March 31st, 2009
06:01 AM ET
5 years ago

Mrs. Obama heads to Europe

 Michelle Obama embodies a new American brand -- diversity and accomplishment.
Michelle Obama embodies a new American brand - diversity and accomplishment.

(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.


Filed under: Michelle Obama
soundoff (108 Responses)
  1. Terry

    Michelle Obama seems to be creating herself as First Lady with surprising skill. She seems sincere - even really sincere instead of posing as sincere. (Ronald Reagan said, "Sincerity is the key. If you can fake that, you've got it made.)

    I am pleasantly surprised at her performance thus far, though the word "performance" suggests the pretense of a performer, who is just speaking lines to the audience. I think she sees herself as the Emoter-In-Chief, who helps us learn appreciation for the efforts of the Department of Education and learn to feel that it is important for Washington schools to succeed. This is an important role for her to play. Her husband can help us see what we have to do, and she can help us learn how to feel about it.

    Just a thought.

    March 30, 2009 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  2. Duh

    much more than hilaary will ever accomplish

    March 30, 2009 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  3. Rick

    She can go overseas with her husband and do what they both are doing, negotiating with europe to change America into the next socialist country and they might go ahead and sell our auto industry because all Obama has wanted to do is bankrupt our country and make everyone dependent on ther government. Its like another russia and obama is the dictator.

    March 30, 2009 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  4. Tom in Delaware

    "Michelle Obama embodies a new American brand — diversity and accomplishment."

    Don't leave out Affirmative Action and ingratitiousness.

    March 30, 2009 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  5. bca

    Go Michelle!! Show 'em your stuff, girlfriend!!!! :)

    March 30, 2009 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  6. yoyolite

    A new beginning for America. Mrs. Obama will make America proud.

    March 30, 2009 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  7. Joseph opiyo

    Keep it up first lady.

    March 30, 2009 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  8. Alfred E. Neumann

    " 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."

    Only on a liberal web site would you see such a foolish statement – rebranding of America.

    This is the same person who is "finally proud to be an American."
    This is the same person who was a devotee of Jeremiah Wright for over twenty years.

    March 30, 2009 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  9. Diversity and accomplishment! Wow!!!!!!!

    This is a breath of fresh air. No fist lady compares to Mrs. Obama. I am still in aew of her presence and her accomplishment. I am proud that she represents me in such a strong way. God bless her as she travels with her husband. I feel great knowing that her mother is caring for her precious girls and not strangers. I read her story on Oprah magazine and I love how she keeps her children grounded. She embodies diversity and accomplishment. What a woman of grace and intelligence.

    March 30, 2009 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  10. Helen, NY

    This is the biggest joke of the year. First time I feel we are in a third world country. First lady thinks that she is a beauty queen. What a disgrace. These people have not seen anything and they are in the white house. Imagine community organizer can become a President. This is his American dream.Then we have news media like CNN, MSNBC who want to publicize Barack's good behavior and big talks. Empty vessel makes too much noise.

    March 30, 2009 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  11. floridian

    "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 role of a mother is certainly critical, and I salute all mothers, but so is the need for a father/husband in the family and that needs to be emphasized even more. Hopefully her message does not miss that point.

    March 30, 2009 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  12. Barbara Campbell

    This sounds so condescending.

    The Obamas actually represent the Old and Forgotten face of America: of the People, by the People, for the People.

    March 30, 2009 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  13. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    How refreshing it will be for Europeans to listen to an eloquent lady give a speech versus a West Texas twit. Of course, the West Texas twit never went to Europe on her own, either!

    I never heard the word accomplishment around the last First Lady – that was forever a pipe dream after the brood grew up.

    March 30, 2009 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  14. jj

    She look gorgeous!

    March 30, 2009 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  15. Michael, Toronto Canada

    Just imagine where America will be had it allowed all of it citizens to live in a free and fair society which clearly was the whole idea of America to begin with. I'm sure glad America's destiny caught up with her before it was too late. We love America and may God bless America!!!

    March 30, 2009 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  16. mack

    Hopefully she stays...

    March 30, 2009 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  17. frances

    What will the first lady accomplish when she accompanies the husband?
    Lets wait and see. I know for a fact she will not disappoint.

    March 30, 2009 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  18. rd

    Mrs. Obama looks stunning in that picture. She is a positive role model for every girl, regardless of race.

    March 30, 2009 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  19. Finally...

    Finally a president I'm proud of. I used to cringe every time Bush spoke, especially overseas. The world expects our president to be thoughtful and intelligent.

    March 30, 2009 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  20. mharris

    This president can get this economy back on track with the
    help of his own party and the GOP.Everyone want him to fail
    to keep him from a second term and it sad to know how american
    government can turn on it's own just because of different party.
    This can work,we just need time because it taken 8years to
    create this mess and Obama only been president a little over
    2months.

    March 30, 2009 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  21. Proud American

    For once the world will see real Americans working to deal with the worlds issues. Thank God I don't have to watch another Republican Idiot and a photo op.

    March 30, 2009 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  22. Dr. Sarah Nelson

    'new face of america?' Mrs. Obama follows in the steps of many powerful accomplished black women. Dr. Rice was the FIRST 'new face of america' to represent diversity and accomplished. She was more powerful than the first lady and her accomplishments and power were not by virtue of marriage. Dr. Rice, negotiated with world leaders and set the agenda for our foreign policy.

    Your love for Michelle should at least include the obvious fact that Dr. Rice was the first 'new face of america' to represent powerful black women in american politics.

    March 30, 2009 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  23. selma

    They should do us a favor and stay there!

    March 31, 2009 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  24. Susan Creem

    Sounds like she's off and running. Lot's of free trips to Europe and other nice places. Next we'll be reading she has to take a government trip to St. Barths! Can't she stay home and not show "Thunder and Lightning" off so much and perhaps act more low key. I'd really like to say a lot more but PC prevents.

    March 31, 2009 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  25. vicki

    As a Ph.D. woman it thrills me to have Michelle represent all the women of the US but also the African American culture. It is a true pleasure to know she is speaking for all of us! I am once again thrilled to have our first family traveling abroad; unlike, the past 8 years when I cringed at the very thought. It feels good to know we are in good hands with the Obamas.

    March 31, 2009 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
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