Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama (born January 17, 1964) is an American lawyer and writer. She is the wife of the 44th and current President of the United States, Barack Obama, and the first African-American First Lady of the United States. Raised on the South Side of Chicago, Obama attended Princeton University and Harvard Law School before returning to Chicago to work at the law firm Sidley Austin, where she met her future husband. Subsequently, she worked as part of the staff of Chicago mayor Richard M. Daley, and for the University of Chicago Medical Center.
Throughout 2007 and 2008, she helped campaign for her husband's presidential bid. She delivered a keynote address at the 2008 Democratic National Convention and also spoke at the 2012 Democratic National Convention. She is the mother of daughters Malia and Sasha. As the wife of a Senator, and later the First Lady, she has become a fashion icon and role model for women, and an advocate for poverty awareness, nutrition, and healthy eating.
Support of Barack Obama US House and Senate campaignsEdit
Although Obama has campaigned on her husband's behalf since early in his political career by handshaking and fund-raising, she did not relish the activity at first. When she campaigned during her husband's 2000 run for United States House of Representatives, her boss at the University of Chicago asked if there was any single thing about campaigning that she enjoyed; after some thought, she replied that visiting so many living rooms had given her some newdecorating ideas.
In February 2004, Michelle wrote a fundraising letter, to help her husband Barack raise funds for his US Senate campaign, in which she wrote that the federal ban on partial-birth abortion “is clearly unconstitutional” and “a flawed law.”
2008 Presidential campaign and electionEditOprah Winfrey joins the Obamas on the campaign trail, December 10, 2007The Obamas fist bump upon his winning the Democratic nomination.The Obamas, with Joe and Dr. Jill Biden at the August 23, 2008 Vice Presidential announcement inSpringfield, Illinois.Obama speaks at the 2008 Democratic convention
At first, Obama had reservations about her husband's presidential campaign, due to fears about a possible negative effect on their daughters. She says that she negotiated an agreement in which her husband was to give up smoking in exchange for her support of his decision to run. About her role in her husband's presidential campaign she has said: "My job is not a senior adviser."[ During the campaign, she has discussed race and education by using motherhood as a framework.
In May 2007, three months after her husband declared his presidential candidacy, she reduced her professional responsibilities by 80 percent to support his presidential campaign. Early in the campaign, she had limited involvement in which she traveled to political events only two days a week and traveled overnight only if their daughters could come along; by early February 2008 her participation had increased significantly, attending thirty-three events in eight days. She made several campaign appearances with Oprah Winfrey. She wrote her own stump speeches for her husband's presidential campaign and generally spoke without notes.
Throughout the campaign, some media often labeled her as an "angry black woman," and some web sites attempted to propagate this image,prompting her to respond: "Barack and I have been in the public eye for many years now, and we've developed a thick skin along the way. When you’re out campaigning, there will always be criticism. I just take it in stride, and at the end of the day, I know that it comes with the territory." By the time of the 2008 Democratic National Convention in August, media outlets observed that her presence on the campaign trail had grown softer than at the start of the race, focusing on soliciting concerns and empathizing with the audience rather than throwing down challenges to them, and giving interviews to shows like The View and publications like Ladies' Home Journal rather than appearing on news programs. The change was even reflected in her fashion choices, wearing more informal clothes in place of her previous designer pieces.The View appearance was partly intended to help soften her public image,and it was widely-covered in the press.
The presidential campaign was her first exposure to the national political scene; even before the field of Democratic candidates was narrowed to two, she was considered the least famous of the candidates' spouses. Early in the campaign, she told anecdotes about the Obama family life; however, as the press began to emphasize her sarcasm, she toned it down. New York Timesop-ed columnist Maureen Dowd wrote:I wince a bit when Michelle Obama chides her husband as a mere mortal – comic routine that rests on the presumption that we see him as a god ... But it may not be smart politics to mock him in a way that turns him from the glam JFK into the mundane Gerald Ford, toasting his own English muffin. If all Senator Obama is peddling is the Camelot mystique, why debunk this mystique?
On the first night of the 2008 Democratic National Convention, Craig Robinson introduced his younger sister.She delivered her speech, during which she sought to portray herself and her family as the embodiment of the American Dream. Obama said both she and her husband believed "that you work hard for what you want in life, that your word is your bond, and you do what you say you're going to do, that you treat people with dignity and respect, even if you don't know them, and even if you don't agree with them." She also emphasized loving her country, in response to criticism for her previous statements about feeling proud of her country for the first time. That keynote address was largely well received and drew mostly positive reviews. A Rasmussen Reports poll found that her favorability among Americans reached 55%.
On an October 6, 2008 broadcast, Larry King asked her if the American electorate was past the Bradley effect. She stated that her husband's achievement of the nomination was a fairly strong indicator that it was.The same night she also was interviewed by Jon Stewart on The Daily Show where she deflected criticism of her husband and his campaign. On Fox News' America's Pulse, E. D. Hill referred to the fist bump shared by the Obamas on the night that he clinched the Democratic presidential nomination as a "terrorist fist jab"; Hill was taken off air and the show itself was cancelled.
First Lady of the United StatesEditObama is greeted by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace, United Kingdom April 1, 2009Michelle Obama and Carla Bruni
Obama advocated of her husband's policy priorities by promoting bills that support it. Obama hosted a White House reception for women's rights advocates in celebration of the enactment of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 Pay equity law. She supported the economic stimulus bill in visits to the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development and United States Department of Education. Some observers looked favorably upon her legislative activities, while others said that she should be less involved in politics. According to her representatives, she intends to visit allUnited States Cabinet-level agencies in order to get acquainted with Washington.
On June 5, 2009, the White House announced that Michelle Obama was replacing her current chief of staff, Jackie Norris, with Susan Sher, a longtime friend and adviser. Norris became a senior adviser to the Corporation for National and Community Service.
Other initiatives of First Lady Michelle Obama included advocated on behalf of military families, helping working women balance career and family, encouraging national service, and promoting the arts and arts education. She supported military families and some Republicans.