Michelle Obama Courts Media in Race for First Lady

What Everyone Is Talking About

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Well, now that it's clear the U.S. presidential race is between two men, the campaign for who will be the first lady has begun. The wife of presumptive nominee Barack Obama was out in full force, storming the gatekeepers to the half of the country with wombs. First there was the cover of Us Weekly, and then she showed up as a co-host on ABC's "The View." The New York Times took these two events to point out that the campaign is anxious to "soften" Michelle Obama's image. If that's the case, the Us Weekly story certainly didn't hurt. It boasted the cover line "Michelle Obama: Why Barack Loves Her. She shops at Target, loved 'Sex and the City' and never misses the girls' recitals."
Michelle Obama on 'The View'
Michelle Obama on 'The View' Credit: Steve Fenn

The article emphasizes her role as a wife and mom, rather than as a political partner or career woman. "Nothing is more important to Michelle than being a good mother," the Democratic presidential candidate told Us Weekly. "She works every day to instill in our girls the same values we were raised with." There's also assurance from a longtime pal that Michelle is "not the least bit interested in being co-president or participating in policy decisions. That's not her cup of tea. Her first priority as first lady would be that the girls are OK, and to continue to be the outstanding mother that she is." The article also notes how she put her career on hold: "She left a demanding $273,618-a-year job as a VP at the University of Chicago Hospitals to support her husband on the campaign." It goes on to note that she does only one overnight a week so she can be home with their two daughters.

"The View" did its part as well. Michelle started the show with a "fist bump" for each of the women and then self-deprecatingly explained that she is not that hip; her young staff taught her the "new high five." She went on to talk about her humble working-class roots, holding down the home front during the campaign and how she sees her first role as that of a mother. When asked if Hillary Clinton would be her husband's running mate, she noted how glad she was that it wasn't her decision and that she didn't want to have any part in it. She did give a peek into how she feels about how the media covers women, saying, "People aren't used to strong women; we don't know how to talk about them," in a nod to what a narrow tightrope women and wives in politics have to walk. Asked what advice Barack had given her about appearing on "The View," she said, "Be good."
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