Last week, the U.S. elected their first black president in the history, Barack Obama. His wife, Michelle, will also become the nation's first black first lady. Forty-four-year-old Michelle isn't of mixed race like her husband. She's an African-American through and through. Her descendants were brought to the U.S. with many other African slaves who toiled away on rice plantations in South Carolina for more than a century.
The American public kept a close eye on Michelle for 1.5 years. She was on television alongside her husband continuously. She also appeared on numerous talk shows and participated in meetings to support Barack election campaign. But nonetheless, Americans have yet to reach a uniform opinion about their newest first lady. Some believe that Michelle is an active, free-willed and even stringent woman — a maximalist who doesn't endure competition and thirsts to be an example for the general public. Those who are party to this opinion believe that she sees her family as a mere vent that allows her to relax far from the eyes of strangers. Others consider Michelle to be a truly kind, sincere and caring woman — and far from a proponent of radical social change. During Barack's presidential bid, they assert, Michelle tried to portray herself to the public as the reliable, take-charge spouse of a husband who symbolizes change.
The truth lies somewhere in the middle.
Michelle's words are Barack's actions
"I'm married to the man who solves all problems," Michelle once said, characterizing her husband's abilities on the political playing field, and taking on the role of the "genius' wife." As the record shows, though, Michelle was behind many of the political remedies that Barack proposed during his campaign. She is said to have personally woven a number of important passages into her husband's speeches that helped him to create the image of a trustworthy politician. Her slogans lifted crowds of Barack fans off their feet during his presidential bid, and many of these messages were geared specifically to black voters. One of her most noteworthy passages sounded as follows: "After the inauguration, I'll find places behind the executive table for the young people of color who are the same as I once was — where today we only have people who think the places belong to them by the right of being elected."
How remarkably Michelle handled her political opponent Hilary Clinton! She is given credit for the following phrase, which Barack addressed to his Democratic rival: "Everyone said Hilary was the only possible candidate. But that's a dead end. Nothing is changing in our strategy. She keeps repeating the same things without over and over again."
At the end of the day, it's unclear if Barack could stand so confidently at the political pulpit without such an intelligent wife. Not without due reason Michelle said, half-jokingly, early on in her husband's presidential bid: "Don't drop the ball, honey. You could change the world!"
Public opinion, though, shows Michelle may have overdone some things as she struggled with trying to bring Barack closer to the people. Maybe her jokes went over well somewhere in Harlem, but many Americans were simply shocked at their vulgarity. Well, okay, calling the president-to-be "honey" in public isn't that bad. It's a husband-wife thing. But why did she need to say that her husband "snores loudly" in public? That "his breath smells?" And "he throws his dirty socks around the house?" As the saying goes, though, victors aren't judged.
Credo: "Mother and practical woman"
In Barack's book, "The Audacity of Hope," the 44th U.S. president refers to his wife as: "My best friend, keeper of house and home, and the love of my life." Michelle's friends say the first lady isn't nearly as perky in her everyday life as on the political stage. They often say she longs for the "simpler world" in which she grew up, and admires women like her mother who stay at home and take care of the children. She can talk for hours about her favorite television show, "Sex and the City," or how she once made macaroni and cheese with Stevie Wonder.
Michelle does have one touchy subject, though — race relations. Behind the scenes, she allegedly refers to white Americans as "whities," and once called America a "wretched country" because the nation's peoples of color hardly make ends meet. After picking up on this fact, Barack's Republican opponents accused her of not being patriotic. But the attack backfired.
The latest first lady was once asked to describe herself in two words. She took a moment to think and then told reporters: "Mother and practical wife." "And what if your husband becomes president?" they asked. "Then I'll be a mother and practical first lady."
Michelle Obama to her husband, Barack: "Don't drop the ball, honey. You could change the world!" Part 2
Читать русскую версию: Мишель ОБАМА - мужу-президенту: «Не напортачь там, крошка. Ты можешь изменить этот мир!»