But first she's going to make sure they know that U.S. Sen. Barack Obama forgot to put the butter away this morning.
Ultimately, she praises her husband as a gifted leader who deeply understands the struggles of American women, and she asks far more directly than he does for the crowd's financial and political support.
But Michelle Obama, 43, has a reputation for telling it like she thinks it is—whether about the butter, her husband's ongoing effort to quit smoking or his political priorities. And though she's lighthearted in her critiques, she never plays the role of the deferential political wife.
"He's a gifted man," she tells the audience, "but, in the end, he's just a man."
The fact that the crowd responds with laughter and a long, warm ovation is a good sign for the Obama team.
One of its most formidable tasks, after all, is to win over Democratic-leaning women tempted to help make Sen. Hillary Clinton the first woman president, and Michelle Obama figures prominently in the promotion strategy. She's a charismatic public speaker, an accomplished professional whose life as a working parent looks familiar to all kinds of women.
More than just a spokeswoman, she's a crucial part of the Obama package itself, complementing and shaping her husband in ways that are both politically and personally significant.
The daughter of a tight-knit nuclear family, she's an anchor for a spouse who grew up all over the world and barely knew his own father. Her background, deeply rooted in a working-class South Side neighborhood, lends credibility to her husband, who has consistently battled questions from some African-Americans about whether the son of an African father and a white American mother is authentically black.
Michelle Obama has listened to that talk many times before, even directed at her.
"I heard that growing up, 'You talk like a white girl,' " Obama told the Tribune on Friday in her first solo interview since her husband announced his candidacy for president in February. "There isn't one black person who doesn't understand that dynamic. That debate is about the pain that we still struggle with in this country, and Barack knows that more than anyone.
"One of the things I hope happens through our involvement in this campaign is that this country and this world sees yet another image of what it means to be black."
Her ability to speak with authority on such tough issues is one reason the campaign thinks she will be a potent weapon in its arsenal.
In modern politics, the marriage partnership is integral to the quest for the presidency, as voters evaluate a candidate in light of the relationship with his or her spouse. Bill Clinton offered himself and his wife as a two-for-one deal, something that came back to haunt them when he put his wife in charge of a health-care initiative that failed. Then there's the George and Laura Bush approach, with her more traditional role.
There's little doubt which of those models the Obamas would follow. "She's tough," Obama, 45, said of his wife after she spoke at the luncheon Monday that launched a new group, Women for Obama. "There's something about her that projects such honesty and strength. It's what makes her such an unbelievable professional, and partner, and mother, and wife."
Her career, though, can cause him political discomfort.
Critics have pointed out that her income has risen along with her husband's political ascent. She sits on the board of a food company that supplies Wal-Mart, which Sen. Obama has denounced for its labor practices.
And Michelle Obama is a vice president of The University of Chicago Medical Center, where one of her signature responsibilities is guiding low-income patients away from the emergency room and into primary care elsewhere. While South Side activists praise her program, Barack Obama's union supporters have been critical of the management of many large hospitals for how they deal with charity care for the poor.