In Manchester, New Hampshire, on Thursday, a campaign appearance for Hillary Clinton became much more. But I’m sure Clinton didn’t mind. The first lady, with raw and visible emotion, put into words what many have been feeling since a cascade of revelations, video tapes and recorded conversations filled in any possible blanks on the character of Donald Trump, on his treatment of — and judgments about — women.
And she did it, as is her usual practice, without uttering the words “Donald” or “Trump.” He may be the reality TV star, but it was Michelle Obama who got real. She mesmerized the crowd with a speech that seemed spontaneous in delivery and cut to the heart of the matter.
[Opinion: So the Republican Party Finally Gets Trump?] Are you asking if Americans understand how Trump thinks and expresses himself?
“The fact is that, in this election, we have a candidate for president of the United States who over the course of his lifetime, and the course of this campaign, has said things about women that are so shocking, so demeaning that I simply will not repeat anything here today,” she said.
“And last week, we saw this candidate actually bragging about sexually assaulting women. I can’t believe that I’m saying that a candidate for president of the United States has bragged about sexually assaulting women. And I have to tell you that I can’t stop thinking about this. It has shaken me to my core in a way that I couldn’t have predicted. …
“It would be dishonest and disingenuous to me to just move on to the next thing like this was all just a bad dream. … This is not something that we can sweep under the rug as just another disturbing footnote in a sad election season because this was not just a lewd conversation. This wasn’t just locker room banter. This was a powerful individual speaking freely and openly about sexually predatory behavior. … And to make matters worse, it now seems very clear that this isn’t an isolated incident. It’s one of countless examples of how he has treated women his whole life.”
Obama made it personal, and enveloped those in the crowd, many of whom brought their children, as she recalled all “the shameful comments about our bodies. The disrespect of our ambitions and intellect. The belief that you can do anything you want to a woman. It is cruel. It’s frightening. And the truth is, it hurts. It hurts.”
Michelle Obama is practically the only Democrat who has not faced the wrath of Donald Trump or his minions, perhaps because even they recognize the folly of going down that low road. She is invulnerable, riding sky-high in popularity polls.