(CNSNews.com) - Michelle Obama, almost mustering tears in New Hampshire on Thursday, says she "can't stop thinking" about a presidential candidate bragging about "sexually assaulting women."
"It has shaken me to my core in a way that I couldn't have predicted," she said. "So while I'd love nothing more than to pretend like this isn't happening, and to come out here and do my normal campaign speech, it would be dishonest and disingenuous to me to just move on to the next thing like this was all just a bad dream.
"This is not something that we can ignore," she continued. "It's not something we can just sweep under the rug as just another disturbing footnote in a sad election season. Because this was not just a lewd conversation. This wasn't just locker-room banter. This was a powerful individual speaking freely and openly about sexually predatory behavior, and actually bragging about kissing and groping women, using language so obscene that many of us were worried about our children hearing it when we turn on the TV."
Donald Trump eleven years ago was caught unawares on an "Access Hollywood" videotape saying vulgar things about women to whom he was attracted. He apologized to Americans at last Sunday's debate, where he denied ever acting on his stated impulses.
But since then, in the final days of the campaign, a handful of women conveniently have come forward to accuse Trump of groping and abusing them. Trump says it's a manufactured controversy by the "Clinton machine": "There is nothing the political establishment will not do -- no lie that they won't tell -- to hold their prestige and power at your expense. And that's what's been happening," Trump said in Florida on Thursday.
But Mrs. Obama said it "seems very clear" that this is how Trump has always treated women. And then she made the case that men are predators and women are victims:
"And I have to tell you that I listen to all of this, and I feel it so personally, and I'm sure that many of you do, too, particularly the women. The shameful comments about our bodies. The disrespect of our ambitions and intellect. The belief that you can do anything you want to a woman.
"It is cruel. It's frightening. And the truth is, it hurts. It hurts. It's like that sick, sinking feeling you get when you're walking down the street minding your own business and some guy yells out vulgar words about your body. Or when you see that guy at work that stands just a little too close, stares a little too long, and makes you feel uncomfortable in your own skin.
"It's that feeling of terror and violation that too many women have felt when someone has grabbed them, or forced himself on them and they've said no but he didn't listen -- something that we know happens on college campuses and countless other places every single day.
"It reminds us of stories we heard from our mothers and grandmothers about how, back in their day, the boss could say and do whatever he pleased to the women in the office, and even though they worked so hard, jumped over every hurdle to prove themselves, it was never enough.
"We thought all of that was ancient history, didn't we? And so many have worked for so many years to end this kind of violence and abuse and disrespect, but here we are, in 2016, and we're hearing these exact same things every day on the campaign trail. We are drowning in it.
"And all of us are doing what women have always done: We're trying to keep our heads above water, just trying to get through it, trying to pretend like this doesn't really bother us maybe because we think that admitting how much it hurts makes us as women look weak. Maybe we're afraid to be that vulnerable. Maybe we've grown accustomed to swallowing these emotions and staying quiet, because we've seen that people often won't take our word over his.
"Or maybe we don't want to believe that there are still people out there who think so little of us as women. Too many are treating this as just another day's headline, as if our outrage is overblown or unwarranted, as if this is normal, just politics as usual."
Mrs. Obama said it's not normal, it's not politics as usual (neglecting what Bill Clinton did to a young intern when he was president). It's disgraceful, it's intolerable, and "it doesn't matter what party you belong to -- Democrat, Republican, independent -- no woman deserves to be treated this way. None of us deserves this kind of abuse!"
Mrs. Obama said it's about right and wrong.
"And we simply cannot endure this, or expose our children to this any longer -- not for another minute, and let alone for four years. Now is the time for all of us to stand up and say enough is enough. This has got to stop right now!"