Jan 11, 2012



WASHINGTON -- First lady Michelle Obama is challenging assertions she's forcefully imposed her will on White House aides, saying she's tired of people portraying her as "some kind of angry black woman."

Mrs. Obama tells CBS News she hasn't read New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor's new book that characterizes her as a behind-the-scenes force in the Executive Mansion, whose strong views often draw her into conflict with President Barack Obama's top advisers.

"I never read these books," she told CBS's Gayle King in an interview broadcast Wednesday. "So I've just gotten in the habit of not reading other people's impressions of people."

In the book, Mrs. Obama is said to have occasionally bristled at some of the demands and constraints of life in the White House.

In the interview, Mrs. Obama said, "I love this job. It has been a privilege from day one."

"Now there are challenges," she added. "If there's any anxiety that I feel, it's because I want to make sure that my girls (Malia and Sasha) come out of this on the other end whole."

The Kantor book portrays a White House where tensions developed between Mrs. Obama and former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and former press secretary and presidential adviser Robert Gibbs. The book, titled "The Obamas," describes Mrs. Obama as having gone through an evolution from struggle to fulfillment in her role at the White House, while labeling her an "unrecognized force" in pursuing the president's goals. Neither the president nor his wife agreed to be interviewed for the book.

"I do care deeply about my husband," Mrs. Obama said in the CBS appearance. "I am one of his biggest allies. I am one of his biggest confidants." But she sought to put aside "this notion that I sit in meetings."

"I guess it's just more interesting to imagine this conflicted situation here," she said. "That's been an image people have tried to paint of me since the day Barack announced, that I'm some kind of angry black woman."

"There will always be people who don't like me," Mrs. Obama added, and said she could live with that.

Mrs. Obama said that she's "just trying to be me, and I just hope that over time, that people get to know me."

Asked specifically about an assertion of dissension between herself and Emanuel, now the mayor of Chicago, the first lady said she has "never had a cross word" with him. The same, she said, applies to Gibbs, whom she described as "a good friend, and remains so."

"I'm sure we could go day to day and find things people wished they didn't say to each other," Mrs., Obama said. "And that's why I don't read these books. ... It's a game, in so many ways, that doesn't fit. Who can write about what I feel? What third person can tell me what I feel?"

Mrs. Obama said that when questions or conflicts arise involving her and the White House staff, her East Wing staff resolves the issue with her husband's staff in the West Wing.

"If there's communication that needs to happen, it's between staffs," she said. "I don't have conversations with my husband's staff."

2 comments:

  1. I like to hear and read things first hand. The only book(s) about the Obamas that I want to read are the ones the Obams write themselves. For as long as we allow and promote these unauthorized biographies or these second and third-hand accounts where others can insert their opinions into the text, we are always going to have to battle with stereotypes and inaccuracies. What is worse is that the book is supposed to be about Mrs. Obama finding fulfillment in her role as First Lady. However, the author's premise was to show how she has evolved from what is depicted as an angry black woman, which she never was, to really embracing her role. The book is insulting on a number of fronts.

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  2. Who would waste their time reading that crap? Like Michelle said, these haters can write how she felt or tell her how to feel and she's not even talking to them. You can't say she's an angry Black woman and she's declined to even talk with you. Like these authors need to get a grip and these readers out here need to stop wasting their money and realize a get rich quick scheme when they see one.

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