Posted by Fullcouch on January 12, 2012, 8:35am
Michelle Obama, angry? Not at all. She’s only chock-full of resentment and contempt that just happens to spill over to you-know-who.
Independent U.K. – “A trouble-maker, me? An “angry black woman” who dislikes living in the White House, who’s constantly interfering in her husband’s official business, and who hates going out on the campaign trail with him? Not me, no way, Michelle Obama declared yesterday. But the very fact the questions were posed is testament to her influence.
If the First Lady is to be believed, she hasn’t so much as glanced at the controversial new book The Obamas by Jodi Kantor, a reporter for The New York Times. It is the first detailed behind-the-scenes look at the presidential couple, depicting Michelle as an unseen force in the administration, who clashes with aides and chafes at the constraints of life within a mansion once described by Harry Truman as “the crown jewel of the American penal system”.
“I never read these books,” Ms Obama told Gayle King of CBS in a rare interview, “I’ve just gotten in the habit of not reading other people’s impressions of people.” In truth, she said, “I love this job”. Of course, there were difficulties – most notably to ensure that “my girls [Malia and Sasha]” emerged unscathed from life in the White House fishbowl. Nonetheless, being First Lady had been “a privilege from day one”.
First Ladies are always influential. Some, like Hillary Clinton, who led Bill’s healthcare reform effort, and Rosalynn Carter, who used to attend Jimmy’s cabinet meetings, were virtually official advisers. Others, like Laura Bush, have been quiet and self-effacing. Most powerful of all probably was Nancy Reagan, who terrorised staff and used an astrologer to help shape Ronald’s schedule.
But the reason for their influence is the same: the “pillow talk” factor, the private time a First Lady spends with the most powerful man in the world.
Among her recent predecessors, Ms Obama perhaps most closely resembles Ms Clinton. But every First Lady has faced the challenge of preserving a modicum of family normality.
The book tells of tensions between Michelle and two of the President’s closest former advisers, Mr Obama’s first chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and Robert Gibbs, his first White House press secretary. Hear it from Ms Obama though, and she “never had a cross word” with Mr Emanuel. As for Mr Gibbs, he was “a good friend, and remains so”…