PHILADELPHIA—Michelle Obama told supporters in Philadelphia on Wednesday that candidates don't change once they become president and that America "needs an adult in the White House."
The first lady never mentioned Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump during the rally at LaSalle University. But there was no question that she was warning voters that President Trump would be the same as candidate Trump.
"The presidency doesn't change who you are, it reveals who you are," she told the cheering crowd.
She referred to several comments Trump made during and after Monday's debate, including his apparent acknowledgment that he's paid no taxes some years. Trump said that makes him "smart."
"If a candidate is erratic and threatening, if a candidate traffics in prejudice, fear and lies on the campaign trail, if a candidate thinks not paying taxes makes you smart, or that it's good business when people lose their homes; if a candidate regularly and flippantly makes cruel and insulting comments about women, about how we look, how we act — well, sadly, that's who that candidate really is," she said. "That is the kind of president they will be."
She said the country needs a leader who is steady and measured because when making war-or-peace decisions, "the president can't just pop off or lash out irrationally. No, we need an adult in the White House, I guarantee you."
Later Wednesday, she appeared at a rally for the Democratic presidential nominee at the University of Pittsburgh, where she changed the wording to "grown-up."
She cast Clinton as a tough, compassionate fighter who doesn't back down and who loves her country.
"Experience matters, preparation matters, temperament matters," she said. "Hillary Clinton has it all. She's the real deal."
She told the crowd in Pittsburgh she understands some voters are uninspired this year, but this election is too important not to vote.
"Either Hillary Clinton or her opponent will be the next president this year. The stakes are too high to take that chance" by not voting or casting a protest vote for someone else, she said. "It isn't about voting for the perfect candidate. There's no such thing."
Trump's campaign reacted to Obama's speech with a statement saying Clinton is in "panic mode" in Pennsylvania because polls show the Republican presidential nominee surging in the battleground state.