First Lady Michelle Obama was in Omaha, Neb., today for an address to women and girls, aimed at boosting their confidence as advocates for themselves. She also appealed for campaign cash at a fundraiser hosted by Warren Buffet in Omaha, which could be key to President Obama's re-election. (More on the politics of Nebraska from ABC's Jake Tapper here.)
Mrs. Obama delivered the keynote speech at an annual luncheon for Girls Inc., a nonprofit advocacy group for which she is an honorary board chair, exhorting the women not to "be afraid to dream big."
"You have to see yourself in a place. You have to be able to see yourself as that scientist, as the next President of the United States. You can be First Lady if you want to, but there's also the presidency," she said.
Asked by 12-year-old Aviera Pittman whether she believes she's "strong, smart and bold," the First Lady answered unequivocally.
"Yes, absolutely, right? I'm strong, smart and bold," Obama told the crowd.
"Believe what people are saying about you. Believe that. Take in that good energy. Own it. Hug it. Accept it," she said. "Put the negative things aside, because that's always going to be there. There's always going to be - what do we call it, girls? There's always going to be haters out there? Don't focus on that."
The First Lady later spoke to more than 225 paying supporters at a fundraiser at the Omaha Hilton, where she framed the November election as a decision that will "impact our lives for decades" to come.
"Will we continue all the change we've begun and the progress we've made? Or will we allow everything we've fought for to just slip away?" she said.
"What you have to know is your President, Barack, he knows this. He knows this all too well. He understands these issues because he's lived them," she said. "And we are blessed to have him."
The fundraiser, Mrs. Obama's 25th of the year, raised at least $56,000 for the Obama Campaign, the Democratic National Committee and several state Democratic parties, according to figures provided by the Obama campaign.