Michelle Obama (1964- ) is the wife of Barack Obama, who, as I write this in 2008, is running to become the next American president. She is his first lady, the love of his life, his rock, his reality check – and “she’s fine.”
She has far more education and money than most of us – she went to Princeton and got her law degree from Harvard – but she is so down to earth that even white people feel like she is “one of our own”. Unlike the Clintons, who act like people on television and speak English in High Wonk, Michelle Obama says words like “Yay!” and “stuff”.
She sure looks the part of a first lady, the wife of a president: she is tall, dresses well and carries herself with dignity. Yet she is not stuck up. She believes in her husband completely and is good at getting audiences to feel the same way.
Reporters ask her what kind of first lady she would be: like Hillary Clinton or Laura Bush? That is like asking Jackie Kennedy in 1960 whether she would be like Eleanor Roosevelt or Mamie Eisenhower.
Unlike most first ladies her children are still little: in 2008 her two girls, Malia and Sasha, turn nine and seven. They come first for her.
She says that we will not see another man like Barack Obama in government in our lifetime. She says the time is now when he is still young and believes in his dreams.
She met him when she worked at the law firm Sidley Austin in Chicago. He worked there one summer while studying law.
He was not into the sort of law that Sidley Austin did, representing big companies, but he was into her. He kept asking her out, but she kept saying no. But in time her no became yes. Three years later they married.
The first time he kissed her she tasted like chocolate – she had just been eating ice cream.
What won her over more than anything was how he passed up good paying positions with law firms and instead went into the South Side, the poor black part of Chicago where she grew up, and showed people how to take the world as it is and make it more like the world as it should be.
First he wanted to become a senator. That turned her world upside down, she would not campaign for him, but she got him to promise not to uproot the family. So he would fly to Washington on Sunday night and come back to Chicago on Thursdays. “He can handle it.”
But no sooner was he senator then he wanted to run for president! She could not believe it. He promised to give up smoking and she came round in the end and even stopped working full-time: she saw it was his big chance to try to make the world a better place for everyone.
Unlike Colin Powell’s wife, she seems strangely unconcerned about him getting shot.