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Calling for patience on the economy, first lady asks for early support at the polls

Gregory Shaver / AP

About 2,500 people gathered to see First lady Michelle Obama speak Friday during a campaign event at Memorial Hall in Racine, Wis.

RACINE, WI -- Days before early voting begins here in Wisconsin, first lady Michelle Obama told an audience of several thousand people Friday to get to the polls ahead of election day, declaring that the work of her husband, President Barack Obama, is "all on the line."

"Early voting starts here in Wisconsin on Monday," Obama said, before explaining that new or unregistered voters could register on the spot at polling locations.

It was the latest plea from the first lady to vote early, delivered in yet another state that will open its polls in advance of November 6th.


In late September, on the second day polls were open in Iowa, Obama urged students at the University of Northern Iowa to visit a so-called satellite polling station the campaign had opened on campus for that day only. 

And Monday, Obama told college students in Cleveland to vote early in Ohio -- declaring she had that day voted by mail in Illinois. 

Early voting will be available this election cycle in a total of 32 states and the District of Columbia.

The Obama campaign hopes that by encouraging early commitments, it can create early gains even as it pushes a message on the economy that dismisses snap judgment and calls for patience.

Here in Racine County, a Democratic area south of Milwaukee, Obama told voters that while "we still have a long way to go to completely rebuild our economy," there are signs "every day" that things are looking up. 

"The stock market has doubled.  Exports have grown by 45-percent.  Manufacturers have added 500-thousand jobs," Obama said.  "Do you hear me?" she added, growing animated.

The first lady's visit comes as an NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll shows the president leading Republican nominee Mitt Romney by six points among likely voters, 51 to 45 percent.

But it also comes days after a testy debate on Long Island, N.Y., in which Romney argued that improvements to the economy haven't come fast enough.

The first lady's message Friday seemed in part a response. 

"Real change is hard and it requires patience and tenacity," she said, adding later, "You see your president? How calm he is? How forward thinking he is? That is a lesson for all of our young people."

Earlier, Obama said that listening to her husband "talk about his values" during Tuesday's debate "makes me fired up and ready to go, too."