Michelle Obama rocks US bureaucracy with her star qualityMarch 5th, 2009 - 5:29 pm ICT by ANI
Washington, Mar.5 (ANI): A majority of the American bureaucracy views First Lady Michelle Obama as a person with star qualities.
Her dropping by federal agencies around Washington to give a pep talk and dispense hugs, has sent local Obamamania in only one direction: Up, reports the Christian Science Monitor.
Shes a star, and I thought it would be fun to see her, said EPA contract specialist Ross Mill as he waited for last Thursdays show.
A week after the inauguration, NPR commentator Juan Williams, speaking on Fox News, called her a potential liability to her husband. But, that has hardly stuck.
Of recent First Ladies, going back to Nancy Reagan, Michelle Obama has the highest initial favorable ratings.
A recent CBS News/New York Times poll shows her at 49 percent favorable, 5 percent unfavorable, and 44 percent undecided.
One aspect of Obamas post-election rollout is clear: She is no Hillary Clinton.
Though both are Ivy League-trained lawyers who came out of high-powered careers when their husbands were elected president, Obama has assiduously avoided the appearance of involvement in policy.
At one of her agency visits, referring to the administration as we, she quickly corrected herself.
Instead, Obama has cast herself as mom in chief, with her top priority getting her young daughters settled at school and into a routine.
She has also been fulfilling her promise to get out into the city, not only working her way through the agency visits, but also visiting schools, taking in cultural events, and inviting local students into the White House.
Going out to eat is also a regular feature of Obama world.
Shes had lunch with Washington Mayor Adrian Fenty at Georgia Browns, a favorite for upscale Southern comfort food with a diverse clientele. And shes gone out for burgers with her staff at Five Guys.
Theres a feel, though, that this is just Obamas opening act. At some point, the getting to know you phase will play out, and it may be that dipping into policy feels natural and maybe even not too risky. She was, after all, a top executive at a Chicago hospital.
During the campaign, Obama held regular womens roundtables, not only selling her husbands candidacy to voters but also providing feedback to his team. Before and after the election, she has paid special attention to the needs of military families.
One longtime observer of first ladies is surprised by how smoothly Obamas debut in office has gone given historic sensitivities to how presidents wives handle themselves.
She gets credit for boosting morale in agencies that have been maligned for years.
She has the most important ingredient, and thats authenticity. She knows herself well enough, you can see shes not being forced into any rote role or package.
She even seems comfortable in her role as fashion icon, gracing the covers of Vogue and People magazines and making the careers of obscure designers by wearing their creations.
She has also shown how inexpensive, off-the-rack fashions see J. Crew can work just as well during lean economic times.
Then there are her long, well-toned arms, and the decision to go sleeveless at her husbands speech to a joint session of Congress last month (in winter, no less!) and in her official White House portrait a striking shot of her in a black sheath and dual strand of pearls.
Since her debut as a national figure, Obama has been likened to a modern-day Jacqueline Kennedy, the last first lady to have such impact on matters of style. But in the end, Obama is herself. (ANI)
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