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Latest update : 2008-08-26

US Presidential candidate Barack Obama's wife Michelle opened the Democratic convention in Denver to proclaim why she believes her husband should be elected president of the United States of America.

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Special Report on the race to the White House


Michelle Obama takes centre stage at the Democratic convention Monday to proudly proclaim to the world why she believes her husband should be elected president of the United States.
Before some 4,400 delegates gathered here and millions more glued to their televisions at home, she is expected to deliver a passionate speech in support of Barack Obama's historic bid for the White House.
Her opening night keynote address will raise the curtain on a carefully choreographed four-day jamboree seeking to give the Illinois senator a nuclear-fueled push into the final stretch of the 2008 presidential campaign.
And she told reporters early Monday as she did a brief walk-through on the podium here accompanied by her daughters Malia, 10 and Sasha, 7: "Yes, I'm very excited about tonight."
As the two girls played with the gavel which will open the ceremony, Michelle Obama, dressed in an elegant, olive-green silk jacket and black trousers, stood in front of the podium looking out into the vast hall.
From here she will seek to convince Americans and the world that her husband is the man who should lead the United States for the next four years.
"Nobody in the world knows Barack Obama better than his wife Michelle," said Obama spokesman Josh Earnest.
"She herself also embodies a very American story, she was raised on the South Side of Chicago in a middle class home.
"Her personal perspective and what she offers will I think be very compelling to the American public."
Barack Obama, 47, and his wife, 44, are on a quest to be the first African-American couple to occupy the White House.
"I am very excited about tonight. It is a great way to kick off the convention with the star of the Obama family, Michelle, as well as Malia and Sasha," Barack Obama said at an Illinois airport Monday.
"Hopefully Michelle will be able to talk about our family and this campaign .. and why we have made this commitment."
Despite the long, gruelling primary season which saw them fly coast to coast, north to south, some voters remain wary of Barack Obama's life story and his exotic upbringing as the son of a Kenyan father and white Kansas mother who spent his childhood in Indonesia and Hawaii.
It is a hurdle which his campaign has sought to overcome, and Michelle Obama will be hoping to set voter perceptions right in her prime-time address, backed by a strong show of family support from her brother Craig Robinson and her husband's half-sister Maya Soetero-Ng, who will also speak.
Earnest said the convention, already attracting blanket media coverage with the race to November's election pegged in a dead-heat, would be Obama's best chance yet to tell his story.
"Tonight will be an opportunity for the American people to be introduced to senator Obama once again, to learn about his values from people who know him best," he said.
Over the past months Michelle Obama has shot to the fore in her husband's bid to wrest the White House from the Republicans.
She has criss-crossed the country appearing at meetings and rallies in a bid to help win over fans, especially women, to her husband's side. She has emerged as a charismatic, independent woman who has sought to build up her husband, while at the same time reminding everyone he is just an ordinary man.
She has swapped stories with voters and sympathized with everyday concerns such as the struggle to pay the bills, and to juggle work and family life. And she has candidly revealed that like most couples, they have had their ups and downs.
Her simple, elegant style of dress, often topped with large colorful fake pearls, has turned her into a fashion icon for many.
Husband Barack has called her his rock, and one of the wisest people he knows. His campaign announced Monday that he would appear live via satellite from Kansas City at the convention after watching his wife's speech.
But Michelle Obama will also have the job of selling herself, after she was attacked by the Republicans as unpatriotic for a badly-phrased quote in which she said that the wave of support for her husband had made her feel proud of her country for the first time.

Date created : 2008-08-26