Since the Democratic convention, where her speech on the first night was widely regarded as perhaps the highlight of the four-day gathering, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of Hillary Clinton's top surrogates, as she's cast Clinton's GOP opponent, Donald Trump, as unfit to be a moral leader for the nation.
At a campaign event Thursday, the first lady again took on the Republican presidential nominee, reacting to his latest, perhaps most explosive controversy yet: the recently released 2005 recording in which he's heard graphically discussing groping women, which was followed this week by accusations from multiple women that he'd made unwanted sexual advances toward them, which he has denied.
"Last week, we saw this candidate actually bragging about sexually assaulting women," the first lady said in Manchester, N.H, "and I can't believe that I'm saying that a candidate for president of the United States has bragged about sexually assaulting women."
She continued: "I can't stop thinking about this. It has shaken me to my core in a way that I couldn't have predicted."
During her July convention speech in Philadelphia, Obama, without naming him, asserted that Trump was unfit to fulfill the role of national role model.
"This election, and every election, is about who will have the power to shape our children for the next four or eight years of their lives," the first lady said. "And I am here tonight because in this election, there is only one person who I trust with that responsibility, only one person who I believe is truly qualified to be president of the United States, and that is our friend, Hillary Clinton."
The first lady revisited that theme Thursday in New Hampshire, laying out what she said were the stakes for the nation's children.
“In our hearts, we all know that if we let Hillary’s opponent win in this election, that we are sending a clear message to our kids: that everything they’re seeing and hearing is perfectly OK," she said.
"We're telling our sons that it's OK to humiliate women," the first lady said. "We're telling our daughters that this is how they deserve to be treated. We're telling all our kids that bigotry and bullying are perfectly acceptable in the leader of their country."
The first lady said it would be "dishonest" and "disingenuous" for her "to just move on to the next thing like this was all just a bad dream."
"It's not something we can just sweep under the rug as just another disturbing footnote in a sad election season," she added of the Trump recording.
She also seemed to allude to reports that surfaced Wednesday night in The New York Times and elsewhere of women accusing Trump of sexual misconduct in years past, saying that "it now seems very clear" the recording released last Friday wasn't "an isolated incident."
"I listen to all of this, and I feel it so personally," she said, adding that women, in particular, likely felt the same way.
"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," she said of Trump's comments.
Watch her speech below (beginning just after the 25-minute mark):
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