. “I wanted them to understand that the measure of any society is how it treats women and girls.”