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Michelle Obama: Early voting is campaign's 'secret weapon'

Jewel Samad / AFP - Getty Images

First Lady Michelle Obama speaks during a campaign rally at Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio on Monday.



CLEVELAND, OH – Shortly after casting her ballot for her husband, first lady Michelle Obama visited Ohio to encourage voters in this critical swing state to follow her lead and vote for the president before Election Day.

"I'm feeling pretty fired up and ready to go, because this morning, let me tell you what I did – I cast my ballot for Barack Obama," the first lady told a cheering crowd at Cuyahoga Community College. "It felt so good. Right now my absentee ballot is on its way to my hometown, Chicago. That means we are one vote closer to re-electing my husband."

Before taking off for Ohio on Monday, Obama tweeted that she had just dropped her absentee ballot in the mail, and President Obama followed shortly with a tweet announcing that he would be voting on October 25. He'll vote in person in Chicago, giving cameras a chance to get a photo-op of him casting his ballot, even though it will be nearly two weeks before most of the rest of the country votes.

Michelle Obama has been one of the campaign's chief advocates for mobilizing the Democratic base to vote early. Her campaign schedule has often been crafted to put her in swing states when early voting begins. Rallies – like an earlier event in Delaware, OH – end with transportation to a polling place. Like her husband, Michelle Obama has gotten to know Ohio well.

She was here on Oct. 2 when early voting began. After a rally in downtown Cincinnati, volunteers directed many of the 6,000 attendees to the Hamilton County Board of Elections.

On the stump, she calls early voting the campaign's "secret weapon."

From here, Michelle Obama heads to Chapel Hill, N.C. on Tuesday and to Wisconsin on Friday, both states that begin early voting this week.

Speaking to reporters on Monday, Obama for America spokesperson Jen Psaki said they had a "superior" early voting effort compared with Mitt Romney's campaign. While both campaigns have pushed to bank votes before Nov. 6, Democrats have been most aggressive. In 2008, those who cast ballots before Election Day heavily favored Barack Obama.

"We want you all to vote early. We want you to think about voting early, whether it’s by mail, or in person, vote early,” she said. “Because if you vote early, then you can spend your time on election day getting everyone that you know out to vote."

From tramping through cornfields to munching ice cream cones to holding babies – the time-honored traditions of the campaign trail leave President Barack Obama and GOP challenger Mitt Romney looking surprisingly alike.