Sen. Obama and his wife, Michelle, in February 2007 when he announced his White House bid.
ORANGEBURG, South Carolina (CNN) – Michelle Obama told an audience Tuesday that electing an African-American president will challenge America to "look at itself differently.”
"Imagine our family on that inaugural platform," she said. "America will look at itself differently. The world will look at America differently. There is no other candidate who is going to do that for our country. You know that."
Obama was campaigning on behalf of her husband, Sen. Barack Obama, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. Obama told the audience at the historically black South Carolina State University that she and her husband realize there are doubts among black Americans about whether an African-American can win a presidential election. But she called those fears "the bitter legacy of racism and discrimination and oppression in this country."
"We would never entered this race if we were not confident that America was ready," she said. "We're not crazy."
The Princeton and Harvard law school graduate paraphrased Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in describing her husband, saying he should be president "not because of the color of his skin, but because of the quality and consistency of his character."
"Imagine a president of the United States who actually has experience working with people on the ground," she said, referring to her husband’s background as a community organizer in Chicago. Obama said this background gives her husband the experience to confront racial disparities in income, health care and education.
"Inequality is not a burden we have to accept, it is a challenge we must overcome," she said, explaining that she herself overcame "voices of doubt and fear" about her race to now accept the challenge of possibly becoming first lady.
"I'm asking you to stop settling for the world as it is, and to help us make the world as it should be," she said.
- CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby