Michelle Obama said Thursday that opposing the example Donald Trump sets is a question of "basic human decency."
As she rallied voters for Hillary Clinton in swing state New Hampshire, the first lady said the leaked 2005 video of Trump joking about groping women without consent has "shaken me to my core." She contended electing Trump would set a bad precedent for the United States and the world, slamming Trump's defense that his comments were just "locker room talk."
"This was not just a lewd conversation. This wasn't locker room banter. This was a powerful individual speaking freely and openly about sexually predatory behavior," Mrs. Obama said.
Trump said Thursday that new allegations that he inappropriately touched women without their consent are "totally and absolutely false" and he accused the news media for fabricating the stories.
The tape leaked this month set off chaos in Trump's presidential campaign, as he was widely condemned and some Republican lawmakers rushed to distance themselves from him. Trump has since unloaded on House Speaker Paul Ryan, his party's top elected official, as he falls deeper behind Clinton in recent polls.
Trump defended himself in Sunday night's second presidential debate, saying no one has more respect for women than he and denying he had ever acted on his leaked comments. But several women told news outlets this week that Trump touched them inappropriately in the past.
Trump has vigorously denied those allegations and even threatened to sue The New York Times over one report. CNBC has not independently confirmed any of those accusations.
Mrs. Obama on Thursday said concern about Trump's comments and behavior should extend beyond party lines.
"This isn't about politics. It's about basic human decency. It's about right and wrong," she said.
She contended that parents should be concerned about what four years of a Trump presidency would do their children.
Mrs. Obama's appeal to women in New Hampshire comes as Clinton has led Trump in recent polls of the state. She has averaged a 6-point lead in New Hampshire in a four-way race recently, according to RealClearPolitics.
New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan, a Democrat locked in a tight Senate race with incumbent Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte, introduced the first lady at the rally. The GOP aims to hold its majority in the Senate amid its spat with Trump, and Ayotte keeping her seat could prove crucial in that effort.