In Chicago, first lady says she's proud of her background
July 18th, 2013
03:27 PM ET
1 year ago

In Chicago, first lady says she's proud of her background

Chicago (CNN) – Returning to her hometown Thursday, first lady Michelle Obama personally helped cap off a year-long education and employment program benefiting Chicago inner-city students.

Some of the high school seniors attending the event as part of the Urban Alliance Chicago program are from neighborhoods close to where the first lady herself was raised.

"That's one of the reasons as first lady I talk about my background," Obama told about 50 students. "Because I'm proud of it."

Obama used the event, which didn't veer off script and did not allow for any questions from the media, to offer support and advice to students who participated in paid internships and formal work training. She congratulated them for overcoming the obstacles and distractions many of them face while growing up in some of Chicago's toughest neighborhoods.

"Don't feel as if you have to change anything fundamentally about yourself" she told them.

She urged them to find support networks after finishing high school and moving on in life. She used her own experiences as an example, and sent the crowd into laughter on at least a couple occasions including when referring to her alma matter Princeton as "the most Ivy League of Ivy League schools."

She recounted one of her earliest memories attending college. "I met the granddaughter of the person who the dorm was named after and I was like 'really?!'"

"One of the reasons I applied there was because my brother was already there, and I knew I was smarter than him," she went on to tell the group of enthusiastic students. "The thing that got me through was finding my base of support there."

"Find your support system and know that can't do this yourself," she said.


Filed under: Illinois • Michelle Obama
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. john

    we all have a background is she proud of her country yet?

    July 18, 2013 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  2. Dean

    Only proud of the U.S. once it elected a black man to be president...she's racist.

    July 18, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  3. Luke,AZ

    My wife and I are so proud of you !

    July 18, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  4. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    john
    we all have a background is she proud of her country yet?
    --------------------------------------------
    Let me think....The Indian helped the Pilgrim & in return the Pilgrim killed him. You call it Thanksgiving. I call your Holiday "HellDay." Me as an African American, should I be proud of slavery, Jim Crow, a drug war & Prison Industrial Complex aimed at the African American community? Better yet, should YOU be proud of your country for invading other countries based on false pretenses and killing their people by the hundreds of thousands?

    July 18, 2013 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    "we all have a background is she proud of her country yet?"

    Could've set my freekin watch by that one. Yawn.

    July 18, 2013 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  6. ThinkAgain

    @john: "we all have a background is she proud of her country yet?"

    Give it a rest ... you upset yet over GW saying he didn't think about bin Laden or Cheney telling a Senator on the Senate floor to go eff himself?

    July 18, 2013 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    "is she proud of her country yet?"

    Swim little fishy, swim! Oh darn...you already took the bait. Nice job CNN. Way to focus selectively on one tiny quote from her speech in order to inflame division.

    July 18, 2013 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  8. Rick McDaniel

    So am I .......I had no hand outs from the government, and in spite of being dirt poor, I still earned BS and MS degrees. I didn't borrow any money from the government, or anyone else, either. I went to night school and worked full time, for 9 straight years.

    July 18, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  9. freedom

    But she's not proud of America – and feels like she's in prison being the first lady? To say those words publicly shows her lack of respect for the honor the American people have give her and her husband. Shameful and classless.

    July 18, 2013 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  10. Rudy NYC

    "In Chicago, first lady says she's proud of her background"
    ---------------
    I guess they moderators want some busy work. I'm not biting on the smart(?) retorts.

    July 18, 2013 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  11. Gurgyl

    One of two things must be true. Either the Democrats are unfathomable idiots, who ignorantly pursue ever more destructive policies despite decades of contrary evidence, or they understand the consequences of their actions and relentlessly carry on anyway because they somehow benefit.

    July 18, 2013 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  12. Sniffit

    "and feels like she's in prison being the first lady?"

    Did you miss the part where it was a sentiment also expressed (lightheartedly by both of them) by Laura Bush? Grow up.

    July 18, 2013 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  13. The Real Tom Paine

    -Rick McDaniel

    So am I .......I had no hand outs from the government, and in spite of being dirt poor, I still earned BS and MS degrees. I didn't borrow any money from the government, or anyone else, either. I went to night school and worked full time, for 9 straight years.
    **************************
    Interesting that we have similar experiences, yet yours left you obviously embittered. You claim you are proud of your country, yet the vast majority of your posts do not reflect the optimism and justifiable pride one would expect of someone who has succeeded, only the contempt that has festered towards anyone who did not tred the same path you did. I guess it takes all kinds to make a great country: too bad you don't feel the same way.

    July 18, 2013 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  14. The Real Tom Paine

    -freedom

    But she's not proud of America – and feels like she's in prison being the first lady? To say those words publicly shows her lack of respect for the honor the American people have give her and her husband. Shameful and classless.
    *****************
    No, she made comments about the White House being like a prison that are not unlike comments other First Ladies have made. And who are you to judge her on her feelings about being proud of America? My enduring image of the lack of respect the Right has for our country was rightie activists cheering when the bid from Chicago for the Olympics was rejected. Disgusting and pathetic.

    July 18, 2013 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  15. ????

    @Gurgyl
    One of two things must be true. Either the Democrats are unfathomable idiots, who ignorantly pursue ever more destructive policies despite decades of contrary evidence, or they understand the consequences of their actions and relentlessly carry on anyway because they somehow benefit.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    You mean kinda like Detroit?

    July 18, 2013 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  16. tom l.

    @Sniffit,
    "Swim little fishy, swim! Oh darn...you already took the bait. Nice job CNN. Way to focus selectively on one tiny quote from her speech in order to inflame division."

    You can be so adorable sometimes. So the articles on Cheney and Romeny yesterday didn't inflame any division, huh? Oh, and purposefully distorting his comment about the 47% didn't inflame division, huh? You are too cute.

    July 18, 2013 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  17. boungiorno

    sad world children dieing from pesticides from poor nation and we are concerned about background how about doing something for the healing of the nation that we are experiencing like it was senseless to spend 100 million on traveling when people are starving all over this continent what about the housing market every where i turn no one is sure of their future SICKNING

    July 18, 2013 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |