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Analysis: Michelle Obama gets the job done on Day One

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  • Borger: Campaign introduces Obama in a new way
  • Brazile: Purpose of first night is to lay the foundation
  • Gergen: Michelle Obama rescues the evening
  • King: Kennedy proves he is a political lion
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By Rebecca Sinderbrand
CNN
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DENVER, Colorado (CNN) -- Michelle Obama had one message for America the first night of the Democratic convention: Barack and I are just like you.

Michelle Obama keeps her focus on her family and working-class roots.

On the Democratic National Convention's first night, Michelle Obama painted a portrait of a typical American family: her blue-collar dad and homemaker mother and her husband Barack's middle-class family that "scrimped and saved so that he could have opportunities they never had themselves."

The audience for the speech was the millions of Americans who know little about Michelle Obama except the black radical stereotype caricatured on the controversial New Yorker cover earlier this summer. It comes after a full-court press by the campaign of Republican Sen. John McCain to paint her husband, the presumptive Democratic nominee, as a celebrity who can't relate to the plight of ordinary Americans.

It's a theme that will be taken up later this week by presumptive vice presidential nominee Sen. Joe Biden, whose middle-class, Catholic background is meant to send the same message about Obama's values.

In a race where the prize goes to the one who's best at making himself look average, Michelle Obama's focus stayed on her family and working-class roots -- and on her husband as the embodiment of the American dream. In a campaign season where she has been forced to defend herself against attacks on her patriotism, she paid tribute to military families.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll in July found that a majority of voters view Michelle Obama in a favorable light.

According to the poll, 51 percent of registered voters report a favorable view of the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee's wife, while 28 percent hold an unfavorable view. Just over 21 percent did not express an opinion.

In 1992, the last presidential candidate raised by a single mother also faced critics who called him an arrogant elitist. His wife also faced pressure to prove she was in touch with the average woman.

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At that year's Democratic convention, Bill and Hillary Clinton battled to prove they were ordinary -- and drew a 16-point post-convention boost for their efforts. Barack Obama's White House bid rests on his ability to make the same case.

Monday, his wife delivered a solid opening argument.

All About Barack ObamaHillary ClintonEdward M. KennedyMichelle Obama

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