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Gabbard highlights military service, sacrifices at convention

    Candidate for the House of Representatives Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii address the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., on Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2012. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
    Craig Robinson, First Lady Michelle Obama's brother, and Maya Soetoro-ng, President Barack Obama's sister, address the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., on Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
    First Lady Michelle Obama appears on the stage with actor Kal Penn for filming a campaign video at the Democratic National Convention inside Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, N.C., on Monday, Sept. 3, 2012. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
    Former Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Tammy Duckworth addresses the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., on Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2012. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

With a hearty “aloha” to the crowd, Tulsi Gabbard took to the microphone onstage at the Democratic National Convention as part of a segment showcasing women of the U.S. House of Representatives. 

Gabbard was the seventh of eight speakers and spoke for a minute and a half, highlighting her military service and noting the sacrifices of military families.

“As a combat veteran, I know the cost of war,” said Gabbard a captain in the Hawaii Army National Guard. “The sacrifices made by our troops and military families are immeasurable.

“These days it’s often women in uniform — moms, wives, even grandmothers — who deploy and leave their families behind,” she said. Gabbard said the Obama administration will continue its strong support of military families.

Gabbard, 31, is a former Hawaii state representative and Honolulu City Councilwoman who is the Democratic nominee for Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District. She will face Republican Kawika Crowley in the Nov. 6 election.

Gabbard was among three women from Hawaii who spoke today at the Democratic National Convention, before first lady Michelle Obama speaks.

University of Hawaii and McKinley High School graduate Tammy Duckworth also spoke in the afternoon. The congressional candidate from Illinois received a rousing reception when she spoke of losing both legs fighting in Iraq, then rededicating herself to helping fellow veterans.

Duckworth is a decorated Iraq War veteran who lost both legs in a rocket-propelled grenade attack while co-piloting a Black Hawk helicopter. The former assistant secretary at Veterans Affairs is making a second bid for the northern Illinois seat in Congress held by Republican Rep. Joe Walsh.

And the president’s sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, who lives on Oahu, shared the stage with the president’s brother-in-law Craig Robinson.

The final speaker of the night was the first lady.

“Barack knows the American Dream because he’s lived it,” the first lady told the convention in an address intended to reassure voters that her husband shares their values — hard work, perseverance and optimism — while also drawing a contrast between him and Mitt Romney. 

Mrs. Obama never mentioned the president’s Republican challenger, who grew up in a world of privilege and wealth.

But the point was clear as she wove a tapestry of their early years together, when money was tight and times were tough, when they were “so in love, and so in debt.” She reminisced about the man who now occupies the Oval Office pulling his favorite coffee table out of the trash and wearing dress shoes that were a size too small. And she told stories about a president who still takes time to eat dinner with his daughters nearly every night, answering their questions about the news and strategizing about middle-school friendships.  

With a mix of personal anecdotes and policy talk, Mrs. Obama’s speech was her most political yet.

“Today, after so many struggles and triumphs and moments that have tested my husband in ways I never could have imagined, I have seen firsthand that being president doesn’t change who you are — it reveals who you are,” she said. 


The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Hawaii News Now – KGMB and KHNL

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