Advice

Michelle Obama’s 5 Best Quotes at DNC: ‘I Wake Up Every Morning in a House That Was Built by Slaves’

July 26, 2016

"Don’t let anyone ever tell you that this country isn’t great, that somehow we need to make it great again"

First Lady Michelle Obama’s impassioned speech stole the show during the opening night of the Democratic National Convention on Monday.

As she urged Americans to vote for Hillary Clinton, she spoke about her personal experience in the White House, serving as a role model to young Americans while watching her own daughters grow up during the past eight years. She emphasized her belief that the president who follows her husband should “be guided every day by the love and hope and impossibly big dreams that we all have for our children.”

Here are five highlights from her address. (Read the speech in its entirety here.)

1. “When they go low, we go high”

That is what Barack and I think about every day as we try to guide and protect our girls through the challenges of this unusual life in the spotlight, how we urge them to ignore those who question their father’s citizenship or faith. How we insist that the hateful language they hear from public figures on TV does not represent the true spirit of this country. How we explain that when someone is cruel or acts like a bully, you don’t stoop to their level. No, our motto is, when they go low, we go high.

2. “We know that our words and actions matter”

Barack and I take that same approach to our jobs as president and first lady because we know that our words and actions matter, not just to our girls, but the children across this country, kids who tell us I saw you on TV, I wrote a report on you for school. Kids like the little black boy who looked up at my husband, his eyes wide with hope and he wondered, is my hair like yours?

3. “Hillary Clinton has never quit on anything in her life”

And look, there were plenty of moments when Hillary could have decided that this work was too hard, that the price of public service was too high, that she was tired of being picked apart for how she looks or how she talks or even how she laughs. But here’s the thing. What I admire most about Hillary is that she never buckles under pressure. She never takes the easy way out. And Hillary Clinton has never quit on anything in her life.

4. “The issues a president faces … cannot be boiled down to 140 characters”

I want someone with the proven strength to persevere, someone who knows this job and takes it seriously, someone who understands that the issues a president faces are not black and white and cannot be boiled down to 140 characters. Because when you have the nuclear codes at your fingertips and the military in your command, you can’t make snap decisions. You can’t have a thin skin or a tendency to lash out. You need to be steady and measured and well-informed.

5. “I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves”

That is the story of this country, the story that has brought me to this stage tonight, the story of generations of people who felt the lash of bondage, the shame of servitude, the sting of segregation, but who kept on striving and hoping and doing what needed to be done so that today I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves. And I watch my daughters, two beautiful, intelligent, black young women playing with their dogs on the White House lawn. And because of Hillary Clinton, my daughters and all our sons and daughters now take for granted that a woman can be president of the United States. So, look, so don’t let anyone ever tell you that this country isn’t great, that somehow we need to make it great again. Because this right now is the greatest country on earth! And as my daughters prepare to set out into the world, I want a leader who is worthy of that truth, a leader who is worthy of my girls’ promise and all our kids’ promise, a leader who will be guided every day by the love and hope and impossibly big dreams that we all have for our children.