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Michelle Obama is not an angry black woman

Published time: January 11, 2012 18:25
Edited time: January 11, 2012 22:26
Washington: US First Lady Michelle Obama delivers toys and gifts donated by Executive Office staff to the Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots campaign at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington. (AFP Photo/Nicholas Kamm)

Washington: US First Lady Michelle Obama delivers toys and gifts donated by Executive Office staff to the Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots campaign at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington. (AFP Photo/Nicholas Kamm)

She already drew comparisons with Marie Antoinette and a new book portrays her in light as equally as harsh. But no matter what, Michelle Obama wants to make one thing clear: she is no “angry black woman.”

Speaking to CBS News, first lady Michelle Obama this week said that she has long been painted as an irritable, unlikeable second fiddle in the White House household. The release of New York Times’ staffer Jodi Kantor’s new tell-all from within the walls of the Washington mansion, The Obamas, does little to dismiss those charges. The first lady tells CBS that she has gotten into the habit of “not reading other people’s impressions of people,” but is still largely annoyed by the way the media makes her up to be.

“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,” said the first lady.

She added that no matter what she does, she expects that that will long be the case. "There will always be people who don't like me.”

And to cope? Mrs. Obama said she will continue "just trying to be me, and I just hope that over time, that people get to know me."

Kantor’s account in The Obamas introduces Michelle to the American public even as the first term of the administration enters a homestretch. In doing so, though, the author makes the first lady out to be a power-hungry force to be reckoned with from within the White House. In addition to being portrayed as a tense Pennsylvania Avenue tyrant that regularly would share words with former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and former press secretary and presidential adviser Robert Gibbs, elsewhere in the book Kantor details incidents from within the White House walls that the administration would surely wish to keep downplayed. As RT wrote of earlier, for example, October 2009 saw a star-studded Halloween theme party in their mansion that the couple threw only nine months into Obama’s term.

Since the Obamas entered the White House almost three years ago, the first lady has remained mostly behind the scenes. In the tabloids, however, Michelle has been made out to be an outrageous spender with a passion for expensive liquor and massively expensive vacations across the world. The first family’s reason jaunt to Hawaii was expected to cost American taxpayers around $4 million, a cost amplified by a first class roundtrip for Michelle and the daughters separate from the president’s own adventure. In a report earlier this year, a White House source told the National Enquirer magazine that the first lady has a tendency to down top-shelf vodka martinis on her flights and blew $400,000 in taxpayer money during a 2010 jaunt in Spain.

To CBS, Michelle Obama acknowledges her exceptional position, saying, "I love this job. It has been a privilege from day one."

In Kantor’s expose, though, Mrs. Obama is described as an “unrecognized force” in aiding her husband that has managed to exert herself behind a passive role as the president’s wife and become a commanding controller in the White House.

"I do care deeply about my husband," Mrs. Obama told CBS. "I am one of his biggest allies. I am one of his biggest confidants." She insisted, however, that she does not sit in meetings with her husband and overstep her role.