Michelle Obama not an ‘angry black woman’ Published: 7:28AM Thursday January 12, 2012 Source: AAP / Reuters
US first lady Michelle Obama shot down any notion of infighting between her and the president’s top aides in a television interview today, downplaying her role and influence in the White House. Michelle Obama defended her role as one of dozens of advisers to President Barack Obama after the publication of The Obamas, a new book by New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor that paints the popular first lady as a tough political player.
“That’s been an image that people have tried to paint of me since, you know, the day Barack announced (he was running for president in 2008), that I’m some angry black woman,” Obama told CBS’s This Morning, adding that she hasn’t read the book.
Obama said she rarely steps into the West Wing, which houses the president’s office, and never sparred with either her husband’s former Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel or former Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. “I don’t have conversations with my husband’s staff,” she said. “I don’t go to meetings.”
According to Kantor’s book there was tension between the first lady and Gibbs, who worried about public missteps and reportedly cursed at her and spoke in less than flattering terms about her. Obama said Gibbs was a trusted adviser and remained a good friend.
“I’m sure that we could go day to day and find things people wish they didn’t say to each other,” she told CBS. “People stumble, people make mistakes, people every day – in families, in churches, in schools all over the country – they say things they don’t mean sometimes.”
Kantor has drawn some criticism for her book, which cites numerous sources but not any interviews with the Obamas themselves. Michele said she cares deeply for her husband but does not interfere and wants to put aside the notion that she sits in meetings. “I guess it’s just more interesting to imagine this conflicted situation here.”
“There will always be people who don’t like me,”Obama added, and said she could live with that.
“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.”
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Try pushing for Allodial property rights and abolishment of Eminent Domain in USA. It’s 3rd world everywhere and USA needs to set the pace, this action to popularise these 2 law change proposals will put the Obamas into history books for protection of property owners worldwide. Will be quite MLK-esque and worthy to write into law – even (especially) angrily! Make single property owners immune to foreclosures while at it, not allow banks to create more homeless families.
Michelle Obama has denied that she was “some angry black woman”, in an attempt to defuse a row over an explosive new book that alleges she clashed with her husband’s White House advisers.
By Jon Swaine 3:08PM GMT 11 Jan 2012
In a rare breakfast television appearance, the US First Lady played down reports that she had caused disputes with Barack Obama’s chief of staff and press secretary over his presidential agenda.
She said that while relations were harmonious between her and Mr Obama’s inner circle — which is widely described as dysfunctional — it was “more interesting to imagine this conflicted situation”.
“That’s been an image that people have tried to paint of me since the day Barack announced,” she said in an interview with CBS News. “That I’m some angry black woman.”
In ‘The Obamas’, which was released this week, author Jodi Kantor writes that Mrs Obama collided with Rahm Emanuel, the then-White House chief of staff, over her husband’s overhaul of health care.
With Mr Emanuel forced to frantically cut back-room deals to pass the landmark legislation through Congress in 2009, Mr Obama reportedly told aides that his wife “feels as if our rudder isn’t set right”.
Miss Kantor, a New York Times reporter, writes that Mr Emanuel reacted “with indignation” and let it be known to the media that he was unhappy with how the health care effort was being handled.
Robert Gibbs, Mr Obama’s then-press secretary, allegedly “cursed” Mrs Obama after she passed on criticisms of his response to reports that she had told Carla Bruni, wife of the French President Nicolas Sarkozy, that living in the White House was “hell”.
Mrs Obama is also portrayed as being reluctant to campaign in public for her husband, who suffered what he called a “shellacking” in the midterm Congressional elections in November 2010.
In her interview she admitted to being “one of his biggest confidantes” but said that “he has dozens of really smart people who surround him”.
“I am not an expert on most of the issues that he’s dealing with on a daily basis,” she said. “I want him — and he wants — to be talking to the people with the best information.
“That’s not to say that we don’t have discussions and conversations,” she added. “That’s not to say that my husband doesn’t know how I feel.”
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Try whoopi goldberg, Apprentice’s omarosa, Bill cosby or real life’s OJ Simpson etc..- they are painted into roles that are angry assertive or otherwise depicted as bums or vagrants (try Mission to Mars 2000 – first space vagrant ever depicted in the movies probably – is a black man, Pandorum 2009 – space cannibal vagrant, black AGAIN . . . endless numbers of blaxploitation etc..), blacks white washed as in ‘White Chicks’ 2004 (won’t even let the black T community remain black huh?) seemingly innocuous or fun but NLP type effects doubtless.
I’d not take anything about Michelle Obama being angry to heart (being in the WH as First Lady. whats to be angry about? Obama has 1 more term at most . . . it’s not a permanent dictatorship), or any black person for that matter – there is still overproliferation of negative stereotyping that who knows Michelle herself has fallen victim to in some sort of self fulfilling prophecy, the casual word or circumstance by crypto-racists within staff, etc. etc.. In such a position of power, this tarring (no pun intended) is to be expected.
Michelle Obama ‘clashed repeatedly’ with top White House aides and rebuked the president, new book reveals
A new book on the Obamas depicts an administration riven by in-fighting, withering criticism and strain on the First Couple’s marriage.
Michelle Obama ‘made it clear that she thought her husband needed a new team’ by Philip Sherwell, Manchester, New Hampshire 4:59PM GMT 07 Jan 2012
She may appear a charming, fashionable and diplomatic First Lady, steadfastly supporting her husband’s administration with a series of uncontroversial initiatives.
But while the White House machine likes to portray images of Michelle Obama tending her organic vegetable garden, or visiting the families of servicemen posted overseas, behind the scenes she has repeatedly clashed with the president’s top aides – with rows over everything from tactics on health care reform to her taste in designer clothes.
According to a much-anticipated new book, Barack Obama’s White House was plagued by feuds as his wife fought a pitched battle for what she perceived as the heart and soul of his presidency against his more pragmatic advisers in aftermath of the 2008 election – and in part succeeded.
In The Obamas, writer Jodi Kantor, a respected New York Times reporter, draws on interviews with 33 current and former White House insiders to depict an administration riven by in-fighting during its first two years.
Mrs Obama did not spare her husband from withering criticism and their marriage, although loving, suffered under the strains, Ms Kantor writes.
The First Lady fought pitched battles for influence with Rahm Emanuel, the president’s combative former chief of staff, and was corrected on protocol by Robert Gibbs when he was White House spokesman.
The president “who felt guilty about the sacrifices his wife was making, was unwilling to tell her what she could not do… so Gibbs took on the task”, the book discloses.
Mr Gibbs was forced to assume an “unenviable role” with Mrs Obama as an “internal enforcer of the rules of the political world, issuing a steady stream of warnings and No’s”.
He was dispatched to tell her that she could not tack a private holiday on to a state visit, lavish large sums on White House redecoration or spend heavily on designer outfits.
The book’s contents will be seized upon by critics of Mrs Obama who view her as a Lady Macbeth figure and a left-wing ideologue seeking to exert undue influence over her husband.
Ms Kantor’s account depicts the First Lady as fiercely protective and often frustrated by Washington as she fought a tug-of-war for her husband’s political and spiritual soul, against a pragmatic camp led by Mr Emanuel.
Even after her key campaigning role during the 2008 election, Mrs Obama was deeply ambivalent about her move to the White House and initially contemplated remaining in Chicago with the couple’s daughters while they finished their school term.
She lost an early battle when she tried to persuade her husband not to employ Mr Emanuel, a famously foul-mouthed Democratic operative with a reputation for political horse-trading and tirades littered with the “f word”.
And Mr Emanuel then rebuffed her request to join his morning staff meetings where the day’s agenda was shaped.
The biggest source of friction was over her husband’s attempts to pass health care reform, the signature policy of his first term. Mrs Obama was furious with his aides, most notably Mr Emanuel, who pressed for a heavily scaled-down compromise after the Democrats lost their Senate “super-majority”.
She also turned her fire on Mr Obama. “She feels as if our rudder isn’t set right,” the president later told his aides, according to the book. “They had the sense that was not the actual language she had used.”
Mr Obama eventually sided with his wife and refused to scale back further a reform package that had already been watered down. The president “rejected his chief of staff’s vision of the presidency… and instead pursued one more in line with the one he shared with the First Lady”, Kantor writes.
Mrs Obama “made it clear that she thought her husband needed a new team”. Indirectly, she won that battle too.
The president rejected Mr Emanuel’s first offer to resign after he was identified as the source of a series of leaks portraying him as the man who was holding together a fraying administration.
But he later quit to run in – and win – the mayoral election in Chicago. Mr Gibbs also stepped down two years into the administration.
The White House responded disdainfully to excerpts of the book, which will be published on Tuesday.
“This is the author’s take, reflecting her own opinions, on a remarkably strong relationship between the President and First Lady – both of whom share an unwavering commitment to each other, and to improving the lives of Americans,” White House spokesman Eric Schultz said in a statement.
“The book, an over-dramatisation of old news, is about a relationship between two people whom the author has not spoken to in years. The author last interviewed the Obamas in 2009 for a magazine piece. These second-hand accounts are staples of every administration in modern political history and often exaggerated.”
Those accounts include how she fired off emails to Valerie Jarrett, a long-time Obama lieutenant, with complaints about news coverage. Miss Jarrett would forward the messages to others after removing the First Lady’s name from them.
And when she could not find a slot in her husband’s schedule, she dispatched angry emails to Alyssa Mastromonaco, the president’s director of scheduling. Those messages “were so stern that Mastromonaco showed them around to colleagues, unsure of how to respond to her boss’s wife’s displeasure,” Kantor says.
She had entered the White House intent on importing decor and entertainment that would display a level of sophistication that would not allow criticism that the nation’s first African-American presidency lacked class.
But Obama advisers feared that her plans would appear ostentatious at a time when the US economy was in the doldrums.
Her office became so isolated that her aides there began referring to her base in the East Wing as the small US Pacific island territory of “Guam – pleasant but powerless”, the writer continues.
Eventually the First Lady, a Harvard Law School graduate who gave up a senior hospital executive position to campaign for her husband, accepted a more diminished role and pursued initiatives on healthy eating and education. But allies expect that she will play a far fiercer part in her husband’s campaign this year to be re-elected.
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To Mr.Gibbs :
Please note paragraph 8 where the article goes : Mr Gibbs was forced to assume an “unenviable role” with Mrs Obama as an “internal enforcer of the rules of the political world, issuing a steady stream of warnings and No’s”.
Would Mr.Gibbs or anyone working for/with Mr.Gibbs be kind enough to make a list of the following ‘steady stream’ so that those living in the 3rd world regions can be made familiar with the inappropriateness of nepotism, limitless terms and learn the difference between mob-rule and democracy?