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The Meaning of Michelle Obama

By Nancy Gibbs and Michael Scherer

Time Magazine

It was just two days after the Inauguration when an e-mail went around to Michelle Obama’s staff, instructing everyone to be in the East Room of the White House at 3 that afternoon. The First Lady’s advisers arrived to find the room filled with ushers and plumbers, electricians and maids and kitchen crew gathered in a huge circle, and Michelle in a T shirt and ponytail, very casual and very much in charge.

“This is my team that came with me from Chicago,” Michelle said, pointing to her communications staff and policy people. “This is my team who works here already,” she went on, indicating the ring of veterans around the room. Many of the household staff had served for decades; some had postponed retirement because they wanted to serve an African-American President. And so the two groups formed concentric rings and spent the next hour or so making sure that everyone had a chance to meet everyone else. I want you to know that you won’t be judged based on whether they know your name, Michelle had warned her advisers. You’ll be judged based on whether you know theirs.

The White House became as much Michelle Obama’s stage as her husband’s even before she colored the fountains green for St. Patrick’s Day, or mixed the Truman china with the World’s Fair glasses at a state dinner, or installed beehives on the South Lawn, or turned the East Room into a jazz lounge for a night or sacrificed her first sock to the First Puppy. Of all the revelations of her first 100 days, the most striking was that she made it seem natural. She did not spend decades dreaming of this destination, and maybe that’s the secret. “I’m not supposed to be here,” she says again and again. And ever since she arrived, she has been asking, “What are the things that we can do differently here, the things that have never been done, the people who’ve never seen or experienced this White House?”

For the rest of the article visit Time

I never tire of seeing and reading about our First Lady.  The picture above is absolutely awe-striking.

A couple more pictures below.

—TRAVERS

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The European continent is having its first taste of President and Michelle Obama: The pair arrived in the French city of Strasbourg this morning, which is co-hosting a two-day NATO conference with the neighboring German city of Kehl. Obama is scheduled for one-on-one meetings with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel before the conference. At the conference, he will push allies to pledge more NATO troops to Afghanistan. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told The Times of London that NATO allies need to “take a hard look at what they believe is their highest and best contribution”. She added, “We’ll begin talking in specifics at the NATO summit in Strasbourg.”

SOURCES: The Daily Beast, The London Times

Even though Nicolas Sarkozy makes me cringe sometimes, his ex-supermodel wife Carla Bruni makes me smile.  But despite her disarmingly beautiful looks, I must admit that the first thing that caught my eye in the picture above was Mrs. Obama. 

Nevertheless, the two ladies in the middle of that photo create a beautifully neutralizing effect to what would’ve could’ve been an awkward photo given Sarkozy and President Obama’s recent disagreements.

More photos below and after the jump.

—Travers

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The most recent Gallup Poll indicates that Americans’ favorability rating of Michelle Obama is even higher than her husband’s.  According to the March 27-29 poll, the First Lady barely edges the President out with her 72% rating to his 69% rating. (Both of which are particularly high).

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Now, it’s not at all uncommon for the First Lady to have a higher favorability rating than the President.  In fact, while they were in the White House, both Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton were more popular than their husbands.  But what makes Mrs. Obama’s rating especially interesting is how far she’s come in the minds of the American people.  At one point during the presidential campaign people thought that she might actually be a hinderance to her husband being elected.  Check out the graph below to see how her favorability has progressed:

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It should also be noted that Presidential Favorability is different than Presidential Job Approval—favorability is likability, job approval is quite literal.  Either way, the Prez is doing well right now as has consistently ranked in the low 60s in the daily Gallup job approval poll since he took office. 

Thoughts?

 More pics of the Obama’s first trip to Europe after the jump.

—Travers

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“On AIG why did you wait days to express that outrage…it took you days to come public with Secretary Geithner and say ‘look, we’re outraged’—why did it take you so long?”—Ed Henry, CNN journalist

“It took us a couple of days because I like to know what I’m talking about before I speak.”—President Barack Obama

This was, by far, the highlight of last night’s press conference for me.  Ed Henry got owned.

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I’m taking bets now, though, that we’ll start noticing CNN’s news coverage of Obama become steadily—oh, how shall I put it—less “friendly.”  We’ll see.

Nevertheless, I think we should all follow the President’s lead on this one.

—-Travers

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This is Called Diplomacy

I had forgotten what diplomacy looked like…until this.

And I found this analysis article from the BBC entitled “What Obama’s Message to Iran Means” really insightful.  Here’s an excerpt:

President Barack Obama’s video message to Iran offering a “new beginning” is an imaginative start to his attempt to improve relations – but huge obstacles remain.

In diplomacy such efforts at overcoming major differences sometimes end simply in defining those differences more sharply.

These issues were not directly mentioned by Mr Obama but this is what he is referring to:

 

  • Iran to give up uranium enrichment and accept international offers to provide fuel for nuclear power
    • Iran to stop arming Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza
    • Iran to help in achieving peace in Afghanistan and Iraq
    • Iran to stop threatening Israel.

    Iran will want the following:

     

    • Acceptance of its right to enrich uranium
    • An end to UN sanctions
    • An end to US sanctions
    • An end to America’s “colonialist attitudes”.
  • We all know that Ahmadinejad  is known to act a fool, so I like Obama’s “kill ’em with kindness” approach.  And the Farsi at the end was a great touch. We’ll see how this plays out.

    —Travers

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    After a slight recession, the laughanomics factor of “The District” is finally rebounding.  It’s not the best episode, but I guess it’s like our economy—-it’s not going to rebound overnight. 🙂

    Enjoy,

    —-Travers

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    13

    If you ever wanted to know ANYTHING (or rather, anyone’s opinion) about First Lady Michelle Obama, you should look no further than the latest issue of New York Magazine

    The headline on the cover reads “The Power of Michelle Obama” and the issue has profiles of the First Lady from numerous authors with titles such as: “Regarding Michelle Obama: The Many Meanings of a New American Icon”, “The First Couple’s Sexual Politics” , “From Militant to Princess”, and “Her Body, Ourselves”.

    I’ve read most of the profiles in the issue, and while I LOOOOVE our new First Lady as much as much as the next Obama supporter, this issue didn’t sit totally well with me.  While some of the articles did Mrs. Obama justice, I feel that many of them were either overt drool fests, or were slightly offensive assesments that tried to cover up their poison cake with sweet icing.

    One of the things in particular that irked me was the Hillary Clinton bash fest that many of the articles turned out to be.  Granted, Secretary Clinton can be a polarizing figure, and was certainly one as First Lady,  but I admire and respect the hell out of her, and I think that the writers could have made their point about the greatness of Michelle Obama without dragging Hillary through the mud. 

    Additionally, I’m becoming increasingly weary of partisan, biased media coverage.  I’ve never been one to complain about the “liberal” (MSNBC) or “right wing” (FAUX, I mean FOX News) media—I just wouldn’t patronize those media outlets.  But there doesn’t seem to be much middle ground these days.  From television to the internet, and even the FEW papers that are still hanging on, there seems to be either an obvious bias against Democrats, President Obama, “progressive” ideology, etc., or (which in this political climate is certainly the case) an obvious bias towards the aforementioned.  Just like FOX News’ coverage of the Bush Administration was ultimately treacherous, biased coverage of the Obama Administration will serve as an equally disastrous injustice to the public.  I’m not saying that the media should do hatchet jobs, but can I get some objectivity?

    Sometimes I feel that media outlets like New York Magazine are just pimping the Obamas to sell their product, and once public opinion begins to change and the honeymoon ends (which will inevitably happen to some degree), they’ll turn on the President and First Lady just like they have on every other politician and their families.

    But media rant aside, you should keep reading to check out these artistic interpretations of First Lady Obama from New York  Magazine .

    Thoughts on any of this?

    —-Travers

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