(CNN) – What can the First Lady accomplish when she accompanies her husband on his first trip to Europe? She can play a role in the re-branding of America.
President Obama has star power. We saw it when he traveled to Europe during the campaign. So does the first lady - when Michelle Obama accompanies her husband overseas this week, it's likely to double the wattage.
"I believe in this nation. And I believe in my husband," the first lady said in a recent interview on ABC's "Good Morning America."
President Obama remains a figure of hope to the world. But he is not immune from criticism, and his policies have been under attack abroad as well as at home.
"He talks about a large stimulus campaign by Americans. All of these steps, their combination and their permanency, is a way to hell," said Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek.
Some foreign leaders are resentful because the financial crisis that threatens to undermine the world economy started in the United States.
"It was a crisis that was created and spread throughout the world due to the irresponsible behavior of white people, blue-eyed people, that thought they knew everything but are now showing they knew nothing," said Brazilian President Lula da Silva.
President Obama's mission is to re-brand the United States as a force for change and hope in the world, just as John F. Kennedy once did. First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy was an important asset to JFK. Her charm and sophistication were a sensation overseas. Michelle Obama also embodies a new American brand - diversity and accomplishment.
While her schedule overseas has not been made public, CNN has learned that the first lady will venture out twice on her own. In London, Mrs. Obama will visit a school for underprivileged girls, many of them learning to speak English. She is likely to make a strong statement about women's rights, as she did recently when she brought together "Women of Courage" at the White House.
"The difference between a struggling family and a healthy one is often the presence of a strong woman or women at the center of that family," Mrs. Obama said.
The First Lady will also visit the Jewish quarter of Prague, which symbolizes the tragic history of a community that found success and influence in the United States.
An African-American First Lady will pay tribute to women and Jews. It's the new face of America.