March 4th, 2010
03:33 PM ET
12 years ago

Michelle Obama on year one


Michelle Obama says that one year into her husband's presidency, the American people have finally gotten to know her. (PHOTO CREDIT: AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

Washington (CNN) - Michelle Obama says that one year into her husband's presidency, the American people have finally gotten to know her.

In an interview with Politico published Thursday, the first lady said, "As first lady, people see me more often, and they see me. They don't see a caricature of me; they don't see a sound bite of me; they see all of me."

After a grueling 2008 campaign, the first lady has focused on combating childhood obesity, an issue she says deserves top billing.

"The truth is, if one in three kids in this country are overweight or obese, and those numbers are double in the African-American and Hispanic communities, that's not just an inconsequential point. That is a key part of the issue, so it seemed to me a natural and important point to make; that's not a sidebar fact," Obama told Politico.

And just days after President Obama underwent a physical examination where it was recommended he stop smoking, the first lady said his struggle to quit is understandable.

"What the president struggles with is what every smoker struggles with, it's a difficult habit to break. It's understandable that he struggles with it. Do I want him to stop completely? Absolutely."

The first lady also weighed in on the recent departure of White House social secretary Desiree Rogers, who stepped down last week after a year on the job.

"You can't look back on this year and be disappointed. She's done a great job. She came into this with a shorter-term perspective. Leaving the corporate world, she was always sort of ambivalent," said Obama.

Filed under: Michelle Obama • President Obama
soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. Andy

    I do not have anymore use for her than I do for her Dictator wanna be wasteful spending self centered husband,THE O GREAT ONE & MEZZIAH Obumado.WHY MUST SHE HAVE MORE STAFF THAN ANY FIRST LADY IN HISTORY. I suspect pay back jobs for her Chicago hommies.Just wish she and hubby would go and not come back.

    March 4, 2010 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  2. ThinkAgain

    All these posters complaining that President Obama is recklessly spending, I ask you:

    Where was your concern when GW Bush irresponsibly cut taxes on the wealthy during wartime, something unprecedented in our nation's history?

    Did you fall for that old "tinkle-down" economic theory the Republicans love to talk about?

    Haven't you noticed that the wealthy take their money and invest it overseas, where labor is cheap and environmental protections don't exist?

    You obviously prefer spending money on war and giving it to the wealthy, in the hopes that they'll notice you and throw some your way.

    You obviously don't want like investing money in our country's infrastructure and people.

    You have seriously messed-up priorities!

    March 4, 2010 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  3. Justen in Florida

    she's better than clinton was, but not as good as either bush or reagan.

    At least she's learned to act like she likes america.

    March 4, 2010 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  4. Slider

    Ms. Obama can take her 'Trust Me' government solutions, along with her husband, and cram 'em.

    There are widely varying degrees of obesity, and there is no general concensus. Different body types; different builds; different people.

    But not for Lady Obama. Government can classify it all under one neat, and tidy bundle.

    The better to control people.

    Shove it, Michelle.

    March 4, 2010 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  5. Rebranding big time!

    Like with all marketing ploys (e.g., the Obama campaign), this woman has been cleverly rebranded. Sorry - didn't buy the Obama marketing ploy - don't buy this one, either!

    March 4, 2010 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  6. Michelle Obama Rules

    @ Kevin In Ohio

    Can you say hypocrite? Where was all this animosity under Bush's unfunded spending habits? Where was it???? So you became fiscally sane on 1/20/09 is what you're telling me. Stay off the Rush and Bachman.

    March 4, 2010 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  7. big papa

    The racist right wing (Republican) confederacy obviously doesn't like our President and his family...

    ...conservative confederates are so full of evil and hatred they can't even recognize their own dimunition as human beings...

    ...Decent, fair-minded Americans will ALWAYS remember how conservatives drove us to the brink of disaster...

    ...and the Obama Administration SAVED us from financial collapse...

    ...Thank you President and Mrs. Obama for loving America enough... save her for even those who are your (and our) enemies...

    March 4, 2010 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  8. Kitchen Police

    Hey Proud to be an American, take off your white sheet and put down the burning cross.

    March 4, 2010 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  9. Marie MD

    My best to our First Lady. They compliment each other so well and they have wonderful daughters.

    March 4, 2010 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  10. dale

    Reagan was told to like America by her psychic.

    March 4, 2010 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  11. Jake

    Send her,her 23 staff members,her husband,and his/her band of Chicago thugs back to Chicago.We do not need her/him/the thugs,or their liberal moron followers.

    March 4, 2010 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  12. Dano

    Michelle you a real class act. Congrats on completing year one – only 7 more to go!

    March 4, 2010 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  13. ThinkAgain

    "Andy" is repeating an email rumor he got from one of his right-wing, hateful, ignorant buddies about Michelle Obama having more staff than any other First Lady.

    If you'd bother do to a little research, you'd quickly learn our First Lady has about 22 staffers working for her, directly or indirectly, which is not unusual by any stretch of the imagination.

    Further research will show you that according to Anita McBride, Laura Bush's chief of staff, Mrs. Bush had between 24 and 26 by end of GW Bush's term in 2009.

    March 4, 2010 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  14. Claire Hanks Huxtable.

    Michele and Barack Obama are so good for America.

    She is the quintessential loving, supportive, smart wife that every executive craves. The fact that she and her husband are in their 40's instead of their 60's makes them a model of a marital partnership.

    In her ROLE as first lady ... it is not a position ... she had cleverly applied America's facination with her to put the spotlight on childhood obesity.

    In the process, she is forcing progress on a topic that will impact the lives of Americans favorably for DECADES to come.

    March 4, 2010 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  15. TCM

    give me a whiney liberals are falling all over yourself about Michelle Obama? The woman who was disbarred because of unethical conduct? The woman who sat in a racist church, hating whitey for 20 yrs....until she's finally proud of the US when her husband's swindled the country out of the presidency? Nah, the obamas being in the White House is the ultimate act of welfare; we need them in the White House about as much as we need this recession the liberals have caused....get a clue....

    March 4, 2010 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  16. JohnNC

    For the first time in her adult life Michelle is proud of her country. She said so herself.

    March 4, 2010 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  17. jm for sc

    Proud to be an american, don't waste your time feeling bad for minories, we are fine.

    Never used as much as you think as God's eyes are on the sparrow. It will come a time that people like you will feel sorry you have ever seen a minority as you put it.

    It is yourself you should feel sorry for.

    We are proud of our first lady as well as her husband. Get to know them by reading a little without your preconceived notions before you judge them.

    March 4, 2010 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  18. Proud to be an american

    Michelle Obama, King Barack, Valerie Jarret, Axelrod, Rahm. What do they all have in common? They are all chicago political mobsters. Chicago and Illinois are bankrupt because of these people and the dem machine. Shocker, they are doing this to the whole country now. You left wingers should read a history book............and get a phonics lesson.

    March 4, 2010 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  19. ThinkAgain

    "Rebranding big time!" just can’t handle the fact that America elected a Black man as president, so he believes that instead we were all somehow fooled.

    No, we woke up to the fact that Republican policies, particularly under Bush and Cheney, took our country into the toilet.

    We woke up and over the course of nearly two years of campaigning, listened to Barack Obama and realized that not only is he intelligent, he's hard-working, thoughtful, has the ability to grasp complicated subjects and is willing to put the welfare of our country first.

    President Obama was probably the most scrutinized presidential candidate that our nation has ever had. And yet, at the end of the day, he proved himself to be a man worthy of the presidency.

    To all those who can't accept this, GET OVER IT!

    March 4, 2010 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  20. TCM

    Jim for SC – why is it that minorities always have to point out the fact that they're minorities? Feeling alittle handicapped in the world? Japanese, Koreans, Indians, all other "minorities," manage to make their way....however, when it comes to blacks and hispanics...they always want a nanny napkin to wipe their nose because the big bad world just isn't fair!

    March 4, 2010 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  21. U.S. Army Veteran

    @ Proud to Be An American

    Your name sounds cool, but you probably never served this country a day in your life. I have!! Statements such as "But maybe they don't cover that on your welfare pamphlets?" in most cases can be viewed as derogatory statement. What do you mean by it? Your ignorance leaves you blind to that fact you are as unamerican as they come.

    March 4, 2010 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  22. Wake Up

    Serious question: why do you left wingers call people "racists", "hillbillies", or "hicks" or other stuff when all most of us oppose is BIG GOVERNMENT? We oppose government takeovers. We oppose bailouts. We oppose government ownership. How does this make us bad? We believe what is good in Illinois, may not be good in Florida. That is what the founders intended and what works.

    Why do you call us names? I don't get it.

    March 4, 2010 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  23. Cayce

    Why is it liberals can not spell or write complete sentences?Must be a lack of education!They are the reason Our Real President Bush enacted NoChild Left Behind-to educate the ignorant liberals.

    March 4, 2010 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  24. Hall for Obama

    The kids can't walk home because you have to many people walk around with sheets over their heads and shouting white power.

    March 4, 2010 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  25. TCM

    Think Again – playing the race card, eh? People could care less about his color, other than blacks playing the race card...the majority of Americans dislike Obama's anti-American, white-hating, controlling, nanny-wipe-your-nose policies....maybe you should put down your hope and change sign and try researching where he came from, what he believes in, and what further destruction he's planned for this country....liberalism is truly a disease. He's making it shameful to be successful, unless you become successful within the confines of his libs are in for a rude awakening when your tax bills skyrocket...yeah, so much for $250k and above...he's going to tax the hell out of all of us, and provide it to the slacking lazies...

    March 4, 2010 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
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