FOR THE WEEK OF NOV. 17, 2008
'Mom-in-Chief' Michelle Obama brings fresh approach to new era at White House
Find a photo of Michelle Obama in a print edition or on the newspaper's website. List five words or phrases describing the image she reflects of America and of women.
Do articles and columns describe Michelle Obama mainly in terms of looks, fashions and her roles as wife and mother? Is anything missing or minimized?
Based on what you've read, what question or questions should reporters ask Mrs. Obama? What do you want to know?
Our country's incoming First Lady is a Harvard Law School graduate whose last job was as a high-level hospital executive in Chicago. Now, as Michelle Obama herself puts it, her main role for at least four years will be "Mom-in-Chief." Her priority in the White House will be daughters Sasha, 7, and Malia, 10, says the president-elect's wife.
"What Barack and I said when he started this run was we wanted to keep life as normal as possible for the girls," she explained recently. "I've built my schedule around the girls and their activities, so I'm there when they wake up in the morning and home in time to tuck them into bed at night."
On the more serious side, her policy interests involve helping working women do a better job juggling careers and motherhood, which she had to do as a University of Chicago Medical Center vice-president. She also wants to help military spouses and promote volunteerism. But she won't have a West Wing office and vows not to get involved with major initiatives, unlike Hillary Clinton during her husband's presidency.
Next First Lady says: "As a black girl from the South Side of Chicago, I'm not supposed to be here."
Friend says: "Having a seat at the table and being co-president is not something she's interested in doing." -- Valerie Jarrett, transition team member and longtime family friend
Commentator says: "At the point that her husband decided to run for president, Michelle was not working just to make ends meet. She had a career to which she was committed. . . . How will Michelle Obama feel as she becomes what she has long resisted -- an extension of her husband?" -- Rebecca Traister, writer for Salon.com
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