Journal Sentinel: First lady applauds Feingold’s record

Making her 2010 campaign debut, first lady Michelle Obama headlined a fund-raiser for Senate Democrat Russ Feingold on Wednesday, arguing for his political independence by noting that he “doesn’t always agree” with her husband, the president.

“So Russ, you and I have a little something in common,” she said, addressing a luncheon crowd of more than 700 people who paid $250 to $500 to attend the event at the U.S. Cellular Arena.

Obama also delivered a message to frustrated Democrats, saying change “hasn’t been fast enough – yeah. But I think that many of us came into this expecting to see all the change we talked about happen all at once, right away, the minute Barack walked into the Oval Office door. But the truth is, it is going to take a longer time to dig ourselves out of this hole than any of us would like.”

Returning to the campaign trail for the first time since 2008, the first lady made it clear her role will be to promote Democratic candidates and nudge Democratic voters, not attack Republicans. She urged Democrats to vote early, and to “find all those folks who are planning to sit this one out. Find them! And we need you to tell them that they can’t vote just once and then just hope for change to happen.”

She gave an extended defense of the health care law her husband signed and that Feingold, unlike most Democrats, has promoted in his TV ads. Feingold’s GOP opponent, Ron Johnson, has made that health care vote a central target in his effort to unseat the third-term Democrat. While Feingold has touted his differences with the president and the party on some issues, he gave a high-decibel defense of the health care law at Wednesday’s event.

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