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June 18, 2008

Michelle Obama Enjoys "The View:" A Recap

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Michelle Obama, wife of Senator Barack Obama and potential First Lady of the United States had her toughest test of the whole campaign this morning.  No, she didn't go on Fox News Channel.

She co-hosted "The View."

Here's a recap:

First the "important stuff."  Michelle---I'm going to call her Michelle, 'cause she and I are like this---wore a cute little sleeveless, summer black and white sheath and her hair and makeup looked modern and lovely.  She said she often uses a designer, Maria Pinto from Chicago and "It's fun to look pretty."

After she came out and was introduced by Whoopi Goldberg, Michelle made fun of the whole "terrorist fist bump" by fist bumping all the ladies around the table.  Heh.

She said she started doing it because of the young people on her staff.  It's considered a modern version of a "high five."  Actually, in my tennis playing circles, it's also supposed to represent "respect."

The first thing Michelle and the Gabby Girls talked about was the hits she's taken in the press, specifically over the "For the first time, I'm really proud of my country" quote."  They played a clip of the original quote and as Whoopi said, it's the "really" that changes the context of the quote.

Several of us at BlogHer talked about that months ago, the omission of the "really" part, but hey it's nice when the rest of the world catches up with the BlogHers.

What Michelle said said was:

"Of course I'm proud of my country.  Nowhere but in America could my story be possible."

"When I talked about it in my speech what I was talking about was having a pride in the political process."

Resident republican, Elisabeth Hasselbeck---and no, she and Michelle didn't come to blows---pointed out that current First Lady Laura Bush had sent a supportive note to Michelle after the whole incident. 

"I was touched by it.  That's what I like about Laura Bush.  Just calm, rational approach to these issues.  And I'm taking some cues. There's a reason why people like her.  It's because she doesn't sort of, fuel the fire."

Michelle said that she sent a thank you in return but the First Lady might not have gotten it yet.

Barbara then asked why Michelle felt that she was a target for so many attacks.  Michelle said that in today's 24 hour news cycle she "fills up some space," but she also realizes that it goes with the territory.

She said:

"I wear my heart on my sleeve.  When you put your heart out there, there's a level of passion that you feel, and it's a risk that you take.  One of the things I'm counting on is people will see through it.  I don't worry about it."

Whoopi then asked a great question about whether the country needs the equivalent of corporate diversity training.  She explained that her generation and that of Michelle's we're on the front lines when it came to even talking to white people on a daily/normal basis. 

Whoopi's overall point was we're all in new territory and we're going to have to listen to each other carefully so that we can understand where each side is coming from.

Michelle said shows like "The View" provided a great forum for straight talk about a variety of issues with a variety of women, but in general, "You can't have a diversity discussion with me being the only diversity."

When asked if she thought Hillary Clinton faced sexism in the coverage of her campaign, Michelle agreed that she had.  She also said that Hillary's campaign paved the way for the next generation of women:  she took a lot of hits that future girls and women won't have to.

"Do you think that Hillary should be your husband's running mate?"  Babs asked. 

Michelle didn't answer the question but she said about the decision making process on who will be Barack's running mate, "I'm just glad I will have nothing to do with it."

Whoopi then thanked Michelle for the very positive image of black womanhood she projects in public.  Whoopi said that was because:

"Anytime you see black folks on the news, particularly women, they have no teeth.  And the teeth that they have, have gold around them and they can't put a sentence together."

Now I know Whoopi's going to get some heat for that, but she's absolutely right.  If I can try to interpret for her, she's not saying all black women "have no teeth," etc.  What I think she's saying is the images that are selected for exposure, especially by the news media are black women "who have no teeth."

Something I didn't know:  Michelle is 5'11" tall.  That's much taller than I thought.  She and I are about the same height.  She also stopped wearing pantyhose years ago because they were "painful."  This came up because there's been an ongoing pantyhose discussion happening on "The View."

What can I say, sometimes they talk about "life and death" and sometimes "the pain of the pantyhose."

On the home front, Michelle then told a story about their oldest, ten year old Malia and how when asked what it was like for her to face the public at rallies and such, Malia said something to the effect:  "Those people aren't there to see me.  I'm just a kid.   I can't pass any laws to make anybody do anything.  I just wave and I smile and then I'm out of there."

Whoopi then complimented Michelle on what she called "the greatest Father Day speech ever" that Barack gave last Sunday.

Michelle made the point that she grew up with a Dad and Barack did not.  She thinks it's important to talk about "accountability" when it comes to families.  She also said it wasn't the first time he had given that speech.  It's a great speech and if you haven't seen it, you should.

More quick hits:

Michelle didn't want Barack to enter politics because she felt it was such a mean business, but eventually she was persuaded because she knew he'd make such a great leader.

Does Barack take out the garbage?  No.

Joy Behar wants Barack back on the show.  Michelle, I'd be careful because I think Joy has a crush on him.

When guest Matthew Broderick came out to plug his movies, "Finding Amanda" and "Diminished Capacity" he did the fist bump with the ladies also.

During "The Best Of Breakfast" segment with Sherri, Joy and guest Elizabeth Somer, it came out that Barack and Michelle both like bacon with their breakfast.  Not that fake tofu stuff either. The real stuff.  Hmmm, bacon.

And before you knew it the show was over.  I thought Michelle did a great job.  I thought she was very normal and natural and very much herself.  If and when she becomes First Lady, I'm pretty sure she'll be one of the best ones ever.


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