At the War Memorial Auditorium in Fort Lauderdale Wednesday afternoon, the First Lady spoke to supporters about the economy. She told the crowded room that the country was losing thousands of jobs monthly when her husband took office. "That's what he inherited," she said. "That's what awaited him after he took the oath for office."
Michelle Obama spoke to grassroots supporters who were rallying for her husband's re-election Wednesday in Fort Lauderdale after 14 of them were treated for heat-related issues while they waited for her.
Fort Lauderdale Fire-Rescue spokesman Matt Little said the 14 people were treated and five of them were taken to Broward Health. Other people will be evaluated at a triage center. They will be hydrated and evaluated if they need to be taken to another local hospital.
Arriving in the electoral battleground of Florida, Mrs. Obama first made an appearance at the Naval Station Mayport in Jacksonville to announce that 2,000 businesses around the country have hired or trained more than 125,000 military veterans and spouses in the past year, exceeding a White House goal of 100,000 by the end of next year.
Buoyed by those numbers, Mrs. Obama planned to announce that the same companies have committed to hire or train an additional 250,000 veterans and military spouses by 2014, the White House said. That includes hiring or training 50,000 military spouses within three years — and helping them keep those jobs as families move from one duty station to another.
"More and more businesses are recognizing that hiring veterans is good for their bottom line, and they are making bold commitments to bring veterans into their ranks," said Brad Cooper, executive director of the first lady's Joining Forces effort.
In April 2011, the first lady and Jill Biden, wife of the vice president, launched Joining Forces to encourage Americans to support military families and veterans. The White House said the hiring push has helped to reduce unemployment among veterans from 8.6 percent in July 2011 to 6.9 percent last month.
Labor Department statistics show the unemployment rate for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is at 8.9 percent, above the national rate of 8.3 percent. For veterans under 24, the unemployment rate was 19.9 percent in July.
President Barack Obama has made conservative Jacksonville a target in carrying Florida, the nation's largest tossup state. The city has a large military presence and a number of veterans have retired in the area.
At the War Memorial Auditorium in Fort Lauderdale Wednesday afternoon, the first lady spoke to supporters about the economy. She told the crowded room that the country was losing thousands of jobs monthly when her husband took office.
"That's what he inherited," she said. "That's what awaited him after he took the oath for office."
Mrs. Obama also said that like many Americans, she and her husband have also struggled. The pair dealt with student loan bills that were higher than the couple's mortgage, she said.
"My husband and I, we've been there," she said. "We felt that sting."
The Fort Lauderdale event was free and open to the public but tickets were required.
The trip was least the fifth Michelle Obama has made to Florida this year and comes just before the start of the Republican National Convention.
She visited supporters in Miami Lakes in July, urging them to help get voters to the polls to re-elect the president.
The first lady credited the president with reforming healthcare, bringing troops home and ending "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
She finished her speech announcing a new effort called "It Takes One," urging supporters to bring at least one friend or colleague to the polls.
"Our goal is to multiply ourselves," she said.