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Originally published July 17, 2008 at 12:00 AM | Page modified July 17, 2008 at 10:57 PM

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Obama's wife shares his message in Bellevue

Michelle Obama told a group of about 150 Barack Obama supporters this morning that while Republican presidential candidate John McCain "wouldn't change much" about the world, her husband's life mission is to make the world the better place he envisions.

Seattle Times staff reporter

Michelle Obama told a group of about 150 Barack Obama supporters this morning that while Republican presidential candidate John McCain "wouldn't change much" about the world, her husband's life mission is to make the world the better place he envisions.

The wife of the presumptive Democratic nominee is in the Seattle area for an afternoon fundraiser for Gov. Christine Gregoire, who is seeking re-election. This morning, she helped raise money for her husband's campaign at the Bellevue Westin.

In her speech to the small gathering of campaign donors, Obama spoke warmly of her husband, revealing her first impressions of him when the two met at a law firm in Chicago 20 years ago.

He was a "hotshot" intern, she said, and she was assigned to supervise him. At first, she admitted, she thought "he must be weird" — in part because he was biracial and grew up in Hawaii. But as they got to know each other, she said, she found they had shared values.

As he courted her, she said, Obama took her to a church basement for a community organizing event. She was impressed at how comfortable he was in both the corporate setting and among blue-collar working people.

That event was the first time she heard him speak about "the mission of his life," which she said is to work toward closing the gap between "the world as it is and the world as it should be."

As he spoke that day to a group of former steelworkers who had lost hope and encouraged them to band together to fight for what they needed, she said, she knew there was "something special" about him.

She said her husband wants all Americans to have the opportunity to earn a living wage and get a decent education for their children. She also said the government should invest in a good energy policy and end the war in Iraq.

Emily Heffter: 206-464-8246 or eheffter@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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