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Michelle Obama hits back against ‘hateful’ rhetoric

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US First Lady Michelle Obama gestures as she delivers a speech at the Centro Metropolitano de Diseno (Metropolitan Design Center) in Buenos Aires on March 23, 2016, where she met with Argentine First Lady Juliana Awada (out of frame). AFP PHOTO / JAVIER GONZALEZ TOLEDO / AFP / JAVIER GONZALEZ TOLEDO (Photo credit should read JAVIER GONZALEZ TOLEDO/AFP/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (CNN) — First lady Michelle Obama lauded diversity and immigration while shunning harmful political language during an event marking the Persian New Year Wednesday.

“Right now, when we’re hearing so much hateful and disturbing rhetoric, it is so important to remember that our diversity has been and will always be our greatest source of strength and pride here in the United States,” said Obama, who also highlighted her attempts to create an inclusive White House.

The first lady was speaking at an event marking Nowruz, a festival heralding the arrival of spring that’s celebrated in Iran and other parts of Central and Western Asia. She didn’t specifically reference the rancorous Republican primary contest, but she didn’t put forth an alternative example of harmful political rhetoric, either.

And in her remarks, Obama didn’t venture nearly as far as her husband has into the GOP race. President Barack Obama most recently commented on the fight Tuesday, saying Republican front-runner Donald Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz were causing harm to the United States.

He singled out Cruz for what he called “draconian” proposals on immigration, saying he’s faced queries from world leaders about the state of U.S. politics.

“I am getting questions constantly from foreign leaders about some of the wackier suggestions that are being made,” he said.

On Wednesday, Michelle Obama said she had made a point of opening the White House to a range of Americans, “especially folks who have never been through these doors before.”

“We think America is strongest when we recognize our many traditions. When we celebrate our diversity and when we lift each other up,” she said. “That’s most important right now, today, with everything that’s going on.”

This is the second year the White House has hosted a Nowruz celebration, though President Obama has issued videotaped greetings to those who celebrate the holiday in previous years of his administration.

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