a ‘normal’ life

Newsweek: Michelle Obama refuses to be a political show pony or schmooze with Washington’s elite. She has her own sense of where her energies should be deployed and has constructed a fruitful life inside the bubble. All that will have to change in the heat of Election 2012.

The most recognizable woman in the world routinely ducks reporters to have what she calls a “normal” life. Hiding beneath a baseball cap, the first lady of the United States has picked through sale racks in the frenetic Tysons Corner, Va., mall with girlfriends, bought supplies for her dog at Petco using her own credit card, and dined at some of D.C.’s hippest eateries largely unrecognized….…she has figured out ways to navigate the bubble while channeling her own passions and holding on to her life.

…She must once again find her footing in the part of the job she hates the most – campaigning – but one she happens to excel at. “She has always been remarkably effective because no matter where you live or where you come from, you can relate to her,” says White House official Stephanie Cutter, who worked closely with Michelle in 2008. “She conveys the same set of values and experiences families all over the country live by.”

….on a personal note, her closest aides confide that there is one place in D.C. that she has been desperate to visit for another taste of life outside the White House – but so far it has not been possible. “She really wants to go to Target,” says one confidante. “We have to make that happen.”

Full article here

63 Responses to “a ‘normal’ life”

  1. 1 Doris
    June 6, 2011 at 11:43 am

    Lovely woman inside and out. Our country is blessed to have her as our First Lady.

  2. 2 LYNN
    June 6, 2011 at 11:51 am


    • 3 Dorothy Rissman
      June 6, 2011 at 1:20 pm

      I was going to say the same thing. It is a beautiful photograph of a beautiful woman.

  3. 4 StR
    June 6, 2011 at 11:52 am

    Stunning picture, and an even better article. She’s much more visible than Laura or Barbara Bush were. Hillary Clinton was much more political.

  4. 5 theo67
    June 6, 2011 at 11:55 am

    She’s so real, so genuine, so authentic. Lovely! I’m glad she’s living her life, and still managing to do normal things.

  5. 6 meta
    June 6, 2011 at 11:57 am

    LOVE FLOTUS. She is an extraordinary wife, mother, daughter, sister, First Lady. We are incredibly fortunate to have her as a role model for all of us. Everything she does is with the best of intentions and the highest goals. Her intelligence, compassion, humor and beauty are an incredible gift. I know she will go down in history as one of the finest First Ladies to ever serve this country. GO FLOTUS!!

    I heard we are going to get a Target store here in San Francisco so in time I’ll be able to explore the whole Target thing.

  6. 9 mtmarilyn
    June 6, 2011 at 11:58 am

    She is the glue that holds our great President together. She keeps the family life normal for all of them. I so admire her. She has a strength that is unlimited. I thank her mother and father for how they brought her up. It is a blessing to all of us.

  7. 10 GGail
    June 6, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    I greatly admire First Lady Michelle Obama. Thanks Chipsticks for sharing this warm article.

  8. 11 collegekay
    June 6, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    This has to be one of the best photos I’ve seen of her. Beautiful!

  9. 12 PoliticalJunkessa
    June 6, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    WOW! That must be one of the most gorgeous photos I’ve ever seen of FLOTUS — and that’s saying a lot. *stares*

    Do you have any info on the pic — photographer/when taken?

    Thanks for linking this article, Chips.

  10. 13 zizi
    June 6, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    And what’s with the political wives complaining that they were only invited by alphabetical considerations? That Laura Bush was warmer because she took some exclusive group of wives upstairs to show them the Lincoln bedroom?

    These people are just petty! They want to belong to some fangled “Obama inner circle”. talk about craving to be hangers on or belong to some high society privileged group. It is downright pathetic!

    • June 6, 2011 at 12:43 pm

      That was the ‘laugh out loud’ moment in the article, Zizi – I’d love to see the list of those who complained, I can just imagine 🙄

      • 15 zizi
        June 6, 2011 at 12:52 pm

        I tells ya. The beltway political wives and female pundits like Sally Quinn (who loudly complained about “a different sort of guest mix to the White House than traditionally was the case” ,) are downright shallow and simply jealous.

        • 16 anniebella
          June 6, 2011 at 1:33 pm

          Maybe they wanted Michelle to take them up stairs and for her to show them where she and Barack,and the girls sleep,maybe they would have felt more welcome. B.S. upstairs is the Obamas home and I don’t blame her for not taking any of those petty wives up there.

          • 17 HZ
            June 7, 2011 at 1:10 am

            I am so happy that she has chosen the wise thing in that she does not follow the mold that these ‘ole wives of Washington’ seem to think that she should be taking. She is the Peoples First Lady. I like that about her. She is not one to be doing what the others have done in the past. I like that about her. She is making her presence as First Lady, her rendition of what she wants it to be in our history. I get so tired of these selfish ladies trying to tell Mrs. Michelle R. Obama how to be First Lady. ENOUGH. You go our beautiful, warm, intelligent, caring, fit, and lovely First Lady.

        • 18 isonprize
          June 6, 2011 at 3:33 pm

          And since this is a different sort of President and First Lady, WHAT IS WRONG WITH THAT?? Is it that the guest list reflects America? Is it that the guest list isn’t just rich folk, secluded from real life, riding in limousines, calling their nannies to pick up the children?

          What, I wonder, WHAT, exactly, is a ‘different sort of guest mix’…hmmmmm? Sally needs to go sit down somewhere with a steaming hot cup of STFU.

    • 21 collegekay
      June 6, 2011 at 12:53 pm

      I was definitely side-eying that part of the article. These “Washington wives” will find anything to complain about. FLOTUS has said from jump that she wants her private life and public life semi-separate.

      • 22 zizi
        June 6, 2011 at 12:58 pm

        It was the same drumbeat they used to get Desiree Rogers out of the Social Secretary role. You know, they can’t quite wrap their pea brains around the fact that “those” people from the “wrong side of the tracks” are now the movers and shakers of Washington DC who could care less about the feewings of the blue-blooded permaGov class.

        What got their dander up was the Obamas preference for the youth from the non-elite Washington to visit the White House. They ankle-bit the whole social set up in the White House that they had to make things more bland to quiet things down. Talk about cattish women!

        • 23 DreamChaser57
          June 6, 2011 at 4:12 pm

          I felt that some of the scathing criticism Ms. Rogers received was truly unwarranted and unnecessarily vicious. Ms. Rogers truly revolutionized the social scene of the White House and was a visionary. Still, with all that being said I think that Newsweek’s characterization of Ms. Rogers’ is telling, her profile became higher than FLOTUS and that is why she was dismissed. I personally find the FLOTUS a much more intriguing, transparent and genuine personality. I think Ms. Roger’s enjoyed the limelight a little too much. I’ve organized corporate events before, admittedly not on the same scale but I was constantly moving. I think with the crasher fiasco, she should have been outside manning the table. I also don’t think that she afforded Michelle Obama the appropriate amount of respect in public. You may be personal friends with FLOTUS, but casually referring to her as Michelle in public circles does not sit well with me. Ms. Rogers has since moved onto Chicago to head up the fledging iconic publications Ebony/Jet, print media is really struggling, I don’t see her in the news as much at all. Of course with all that being said, I don’t exactly know what when on behind the scenes.

          • 24 Eleroy
            June 6, 2011 at 9:46 pm

            I totally agree with you Dream!!! Ms Rogers failed to impress me!!! She got so caught up in her own hype and self-importance, she completely lost sight of what her role was!!! And now she’s cozying up to Oscar de la Renta – Mrs obama’s nemesis ugh!!!

            She was so desperate for validation and to take credit she ended devaluing herself and her contributions!!!

            If only she understood that sometimes, the quiet, mysterious person behind the scenes is a more intriguing and powerful picture than the one who forces herself upon others and insists they take notice!!!

            She could have played this much smarter and at the end of President Obama’s 2nd term, would have been a much sought after and very influential player— but she couldn’t wait that long!!!

            I was especially shocked to read interviews granted by some of Ms Rogers’ friends who claimed to speak on her behalf. They went on about how Desiree belonged to a higher social set than the Obamas and how all of that shallow crap!!! begs the question, why take the job if you think it’s beneath you!!!

    • 25 africa
      June 6, 2011 at 12:56 pm

      They thrive on phoniness, and that, the Obamas are not. These people are genuine and true to themselves. That line got a major eye roll from me, Zizi.

      How needy? LOL!!

    • June 6, 2011 at 4:01 pm

      Its the same complaints for the president.

      • 28 Eleroy
        June 6, 2011 at 9:59 pm

        Yeah, I heard that Bloomberg was bitching about President Obama not inviting them over for dinner parties in the private residence and to golf games!!!

        Sad that this is what it takes to get so-called patriots to rally around their President and work hard to put our country back together again!!!

    • 29 Eleroy
      June 6, 2011 at 11:56 pm

      Not hard to figure who the Dem. congressman’s wife who went “with the K’s” might be!!!

      Mrs Kucinich perhaps? I spied a picture of her at an event with Mrs Obama and she had this gossipy, removed look about her even though Mrs Obama tried to be friendly. These are the folks who want to go upstairs to see how the Obamas live. Another topic for gossip!!! If Laura Bush has taken them upstairs already, why do they need to go back up there?? Seen it once before – should be good enough!!!

      But frankly, I hated this innuendo filled sly, gossipy article with all its leveraged right wing talking points “Michelle’s staff of 22” indeed!!!

      Tina Brown the new maven of Newsweek/Daily Beast is a sour, conniving bitch!!!

  11. 30 AJ
    June 6, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    Wonderful article, fabulous picture, but…err….”Miriam Robinson”? Did Mrs. R change her first name while we weren’t looking? 😉

    • 31 isonprize
      June 6, 2011 at 3:50 pm

      Her first name is Marian, isn’t it? But then, I’ve also seen pictures where whoever wrote the captions has mistaken Malia for Sasha (which in my mind, is kinda tough to do, since Malia is almost as tall as Mrs. O! 🙂 What beautiful girls!!)

  12. 32 Dakota
    June 6, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    Co-signing…what a beautiful photo of the FLOTUS. If not the best, absolutely one of her best!

  13. 33 meta
    June 6, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    FLOTUS is coming to the Bay Area to fundraise for POTUS and Alice Waters of Chez Panisse is hosting her!!!!


  14. 34 Sue in Minnesota
    June 6, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    Gorgeous and real. We are truly blessed by the gifts and generosity of Michelle Obama. In tandem POTUS and FLOTUS are as good as it gets.

    The Washington elites have exposed the petty, impertinent qualities, get over yourself girls. I prefer to align myself with the higher purpose and intentions of the Obama’s.

    This photo is truly eye popping beautiful, and IMO an honest reflection of the depth of Michelle’s beautiful character.

  15. June 6, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    Great article,Sticks,truly enjoyed reading it, ThanX. I love Mrs. Obama’s strong individualism and how, from the beginning, she completely captured our President’s heart. When he brought her those gloves shows she is ever present on his mind even with the smallest gift. The well-thought out “small” gifts tells you how your man feels about your relationship with him.

  16. 38 virginia
    June 6, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    Good to know she goes to Tysons Corner. I go there quite often, wish I knew whether she goes to Tysons I or Tysons II, and which stores??? I also love Target. I’ll keep my eyes open from now on!! But I guess that would defeat her purpose. (I’d be discrete–I promise.)

  17. 39 anniebella
    June 6, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    I love that picture of FLOTUS. I need it so I could put it in my book I have of her and POTUS.

  18. 41 Debz
    June 6, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    That is one gorgeous photo! I love how FLOTUS is keeping it real, shopping at the mall and spending time with friends. She is what keeps our POTUS grounded. As for the catty “Washington Wives”, who needs them they are just jealous.

  19. 42 rikyrah
    June 6, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    FLOTUS has better things to do than to be kissing up to the Washington, D.C. Press Corps.

  20. June 6, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    A sincere note to the FLOTUS: Regarding a proposed trip to Target Stores I’m Fwding A message from Common Cause> We are trying to take action and tell Target: Our Democracy is not for sale. We will be delivering petitions at the shareholders’ meeting in Pittsburgh on June 8, and will keep you informed about the next steps in this important fight. If anyone wishes to take part in the movement on June 8? Please Sign Up to help us deliver this message to Target: http://www.commoncause.org/target.

    • 44 Sue in Minnesota
      June 6, 2011 at 4:41 pm

      Our household has rejected Target. I didn’t want to tell others what to do. Hopefully they will be open to informing themselves beyond the surface, because superficially Target is a great store to shop at. Living in Minnesota when the Ceo of Target donated large amounts of money to the Republican (extreme and homephobic) candidate we began to look at our shopping choices more critically. Target is a spit shined Wal-Mart. Of course sometimes our personal economies, and retail options do not leave us many options. Again, not telling anyone what to do just urging them to be informed consumers.

      Alberto Escalante I am on your team. Off to sign the petition.

      • 45 Sue in Minnesota
        June 6, 2011 at 4:52 pm

        I am not able to participate in the protest. But I support the essential cause. Corporations have to be brought into a more balanced positon of influence. Corporations can not be allowed to become bigger, more powerful, and capable of asserting more influence than our government.

  21. 46 P
    June 6, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    I just love this lady!!! This is the type of chic I want rolling with me. Mrs O whenever you need a girlfriend gimme a call darling we can shop at target together and that picture I think I will agree with everyone it’s one of her best photo if not the best!!!! Best FLOTUS ever!!!!

    June 6, 2011 at 3:58 pm


  23. 49 Debz
    June 6, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    One of the bothersome things in the article is someone complaining that FLOTUS only “works” 2 – 3 days a week, they do realize that the woman doesn’t get paid, don’t they. Also, too, why shouldn’t she hide from the press, she’s not an elected official and doesn’t need them in her business.

    • 50 DreamChaser57
      June 6, 2011 at 4:41 pm

      Good point! I completely agree. Also, that role can be incredibly exhausting and unforgiving. So much scrutiny. It’s hard to probably figure out who your true friends are and do they have your best interests at heart? Although, Mrs. Obama seems to be very perceptive and intelligent that could be why she keeps her circle so small. Time is the most precious resource we all have, you have to resist and protect it. People always want to put demands on your time and energy.

      • 51 Luci1119
        June 6, 2011 at 7:18 pm

        Also Imagine what It would be like, smiling, and smiling, and smiling some more. Always In the Lime Light, Imagine that, I can see and feel exactly how she feels. Sometimes, you just want to be left ALONE, I’m sure you understand 🙂

  24. 52 DreamChaser57
    June 6, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    Thanks for sharing the article Chips…I felt it was measured, well-reasoned, and engaging. I heard someone describe Bush’s “cultural insularity” as disturbing and aggravating. I had never heard that term used before but I feel it’s brilliant. It’s 2011 and I find it alarming that so many elected officials travel in the same homogenous circles, where everyone is the same race, class, and have the same perspectives. Especially in high level political offices, like House representatives, senators, governors, mayors, and the president. At those levels, you represent a cross-section of demographics and you’re doing them a grave disservice by not even finding out what their needs are.
    Also, the article mentioned that some people are disappointed that Mrs. Obama does not have a more prominent role. I think so many people equate feminism with unbridled aggression. I love that FLOTUS has made her children a priority. The reality is that America is not a dictatorship BO can only be president for a total of 8 years. There is no need to sell your sell and abandon the core of who you are. Young children, the black community, and the disenfranchised need to be inspired-the First couple consistently does that with a grace, tact, and devotion that I have rarely seen. Maintaining a fulfilling exuberant marriage and raising grounded, respectful, and intelligent children is one of the most feminist things you can do.
    As for the Washington wives, I found that a little humorous and very superficial. Only one side of the story was shared, FLOTUS may have found the crowd dry and pretentious. Frankly, she is not there to serve that constituency. The only benefit would be to create goodwill in the hopes that people would be more cooperative with the president’s agenda. Washington is so hopelessly partisan that I doubt that would have happened. Kudos to the FLOTUS for doing meaningful work and crafting a beautiful legacy for herself.
    Last point, only the candidates have been politically vetted, I do not think it is always appropriate for the spouses of elected officials to be very active politically. That was a critical misstep of the Clintons.

    • 53 Sue in Minnesota
      June 6, 2011 at 5:07 pm

      A more prominent role? She works tirelessly. She was enlarged and is actively pursuing several significant causes. She is not paid for any of this, but more importantly her daughters are not props, they are her rightful priority, and responsibility. I think the authors perspective is skewed, and in need of clarity.

  25. 54 anniebella
    June 6, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    So what she only works 2-3 days. Let us remember she wasn’t elected for anything, plus she told the country that she was Mom in chief first and foremost. Making sure her girls are alright is her number one priority. So any parent should understand if she only work 2-3 days. After all she is a wife and mother and that is so much more important than First Lady. After she is no longer First Lady ( January 2017 ), she will still be a wife and mother.

  26. 55 Janelle
    June 6, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    I have read several articles around the time that the President first came into office where the First Lady said that she didn’t want to have more than 2 to 3 days of “public appearances” during the week—not that she doesn’t want to work more than 2 to 3 days. She works probably 7 days. The amount of preparation and meetings for appearances, her initiatives (hours on the phone, doing speeches, White House events, etc.) takes a lot of time away from the cameras. She was the same way during the campaign. I’ve heard her give tons of interviews with her stating that—I don’t think people realize that not making a public appearance or giving an interview doesn’t mean that you are not working. The article was very misleading on that point. This First Lady has high expectations of herself and her staff–her last Chief of Staff that was a fill-in (Sherer?) was saying that FLOTUS would send her detailed emails at 4:30 in the morning! I think that the Obamas are truly leaving a lasting legacy that will be hard to beat. For a fact she has made the White House, The People’s House and I just love her for that!!! She’s got money but she remembers those that have been forgotten. She’s sophisticated and yet down-to-earth and approachable—-and beautiful!!! Whatever she has to do to keep going, recharge and be the rock of her family and keep our wonderful POTUS smiling and being supported, I say do it Mrs. O!!

  27. 56 MeaBloom
    June 6, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    BEAUTIFUL!!!! I love the article as well. I remember her saying on Oprah that she couldn’t go to Target. I hope they make that happen for her. She’s so real and that’s one of the reasons I admire her so much. What other first ladies tried to rid the press. Others would probably dwell in it. I am soooo proud to call her FLOTUS. She’s simply AMAZING.

    Mrs.O if you happen to read this, I want you to know you’re the BEST of the BEST.


    • 57 anniebella
      June 7, 2011 at 5:26 am

      As Tina Turner would say, Simply the Best, better than all the rest. That is what FLOTUS is.

  28. 58 QuietObserver
    June 6, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    Bookmarking the article for later, but WOW what a gorgeous photo!

  29. June 6, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    She would have a good ol time in Target! I know I do 🙂 I co-sign in relishing the beauty of this woman, what a perfect photo! I am in constant awe and admiration of all that she accomplishes; she goes about her business so un-apologetically and with such grace!

  30. 60 Dia
    June 6, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    She does a great job keepimg our strong, smart, generous President SANE and Loved!!

  31. 61 Luci1119
    June 6, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    First Lady Michelle Obama, Is doing some very good things for the American People. She said during the Campaign, that she has a passion for Military Families. She’s doing a Healthy Project on “Let’s Move”, and now eating healthy foods. These projects are good for all of us. It makes me feel somewhat guilty, that I’m not Involved In volunteering. I’m seriously thinking of getting Involved In serving People. It’s the Obamas example that makes me want to do better. The Obamas are beautiful, Inside and out, and oh sooooooooo lovable, and passionate. 🙂 🙂 I just love them, and I just can’t help myself. 🙂 thet are just Good People, simple as that, Good People 🙂

  32. 62 m
    June 7, 2011 at 9:56 am

    This image of the FLOTUS is breathtaking. She is incredible in so many ways and is such an inspiration! I like how some of the women on this site talk about rising in the early morning to exercise and “michelle-ify” their bodies. I have often thought about that when I first heard long ago of her early routine. If she can make time for it, so can I!

  33. June 10, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    She is very beautiful. Very proud of her!

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