By Jalisa Stanislaus
On Nov. 2, four days before the presidential election, First Lady Michelle Obama stressed the importance of voting and the impact that a single vote could make to a crowd of more than 2,000 people in Hampton University's Holland Hall.
"Back in 2008, Barack won Virginia by about 235,000 votes," said Michelle Obama during the campaign stop. "That might sound like a lot but when you break that number down across precincts, that is just 100 votes per precinct. That was the margin of victory.
"Understand that a single vote in an apartment building or a college campus could make the difference," Michelle Obama said.
"After hearing my first lady speak on Friday, I understood how crucial my vote was," said senior psychology major Ronald Smith, as he waited in line to cast his vote at the Woodlands golf course in Hampton, Va.
"I'm out here freezing in line, but there's no way I'm leaving. Barack needs me."
On Election Day Nov 6., many HU students waited for up to four hours in 45-degree weather to cast their vote.
"I've been out here for over three hours, but I'm happy that I will have the opportunity to make a difference," said Adjoba Anoh, senior broadcast journalism major from Clinton, Md. "Not even this harsh weather can discourage me."
"Michelle Obama's speech about women's rights, education, and President Obama's character and leadership really gave me the extra push to get to the polls."
Virginia was a critical state for both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. Michelle Obama stated that the only guarantee in this election was that it would be closer than Barack Obama's victory in 2008.
In fact, his margin of victory was half of what he received in 2008.
"Mrs. Obama's words spoke to every person in attendance on Friday," said Rachel Burrell, senior kinesiology major from Hampton. "When she broke down how close the last election was, I realized that I could make a difference. I encouraged all of my family, friends and teammates to vote."
"It only takes one person to change the direction of this country. One student, one teammate, or one Hamptonian."
With 13 electoral votes up for grabs, Virginia was one of the key battleground states in the election. In 2008, Barack Obama was the first Democratic presidential candidate in 44 years to win Virginia. Obama turned Virginia from red to blue for a second time in 2012.
President Obama won Virginia by approximately 115,900 votes and a 3-percent margin in Virginia. He also won by approximately 3,476,775 popular votes and received 126 more electoral votes than Mitt Romney.
Hamptonians' voices were heard nationwide, as Obama received 72 percent of votes in the city of Hampton. His victory in Virginia had much to do with the campaigning done by his wife, Michelle, one of his greatest assets during election season.
In Obama's victory address in Chicago after his re-election he confessed to the world that without his wife, Michelle he would not be the man that he is today.
"Let me say this publicly: Michelle, I have never loved you more. I have never been prouder to watch the rest of America fall in love with you, too, as our nation's first lady." In 2008, Michelle Obama served as a sounding board for military families. According to an article from ABC News, "Michelle Obama on Her Passion to 'Make it Right' for Military Families," by Mary Bruce, Michelle Obama has made it her mission to support America's servicemen and women returning from a decade of conflict.
In April 2011, the first lady and Jill Biden, formed "Joining Forces," which connects servicemen and women with the resources they need to find jobs and brings attention to the unique needs and strengths of America's military. "Michelle Obama's focus on military families put her at the leading edge of the Democratic nominee campaign and helped to reclaim some of the military vote from Republicans," according to the article.
Since February 2010, Michelle Obama has focused on health and nutrition of the nation's youth through her Let's Move! campaign. The initiative is dedicated to solving the problem of obesity so that children will grow up healthier and be able to pursue their dreams, according to Letsmove.gov. Let's Move! concentrates on school food and getting supermarkets into inner cities, so that everyone has access to healthy and affordable food. Significant improvements have been made to improve the health of the nation's children since 2010. There has been progress in healthier food options for kids and greater opportunities for physical activities in schools and communities.
Barack Obama is now gearing up for his second term as President of the United States. According to Business Insider, Americans can look forward to a lower corporate tax rate, an end to deductions for outsourcing companies, investing in domestic energy sources, cutting taxes and many other new policies.
The writer is a senior in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.