US elections: First Lady joins Clinton's campaign trail as Trump uses Modi's tagline to woo voters
Obama has emerged as a compelling force in the hard-fought campaign, delivering powerful arguments against Republican candidate Donald Trump and in support of Clinton's bid to become the first female US president. Photograph: (AFP)
US First Lady Michelle Obama brought her star power onto the campaign trail on Thursday stumping for Hillary Clinton, as the Democratic White House hopeful seeks to conquer battleground states before Election Day.
Obama has emerged as a compelling force in the hard-fought campaign, delivering powerful arguments against Republican candidate Donald Trump and in support of Clinton's bid to become the first female US president.
Michelle and Hillary joined forces on the trail for the first time at a rally at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, where early voting is already under way.
"First ladies, we rock!" said Obama, one of the most popular Democrats in America. "Here's where I want to get real. If Hillary doesn't win this election, that will be on us," the current first lady said, emphasising that voter turnout is vital.
The 52-year-old wife of President Barack Obama has energised the Democratic camp with a series of speeches taking Trump to task for his strident rhetoric and for what she brands his "frightening" attitude towards women.
She warned that Trump's strategy was "to make this election so dirty and ugly that we don't want any part of it" and opt to stay home.
North Carolina voted for Obama in 2008, then Republican nominee Mitt Romney in 2012, but the southeastern state is leaning back toward the Democratic side in 2016.
Clinton has basked in the results of new polls showing the former secretary of state with an impressive lead just 12 days from the November 8 vote.
But new revelations about how former president Bill Clinton took in millions of dollars from "for profit" activities as he led the Clinton family's non-profit foundation weighed on her campaign.
'Trump borrows Modi's winning slogan'
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump insisted he holds a commanding position in the polls and will win the White House.
In an attempt to woo Indian American voters, Trump was seen dabbling in Hindi. The New York businessman is seen uttering "Ab Ki Baar Trump Sarkaar", adapting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 2014 vote-winning catchphrase as his own, in a presidential campaign ad released Thursday. "This time Trump government," translates the ad on the screen.
Trump may speak in a thick US accent, but the 30-second ad is the Republican nominee's latest attempt to win votes among Indian Americans ahead of Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights which falls on the weekend.
The video opens with the message "Happy Diwali" and borrows from footage of Trump speaking at a Hindu gathering in New Jersey this month, lighting an oil lamp and promising close US-Indian relations.
"The Indian and Hindu community will have a true friend in the White House," he says in the ad. "We love the Hindus, we love India," he adds, saying that he looks forward to working with Modi.
There are an estimated four million Indian Americans living in the United States according to 2015 census figures. They are among the most educated ethnic groups and generally well off, according to the Pew Research Center.
Only about half are Hindu and 65 percent are Democrat, or Democrat-leaning, the think tank found in a 2014 report.