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Michelle: The Making of a First Lady -- long piece in Chicago Magazine

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Bozita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 09:11 PM
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Michelle: The Making of a First Lady -- long piece in Chicago Magazine /

The Making of a First Lady
Shes confident and levelheaded, and she carries the nurturing legacy of a close-knit South Shore family, an experience she wanted to re-create in her own home. After years of resenting her husbands political career, Michelle Obama found her voice and flashed her style on the road to the White House
(page 1 of 5)

The first Saturday after Barack Obama won the White House, his wife, Michelle (Miche to her pals), did what she had been doing most Saturdays for yearsjoined her friends Sandy Matthews and Yvonne Davila to take their daughters to ballet and soccer and later to a movie. Usually, they went to the California Pizza Kitchen on North Avenue for lunch, but this time Yvonne picked up sandwiches, and they ate in the car en route to see Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa. The friends had kept to their routine through the nearly two-year presidential campaign, so having the Secret Service in tail was nothing new.

It was a last burst of normalcy before the lives of Michelle, 45, and her daughters, Sasha, seven, and Malia, ten, would get turned upside down. But sticking to that prosaic Saturday routinejust four days after the Obama family celebrated a historic ascension before a thrilled audience of tens of thousands in Grant Park and millions more on TV worldwidesuggests something fundamental about the personality and style of the striking five-foot-eleven woman who was about to become the nations First Lady.

Colleagues and friends from every era of her life describe a woman of remarkable consistency in demeanor, looks, objectives, and habits. Michelle appears to differ very little today from the student I knew in college, said Derrick Burns, a friend at Princeton University. Much like now, Michelle did not seek the spotlight in college. When it was on her, she shone brightly.

Interviews with more than 50 acquaintances portray a South Sider passionately devoted to family, to hard work, and to doing goodand with a deep skepticism of electoral politics, an attitude that at times has caused strains in her marriage. Michelle is someone who relishes order and routineher husband has remarked on her strong perfectionist streakand the uncertainty of a political career has often conflicted with her desire for a generous family income and a big, comfortable home. Throughout her life, in school and at work, she has gone out of her way to help others, and Baracks ideals attracted her. She knew from the time she met him that he wanted to change the country and had his eyes on the presidency. But she wanted a husband who did pro bono work on the side of a lucrative legal career, who also helped with the children. (Michelle would not give an interview for this story.)

Dan Shomon, a top aide who traveled Illinois with Barack when he was a state senator and a U.S. Senate candidate, says that Barack called Michelle once after he had made a particularly rousing speech. Theyre drinking the juice, he told her enthusiastically. I feel like Im inspiring people.

She replied: You dont even have enough money to drink your own juice.


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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 09:16 PM
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1. This looks great; bookmarked. Thanks, and rec'd. nt
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my2sense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 10:02 PM
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2. Excellent article - thanks - K&R
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