(Eds: Corrects slug)

HASH(0x88a60ac)

In support of her husband's reelection campaign, first lady Michelle Obama on Wednesday visited Florida, universally regarded as a key state in the Nov. 6 presidential election calculations.

The latest campaign event took place in Ft. Lauderdale, some 25 miles north of Miami, where the first lady met with members of the Democratic base and asked them in the 11 weeks remaining before Election Day to try and spread the ideas of her husband, Barack Obama, so that he can continue to serve in the White House for four more years.

She assured everyone present that her family knows the problems that many U.S. citizens are having such as difficulties sending their children to college, paying their medical bills or paying off their debts.

The first lady also said that neither of her parents had much education but they "sacrificed everything they had" because they wanted her brother and her to have an education and opportunities that they "could only dream about."

She said her parents were a clear example that it does not matter who you are or where you're from, if you work hard you can make a decent life for yourself and be happy in this country.

The first lady also spoke about her husband's family, saying that President Obama's mother was single and had to work hard to pay her bills, but "she never complained" or gave up. As a result, "Barack knows what the American Dream is because he's lived it."

She noted that the current U.S. economic situation is complicated, but she said that over the past few months jobs have been created and she asked those present to vote for her husband so that he can continue implementing his measures to jump-start the economy and achieve health care reform.

She said President Obama was fighting for grandparents who cannot afford their medications, families that can't pay their bills, adding that he was also working to ensure that, for example, nobody (that is, insurance companies) can deny coverage to someone who has "breast cancer."

Before the campaign rally, Ms. Obama visited the Mayport Naval Station in Jacksonville, in northeastern Florida, to meet with the relatives of Navy personnel and announce that over the past year more than 2,000 companies have hired 125,000 veterans and soldiers' spouses.

The figure she quoted exceeds the target of 100,000 she set with Jill Biden, the wife of Vice President Joe Biden, when last year they launched a plan to increase society's recognition and integration of veterans and soldiers' relatives.

Ms. Obama took advantage of the occasion to set a new target: 250,000 new hires of veterans and their spouses by the end of 2014.

The highlight of the day was the surprise visit the first lady paid to some 20 children who were practicing basketball in a gymnasium near the Fort Lauderdale auditorium where she later presided at the political rally.

"I didn't know she was going to come, but I recognized her right away," said 8-year-old Santiago, one of the Hispanic kids in the group, in remarks to a small group of reporters - including your Efe correspondent - who were on hand to witness Ms. Obama's visit to the gym.

The youngsters welcomed the first lady with excited shouts, hugs and kisses, and many of them asked her for her autograph before they all gathered together for a group photo.

Ms. Obama's visit to Florida comes just days before the Republican National Convention kicks off in Tampa next Monday, where Mitt Romney is scheduled to become the party's official presidential nominee to face off against Obama in the Nov. 6 election. EFE