Michelle Obama: 2012 election is about ‘who we are as a country'

First lady Michelle Obama attended a fundraiser in Tucson, Ariz., on Monday, making the case that the 2012 election would be a referendum on "who we are as a country."

"This November ... we are going to make a choice that will impact our lives for decades to come," said Mrs. Obama to 400 supporters at the Tucson Convention Center. 

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Her remarks at the event, part of a swing through four battleground states in the West, mirrored the president's calls for economic equality, addressing middle-class tax relief, efforts to aid students with loans and closing the gender pay gap.

“Make no mistake about it. Whether it’s healthcare, the economy, education, foreign policy, the choice we make will determine nothing less than who we are as a country, but more importantly who do we want to be," Obama said.

"Will we be a country where opportunity is limited to just a few at the top? Who are we? Or will we be a place where if you work hard, you can get ahead no matter who you are or how you started out?" said continued.  

"Who do we want to be?  Will we tell folks who have done everything right but are struggling just a little bit, are we going to look them in the eye and say, 'Tough luck, you’re on your own?' "  

Obama also rallied supporters with the campaign's new slogan, telling them "to keep moving forward."

On Monday, the campaign released a Web video touting the president's economic policies and teasing a new slogan: "Forward."

Arizona is a crucial swing state. A poll from the Behavior Research Center released last month showed President Obama with a 2-point edge, ahead of Romney 42 to 40 percent among likely voters.

At the event, the first lady also praised former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), who stepped down from office to continue her recovery after her 2011 shooting at a constituent event.

Giffords's mother, Gloria Giffords, was in attendance. 

"We are thrilled to have Gloria Giffords here with us this evening," said Obama. "She knows how proud we are of her daughter." 

Obama also praised Giffords's former aide Ron Barber, who is running to fill Giffords's seat, telling the audience he is "going to do a fantastic job" in Washington.