|First Lady of the United States|
January 20, 2009
|Preceded by||Laura Bush|
|Born||Michelle LaVaughn Robinson
January 17, 1964
DeYoung, Illinois, US
(now Calumet Park)
|Spouse(s)||Barack Obama (m. 1992)|
|Alma mater||Princeton University
|Religion||Protestantism (raised Methodist; see details)|
Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama (born January 17, 1964) is an American lawyer and writer. She is married to the 44th and current President of the United States, Barack Obama, and is the first African-American First Lady of the United States. Raised on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois, Obama is a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School, and spent the early part of her legal career working at the law firm Sidley Austin, where she met her husband. Subsequently, she worked on Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley's staff, and for the University of Chicago Medical Center. Married in 1992, the couple have two daughters together.
Throughout 2007 and 2008, Obama campaigned for her husband's presidential bid, delivering a keynote address at the 2008 Democratic National Convention, and speaking at the 2012 Democratic National Convention. As First Lady, she has become a fashion icon, a role model for women, and an advocate for poverty awareness, nutrition, physical activity, and healthy eating.
- 1 Family and education
- 2 Career
- 3 Early campaigns
- 4 First Lady of the United States
- 5 References
- 6 Further reading
- 7 External links
Family and education
Early life and ancestry
Michelle LaVaughn Robinson was born on January 17, 1964, in DeYoung, Illinois, to Fraser Robinson III, a city water plant employee and Democratic precinct captain, and Marian (née Shields), a secretary at Spiegel's catalog store. Her mother was a full-time homemaker until Michelle entered high school.
The Robinson and Shields families trace their roots to pre-Civil War African Americans in the American South. On her father's side, she is descended from the Gullah people of South Carolina's Low Country region. Her paternal great-great grandfather, Jim Robinson, was a slave on Friendfield Plantation in South Carolina, the state where some of her paternal family still reside. Her grandfather Fraser Robinson, Jr. built his own house in South Carolina. He and his wife LaVaughn (née Johnson) returned to the Low Country after retirement.
Among her maternal ancestors was her great-great-great-grandmother, Melvinia Shields, a slave on Henry Walls Shields' 200-acre farm in Clayton County, Georgia. Melvinia's first son, Dolphus T. Shields, was biracial and born into slavery about 1860. Based on DNA and other evidence, in 2012 researchers said his father was likely 20-year-old Charles Marion Shields, son of her master. Melvinia did not talk to relatives about Dolphus' father. Dolphus Shields moved to Birmingham, Alabama after the Civil War, and some of his children migrated to Cleveland, Ohio and Chicago.
All four of her grandparents were multiracial, reflecting the complex history of the U.S., but her extended family said that people did not talk about the era of slavery when they were growing up. Her distant ancestry includes Irish and other European roots. In addition, a paternal first cousin once-removed is the African-American Jewish Rabbi Capers Funnye, son of her grandfather's sister.
Robinson grew up in a two-story bungalow on Euclid Avenue in Chicago's South Shore community area. Her parents rented a small apartment on the second floor from her great-aunt, who lived downstairs. She was raised in what she describes as a "conventional" home, with "the mother at home, the father works, you have dinner around the table." Her elementary school was down the street. They enjoyed playing games such as Monopoly, reading, and frequently saw extended family on both sides. She played piano, learning from her great-aunt who was a piano teacher. The Robinsons attended services at nearby South Shore Methodist Church. They used to vacation in a rustic cabin in White Cloud, Michigan. She and her 21-month older brother, Craig, skipped the second grade.
Her father suffered from multiple sclerosis which had a profound emotional effect on her as she was growing up. She was determined to stay out of trouble and be a good student, which was what her father wanted for her. By sixth grade, Michelle joined a gifted class at Bryn Mawr Elementary School (later renamed Bouchet Academy). She attended Whitney Young High School, Chicago's first magnet high school, established as a selective enrollment school, where she was a classmate of Jesse Jackson's daughter Santita. The round-trip commute from the Robinsons' South Side home to the Near West Side, where the school was located, took three hours. She recalled being fearful of how others would perceive her, but disregarded any negativity around her and used it "to fuel me, to keep me going." She recalled experiencing gender discrimination growing up, saying, for example, that rather than asking her for her opinion on a given subject, people commonly tended to ask what her older brother thought. She was on the honor roll for four years, took advanced placement classes, was a member of the National Honor Society, and served as student council treasurer. She graduated in 1981 as the salutatorian of her class.
Education and early career
She was inspired to follow her brother to Princeton University, where he graduated in 1983, after which he went on to become a basketball coach at Oregon State University and Brown University. She recalls that some of her teachers in high school tried to dissuade her from applying, that she had been told she was "setting my sights too high". She believed that her brother's alumni status may have helped her during the admission process, but she was resolved to demonstrate her own worthiness. She acknowledges that she was overwhelmed when first arriving in first year, attributing this to the fact that neither of her parents had graduated from college, and that she had never spent time on a college campus. The mother of a white roommate reportedly unsuccessfully tried to get her daughter moved because of Michelle's race. She recalls her time at Princeton being the first time she was made more aware of her ethnicity and that despite the willingness of her classmates and teachers to want to understand her, she still felt "like a visitor on campus." "I remember being shocked," she says, "by college students who drove BMWs. I didn't even know parents who drove BMWs."
While at Princeton, she got involved with the Third World Center (now known as the Carl A. Fields Center), an academic and cultural group that supported minority students, running their day care center, which also included after school tutoring. She challenged the teaching methodology for French because she felt that it should be more conversational. As part of her requirements for graduation, she wrote a thesis titled Princeton-Educated Blacks and the Black Community. She researched her thesis by sending a questionnaire to African American graduates, requesting they specify when and how comfortable they were with their race prior to their enrollment at Princeton and how they felt about it when they were a student and since then. Of the 400 she sent her survey to, only a small number, fewer than 90, responded and her findings did not support her hope that the black alumni would still identity with the African American community, even though they had attended an elite university with all of the advantages that accrues to its graduates. She majored in sociology and minored in African American studies, graduating cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in 1985.
Robinson went on to earn her Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from Harvard Law School in 1988. By the time she applied for Harvard Law, biographer Bond wrote, her confidence had grown; "This time around, there was no doubt in her mind that she had earned her place". Her faculty mentor at Harvard Law was Charles Ogletree, who has said that she had answered the question that had plagued her throughout Princeton by the time she arrived at Harvard Law, of whether she would remain the product of her parents or keep the identity she had acquired at Princeton, believing that she concluded she could be "both brilliant and black." At Harvard she participated in demonstrations advocating the hiring of professors who were members of minorities and worked for the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, assisting low-income tenants with housing cases. She is the third First Lady with a postgraduate degree, after her two immediate predecessors, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Laura Bush. She would later say her education gave her opportunities beyond what she had ever imagined. In July 2008, she accepted the invitation to become an honorary member of the 100-year-old black sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha, which had no active undergraduate chapter at Princeton when she attended.
Obama's father Fraser C. Robinson III died from complications from his illness in March 1991. She would later say that although he was the "hole in my heart" and "loss in my scar", the memory of her father has motivated her each day since. Her friend Suzanne Alele died from cancer around this time as well, Obama later telling Katie Couric that the loss made her think of her contributions toward society and how well she was influencing the world from her law firm. This was seen as a turning point for Michelle.
Michelle met Barack Obama when they were among the few African Americans at their law firm, Sidley Austin (she has sometimes said only two, although others have pointed out there were others in different departments), and she was assigned to mentor him while he was a summer associate. Their relationship started with a business lunch and then a community organization meeting where he first impressed her. Before meeting Obama, Michelle had previously told her mother that she would focus solely on her career. The couple's first date was to the Spike Lee movie Do the Right Thing. Barack Obama opined that he and Michelle had an "opposites attract" scenario in their interest for each other initially since Michelle had stability through her two-parent home while he was "adventurous". They married in October 1992, and have two daughters, Malia Ann (born 1998) and Natasha (known as Sasha, born 2001). After his election to the U.S. Senate, the Obama family continued to live on Chicago's South Side, choosing to remain there rather than moving to Washington, D.C. Throughout her husband's 2008 campaign for US President, she made a "commitment to be away overnight only once a week – to campaign only two days a week and be home by the end of the second day" for their two daughters.
She once requested that her then-fiancé meet her prospective boss, Valerie Jarrett, when considering her first career move; Jarrett is now one of her husband's closest advisors. The marital relationship has had its ebbs and flows; the combination of an evolving family life and beginning political career led to many arguments about balancing work and family. Barack Obama wrote in his second book, The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream, that "Tired and stressed, we had little time for conversation, much less romance." However, despite their family obligations and careers, they continued to attempt to schedule date nights while they lived in Chicago.
The Obamas' daughters attended the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, a private school. As a member of the school's board, Michelle fought to maintain diversity in the school when other board members connected with the University of Chicago tried to reserve more slots for children of the university faculty. This resulted in a plan to expand the school. Malia and Sasha now attend Sidwell Friends School in Washington, after also considering Georgetown Day School. Michelle stated in an interview on The Ellen DeGeneres Show that they do not intend to have any more children. The Obamas have received advice from past first ladies Laura Bush, Rosalynn Carter and Hillary Rodham Clinton about raising children in the White House. Marian Robinson, Michelle's mother, has moved into the White House to assist with child care.
Obama is a Protestant Christian. She was raised Methodist and joined the Trinity United Church of Christ, where she and Barack Obama married, performed by Rev. Jeremiah Wright. On May 31, 2008, Barack and Michelle Obama announced that they had withdrawn their membership in Trinity United Church of Christ stating that "Our relations with Trinity have been strained by the divisive statements of Reverend Wright, which sharply conflict with our own views."
The Obama family has attended several different Protestant churches since moving to Washington D.C. in 2009, including Shiloh Baptist Church and St. John's Episcopal Church. At the 49th African Methodist Episcopal Church's general conference, Michelle Obama encouraged the attendees to advocate for political awareness, saying "To anyone who says that church is no place to talk about these issues, you tell them there is no place better – no place better, because ultimately, these are not just political issues – they are moral issues, they're issues that have to do with human dignity and human potential, and the future we want for our kids and our grandkids."
Following law school, she was an associate at the Chicago office of the law firm Sidley Austin, where she first met her future husband. At the firm, she worked on marketing and intellectual property. She continues to hold her law license, but as she no longer needs it for her work, it has been on a voluntary inactive status since 1993.
In 1991, she held public sector positions in the Chicago city government as an Assistant to the Mayor, and as Assistant Commissioner of Planning and Development. In 1993, she became Executive Director for the Chicago office of Public Allies, a non-profit organization encouraging young people to work on social issues in nonprofit groups and government agencies. She worked there nearly four years and set fundraising records for the organization that still stood 12 years after she left.
In 1996, Obama served as the Associate Dean of Student Services at the University of Chicago, where she developed the University's Community Service Center. In 2002, she began working for the University of Chicago Hospitals, first as executive director for community affairs and, beginning May 2005, as Vice President for Community and External Affairs. She continued to hold the University of Chicago Hospitals position during the primary campaign, but cut back to part-time in order to spend time with her daughters as well as work for her husband's election; she subsequently took a leave of absence from her job. According to the couple's 2006 income tax return, her salary was $273,618 from the University of Chicago Hospitals, while her husband had a salary of $157,082 from the United States Senate. The Obamas' total income, however, was $991,296, which included $51,200 she earned as a member of the board of directors of TreeHouse Foods, and investments and royalties from his books. Obama reflected that she had never been happier in her life prior to working "to build Public Allies".
Obama served as a salaried board member of TreeHouse Foods, Inc. (NYSE: THS), a major Wal-Mart supplier with which she cut ties immediately after her husband made comments critical of Wal-Mart at an AFL-CIO forum in Trenton, New Jersey, on May 14, 2007. She also served on the board of directors of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.
During an interview in 1996, Michelle Obama acknowledged that there was a "strong possibility" her husband would begin a political career, but said she was "wary" of the process due to it meaning that their lives would become "an open book" while she was private.
Although she has campaigned on her husband's behalf since early in his political career by handshaking and fund-raising, she did not relish the activity at first. When she campaigned during her husband's 2000 run for United States House of Representatives, her boss at the University of Chicago asked if there was any single thing about campaigning that she enjoyed; after some thought, she replied that visiting so many living rooms had given her some new decorating ideas. She reportedly turned down requests by the campaign for her to attend fundraisers. Obama was against her husband's run for the congressional seat and after his defeat would have preferred her husband tending to the financial needs of the family in what she deemed a more practical way.
At first, Obama had reservations about her husband's presidential campaign, due to fears about a possible negative effect on their daughters. She says that she negotiated an agreement in which her husband was to give up smoking in exchange for her support of his decision to run. About her role in her husband's presidential campaign she has said: "My job is not a senior adviser." During the campaign, she has discussed race and education by using motherhood as a framework.
In May 2007, three months after her husband declared his presidential candidacy, Obama reduced her professional responsibilities by 80 percent to support his presidential campaign. Early in the campaign, she had limited involvement in which she traveled to political events only two days a week and rarely traveled overnight; by early February 2008 her participation had increased significantly, attending thirty-three events in eight days. She made several campaign appearances with Oprah Winfrey. She wrote her own stump speeches for her husband's presidential campaign and generally spoke without notes.
Throughout the campaign, some media often labeled Michelle Obama as an "Angry Black Woman," and some web sites attempted to propagate this image, prompting her to respond: "Barack and I have been in the public eye for many years now, and we've developed a thick skin along the way. When you're out campaigning, there will always be criticism. I just take it in stride, and at the end of the day, I know that it comes with the territory." By the time of the 2008 Democratic National Convention in August, media outlets observed that her presence on the campaign trail had grown softer than at the start of the race, focusing on soliciting concerns and empathizing with the audience rather than throwing down challenges to them, and giving interviews to shows like The View and publications like Ladies' Home Journal rather than appearing on news programs. The change was even reflected in her fashion choices, wearing more informal clothes in place of her previous designer pieces. The View appearance was partly intended to help soften her public image, and it was widely covered in the press.
The presidential campaign was Obama's first exposure to the national political scene; even before the field of Democratic candidates was narrowed to two, she was considered the least famous of the candidates' spouses. Early in the campaign, she told anecdotes about the Obama family life; however, as the press began to emphasize her sarcasm, she toned it down. The New York Times op-ed columnist Maureen Dowd wrote:
I wince a bit when Michelle Obama chides her husband as a mere mortal – a comic routine that rests on the presumption that we see him as a god ... But it may not be smart politics to mock him in a way that turns him from the glam JFK into the mundane Gerald Ford, toasting his own English muffin. If all Senator Obama is peddling is the Camelot mystique, why debunk this mystique?
On the first night of the 2008 Democratic National Convention, Craig Robinson introduced his younger sister. She delivered her speech, during which she sought to portray herself and her family as the embodiment of the American Dream. Obama said both she and her husband believed "that you work hard for what you want in life, that your word is your bond, and you do what you say you're going to do, that you treat people with dignity and respect, even if you don't know them, and even if you don't agree with them." She also emphasized loving her country, in response to criticism for her previous statements about feeling proud of her country for the first time, where the original statement was seen as a gaffe. That keynote address was largely well received and drew mostly positive reviews. A Rasmussen Reports poll found that her favorability among Americans reached 55%.
On an October 6, 2008 broadcast, Larry King asked Obama if the American electorate was past the Bradley effect. She stated that her husband's achievement of the nomination was a fairly strong indicator that it was. The same night she also was interviewed by Jon Stewart on The Daily Show where she deflected criticism of her husband and his campaign. On Fox News' America's Pulse, E. D. Hill referred to the fist bump shared by the Obamas on the night that he clinched the Democratic presidential nomination as a "terrorist fist jab"; Hill was taken off air and the show itself was cancelled.
First Lady of the United States
Obama advocated for her husband's policy priorities by promoting bills that support it. She hosted a White House reception for women's rights advocates in celebration of the enactment of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 Pay equity law. She supported the economic stimulus bill in visits to the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development and United States Department of Education. Some observers looked favorably upon her legislative activities, while others said that she should be less involved in politics. According to her representatives, she intends to visit all United States Cabinet-level agencies in order to get acquainted with Washington.
On June 5, 2009, the White House announced that Michelle Obama was replacing her current chief of staff, Jackie Norris, with Susan Sher, a longtime friend and adviser. Norris became a senior adviser to the Corporation for National and Community Service. Another key aide, Spelman College alumna Kristen Jarvis, served from 2008 until 2015, when she left to become chief of staff to the Ford Foundation president Darren Walker.
Some initiatives of First Lady Michelle Obama include advocating on behalf of military families, helping working women balance career and family, encouraging national service, and promoting the arts and arts education. Obama has made supporting military families and spouses a personal mission and has been increasingly bonding with military families. According to her aides, stories of the sacrifice these families make move her to tears. In April 2012, Obama and husband were awarded the Jerald Washington Memorial Founders' Award by the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans (NCHV).The award is the highest honor given to homeless veteran advocates. Obama was again honored with the award in May 2015, accepting with Jill Biden.
In November 2013, a Politico article by Michelle Cottle accusing Obama of being a "feminist nightmare" for not using her position and education to advocate for women's issues was sharply criticized across the political spectrum. Cottle quoted Linda Hirshman saying of Obama's trendy styles, promotion of gardening and healthy eating, and support of military families that "She essentially became the English lady of the manor, Tory Party, circa 1830s." A prominent critic of Cottle was MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry, who rhetorically asked "Are you serious?" Supporters of Obama note that the First Lady has been one of the only people in the administration to address obesity, through promoting good eating habits, which is one of the leading US public health crises.
In May 2014, Obama joined the campaign to bring back school girls who had been kidnapped in Nigeria. The First Lady tweeted a picture of herself holding a poster with the #bringbackourgirls campaign hashtag.
Over the course of the Obama presidency, particularly during the second term, Michelle Obama was subject to speculation over whether she would run for the presidency herself, similarly to predecessor Hillary Clinton. A potential Michelle Obama candidacy was supported by both Samuel L. Jackson and James Clyburn. On April 6, 2009, CNN did a poll on whether she should run for the presidency in 2020, 83% of responders being opposed to the idea. A May 2015 Rasmussen poll found Obama had 22% of support to Clinton's 56% of winning the Democratic nomination, higher than that of potential candidates Elizabeth Warren, Martin O'Malley and Bernie Sanders. Alternatively, another poll from that month found 71% of Americans believed that Obama should not run for the presidency, only 14% approving. On January 14, 2016, during a town-hall meeting, President Obama was asked if the First Lady could be talked into running. He responded, "There are three things that are certain in life: death, taxes, and Michelle is not running for president. That I can tell you." On March 16, 2016, while speaking in Austin, Texas, Obama denied that she would ever run for the office, citing a desire to "impact as many people as possible in an unbiased way."
Obama's predecessors Hillary Clinton and Laura Bush supported the organic movement by instructing the White House kitchens to buy organic food, and Obama extended their efforts toward healthy eating by planting the White House Kitchen Garden, an organic garden, the first White House vegetable garden since Eleanor Roosevelt served as First Lady, and installing bee hives, on the South Lawn of the White House. The garden supplied organic produce and honey to the First Family and for state dinners and other official gatherings.
In January 2010, Obama undertook her first lead role in an administration-wide initiative, which she named "Let's Move!," to make progress in reversing the 21st century trend of childhood obesity. On February 9, 2010, the First Lady announced Let's Move! and President Barack Obama created the Task Force on Childhood Obesity to review all current programs and create a national plan towards change. Michelle Obama stated that her goal was to make this effort her legacy: "I want to leave something behind that we can say, 'Because of this time that this person spent here, this thing has changed.' And my hope is that that's going to be in the area of childhood obesity." Her 2012 book American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America is based on her experiences with the garden and promotes healthy eating. Her call for action on healthy eating has been echoed by the United States Department of Defense, which has been facing an ever expanding problem of recruit obesity.
Several Republicans have critiqued or lampooned Obama's initiative. In October 2014, senator Rand Paul linked to Michelle Obama's Twitter account when announcing on the website that he was going to Dunkin' Donuts. In January 2016, Republican Governor of New Jersey and presidential candidate Chris Christie condemned the First Lady's involvement with healthy eating while on the campaign trail in Iowa, arguing that she was using the government to exercise her views on eating. Obama had previously cited Christie as an example of an adult who struggled with obesity, a demographic she sought to diminish by targeting children since Let's Move! was "working with kids when they're young, so that they don't have these direct challenges when they get older." In February, Senator Ted Cruz indicated that Obama's health policies would end under his administration, promising that french fries would return to cafeterias if his wife was First Lady.
In the 2008 US presidential election, Obama boasted, to gay Democrat groups, of her husband's record on LGBT rights: his support of the Illinois Human Rights Act, the Illinois gender violence act, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell, and full repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, civil unions; along with hate crimes protection for sexual orientation and gender identity and renewed effort to fight HIV and AIDS. They have both been opponents of constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage in the federal, California, and Florida constitutions. She said that the US Supreme Court delivered justice in the Lawrence v. Texas case and drew a connection between the struggles for gay rights and civil rights by stating "We are all only here because of those who marched and bled and died, from Selma to Stonewall, in the pursuit of a more perfect union."
After the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell on September 20, 2011, Obama included openly gay service members in her national military families initiative. On May 9, 2012, Barack and Michelle Obama came out publicly in favor of same-sex marriage. Prior to this, Michelle Obama had never stated her position on same-sex marriage publicly. Senior White House officials said that Michelle Obama and Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett had been the two most consistent advocates for same-sex marriage in Barack Obama's life. Michelle went on to say that "This is an important issue for millions of Americans, and for Barack and me, it really comes down to the values of fairness and equality we want to pass down to our girls. These are basic values that kids learn at a very young age and that we encourage them to apply in all areas of their lives. And in a country where we teach our children that everyone is equal under the law, discriminating against same-sex couples just isn't right. It's as simple as that." At the 2012 DNC Michelle said "Barack knows the American Dream because he's lived it ... and he wants everyone in this country to have that same opportunity, no matter who we are, or where we're from, or what we look like, or who we love."
2012 presidential election
Obama campaigned for her husband's re-election in 2012. Beginning in 2011, Obama became more politically active than she had been since the 2008 election, though avoided discussions about the re-election bid. By this point, she had become known for giving hugs to most, if not all, individuals in attendance to an event or rally she was present. Obama explained her extensive use of the gesture as a way of narrowing the gap between her and others to make herself appear less intimidating despite her position as First Lady and height. This was seen as a contrast to previous First Ladies, who were not known to be as open in greeting others.
Some viewed her as the most popular member of the Obama administration, her poll numbers having never dropped below 60% since entering the White House and an Obama senior campaign official even dubbing her "the most popular political figure in America", which was reasoned to have contributed to her active role in the re-election campaign, but it was noted that the challenge for the Obama campaign was using her without tarnishing her popularity. Obama was viewed as a polarizing figure, having both "sharp enmity and deep loyalty" from Americans, but she was also seen as having improved her image since the time of the last election when her husband initially ran for the presidency. It was commented by Isabel Wilkinson of The Daily Beast that her style changed over the course of the campaign to sensitive and economical.
Obama expressed confidence in her husband's debating skills prior to the first debate of the election cycle, though his performance would later be criticized as appearing detached and for looking down when addressing Romney, leading to a consensus that the latter won the debate. After her speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, Obama was found through a CBS News/New York Times poll conducted in September to have a 61% favorably rating with registered voters, the highest favorability she had sustained since April 2009. Obama aimed to humanize her husband with relating stories about him, attempting to appeal to female voters in swing states. It was commented by Paul Harris of The Guardian that the same tactic was being used by Ann Romney, wife of 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Polls in October showed their husbands tied at 47% for the female vote. However, Michelle Obama's favorability ratings remained higher than Ann Romney's at 69% to 52%. Despite Obama's higher poll numbers, comparisons between Obama and Romney were consistently made by the media until the election, regardless of Michelle Cottle of Newsweek writing, "nobody votes for first lady."
In May 2009, Obama delivered the commencement speech at a graduating ceremony at UC Merced in Merced County, California, the address being praised afterward by students who found her relatable. Kevin Fagan of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote that there was chemistry between Obama and the students.
In August 2013, Obama attended the 50th anniversary ceremony for the March on Washington at the Lincoln Memorial. Positive attention was brought to Obama's attire, a black sleeveless dress with red flowers, designed by Tracy Reese. Reese reacted by releasing a public statement that he was honored the First Lady "would choose to wear one of our designs during the celebration of such a deeply significant historical moment".
In March 2015, Obama traveled to Selma, Alabama, with her family to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery marches. Obama publicly stated her daughter Sasha would have been exposed to the same violence as that of protesters during the Selma marches had she been alive. After President Obama's remarks there, the Obamas joined original marchers in crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge.
In October 2015, Obama was joined by Jill Biden and Prince Harry in visiting a military base in Fort Belvoir, Virginia, an attempt on the prince's part to raise awareness to programs supporting harmed service members. In December 2015, Obama traveled with her husband to San Bernardino, California, to meet with families of the victims of a terrorist attack that occurred two weeks earlier.
On April 1, 2009, Obama met with Queen Elizabeth II in Buckingham Palace, Obama embracing her before attending an event with world leaders. Obama praised her, though the hug generated controversy for being out of protocol when greeting Elizabeth.
In April 2010, Obama traveled to Mexico, her first solo visit to a nation. In Mexico, Obama spoke to students, encouraging them to take responsibility for their futures. Referring to the underprivileged children, Obama argued that "potential can be found in some of the most unlikely places", citing herself and her husband as examples.
Obama traveled to Africa for the second official trip in June 2011, touring Johannesburg, Cape Town and Botswana and meeting with Graca Machel. Obama was also involved with community events in the foreign countries. It was commented by White House staff that her trip to Africa would advance the foreign policy of her husband.
In March 2014, Obama visited China along with her two daughters Malia and Sasha, and her mother Marian Robinson. She met with Peng Liyuan, the wife of Chinese President Xi Jinping, visited historic and cultural sites, as well as a university and two high schools. Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said that the visit and intent in Obama journeying there was to symbolize "the relationship between the United States and China is not just between leaders, it's a relationship between peoples".
In January 2015, Obama traveled to Saudi Arabia alongside her husband, following the death of King Abdullah. She received criticism for not covering her head in a nation where women are forbidden from publicly not doing so, though Obama was defended for being a foreigner and thus not having to submit to Saudi Arabia's customs, even being praised in some corners. Obama was neither greeted nor acknowledged by King Salman during the encounter.
In June 2015, Obama undertook a weeklong trip to London and three Italian cities. In London, she spoke with students about international education for adolescent girls and met with both British Prime Minister David Cameron and Prince Harry. She was joined by her two daughters and mother. In November, she spent a week in Qatar, her first official visit to the Middle East. She continued advancing her initiative for international education for women by speaking at the 2015 World Innovation Summit for Education for the "Let Girls Learn" initiative in Doha, Qatar and touring a school in Amman, Jordan, where she met with female students. During the Qatar trip, Obama had intended to visit Jordan as well, but the trip was canceled due to weather conditions. In Jordan, Obama had intended to visit an Amman school, which had been constructed with assistance from U.S. funds.
In March 2016, Obama accompanied her husband and children to Cuba in a trip that was seen by the administration as having the possibility of positively impacting relations between the country and America. Later that month, the First Couple and their daughters traveled to Argentina, meeting with Argentine President Mauricio Macri.
Obama campaigned for Democratic candidates in the 2010 midterm elections, making her debut on the campaign trail in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. By the time she began campaigning, Obama's approval rating was 20 percentage points higher than her husband. Though Obama indicated in January 2010 that a consensus had not been made about whether she would campaign, speculation of her involvement came from her large approval rating as well as reports that she had been invited to speak at events with Democrats such as Barbara Boxer, Mary Jo Kilroy and Joe Sestak. She toured seven states in two weeks within October 2010. Though viewed as essential by the White House, aides reported that she would not become deeply involved with political discussions nor engage Republicans in public disputes. After the elections took place, only six of the thirteen Democratic candidates Obama had campaigned for won. The Los Angeles Times concluded that while Obama was indeed more popular than her husband, her "election scorecard proved no better than his, particularly in her home state."
Obama was a participant in the 2014 midterm elections, held at a time where her popularity superseded her husband's to such an extent that it was theorized that she would receive a much larger outpour of support in campaigning. Reporting her travel to Denver, Colorado, David Lightman wrote that while Democrats did not want President Obama to campaign for them, "the first lady is very popular". In May 2014, Obama was found to have a 61% favorable approval rating from a CNN poll, her husband coming in at 43%. In a video released in July, as part of an effort to encourage voter turnout, she called on voters to be "hungry as you were back in 2008 and 2012". Obama appeared at a fundraiser in Georgia in September for Democratic senate candidate Michelle Nunn. Obama's approach to campaigning in Georgia strayed from discussing current events and instead broadly stressed the importance of registering to vote and turning out during the elections. Obama's infrequent appearances came from her dislike of being away from her children and Washington politics as well as her distaste for the opposition by Republicans to her husband's agenda and her view that Democrats in the U.S. Senate had not sufficiently supporters her initiatives to end childhood obesity. Obama raised her profile in October, touring three states in four days. Obama called the elections her husband's "last campaign".
Public image and style
With the ascent of her husband as a prominent national politician, Obama has become a part of popular culture. In May 2006, Essence listed her among "25 of the World's Most Inspiring Women." In July 2007, Vanity Fair listed her among "10 of the World's Best Dressed People." She was an honorary guest at Oprah Winfrey's Legends Ball as a "young'un" paying tribute to the 'Legends,' who helped pave the way for African American women. In September 2007, 02138 magazine listed her 58th of 'The Harvard 100'; a list of the prior year's most influential Harvard alumni. Her husband was ranked fourth. In July 2008, she made a repeat appearance on the Vanity Fair international best dressed list. She also appeared on the 2008 People list of best-dressed women and was praised by the magazine for her "classic and confident" look.
At the time of her husband's election, some sources anticipated that as a high-profile African-American woman in a stable marriage Obama would be a positive role model who would influence the view the world has of African-Americans. Her fashion choices were part of the 2009 Fashion week, but Obama's influence in the field did not have the impact on the paucity of African-American models who participate, that some thought it might.
Obama's public support grew in her early months as First Lady, as she was accepted as a role model. On her first trip abroad in April 2009, she toured a cancer ward with Sarah Brown, wife of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Newsweek described her first trip abroad as an exhibition of her so-called "star power" and MSN described it as a display of sartorial elegance. Questions were raised by some in the American and British media regarding protocol when the Obamas met Queen Elizabeth II and Michelle reciprocated a touch on her back by the Queen during a reception, purportedly against traditional royal etiquette. Palace sources denied that any breach in etiquette had occurred.
Obama has been compared to Jacqueline Kennedy due to her sense of style, and also to Barbara Bush for her discipline and decorum. Obama's style has been described as "fashion populist." In 2010, she wore clothes, many high end, from more than 50 design companies with less expensive pieces from J.Crew and Target, and the same year a study found that her patronage was worth an average of $14 million to a company. She became a fashion trendsetter, in particular favoring sleeveless dresses, including her first-term official portrait in a dress by Michael Kors, and her ball gowns designed by Jason Wu for both inaugurals.
Obama appeared on the cover and in a photo spread in the March 2009 issue of Vogue. Every First Lady since Lou Hoover (except Bess Truman) has been in Vogue, but only Hillary Clinton had previously appeared on the cover. In August 2011, she became the first woman ever to appear on the cover of Better Homes and Gardens magazine, and the first person in 48 years. During the 2013 Academy Awards, she became the first First Lady to announce the winner of an Oscar (Best Picture which went to Argo).
The media have been criticized for focusing more on the First Lady's fashion sense than her serious contributions. She said after the 2008 election that she would like to focus attention as First Lady on issues of concern to military and working families. In 2008 U.S. News & World Report blogger, PBS host and Scripps Howard columnist Bonnie Erbé argued that Obama's own publicists seemed to be feeding the emphasis on style over substance, and has stated that Obama is miscasting herself by overemphasizing style.
- Donahue, Wendy. "Michelle Obama emerges as an American fashion icon". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved June 4, 2011.
- "Michelle Obama settling in as a role model". The Washington Times. Retrieved June 4, 2011.
- Dance, Gabriel and Elisabeth Goodridge (October 7, 2009). "The Family Tree of Michelle Obama, the First Lady". The New York Times. Retrieved September 23, 2014.
- Rossi, Rosalind (January 20, 2007). "The woman behind Obama". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on February 15, 2008. Retrieved January 22, 2008.
- Slevin, Peter (March 18, 2009). "Mrs. Obama goes to Washington". Princeton Alumni Weekly. 109 (10): 18–22.
- "Examining Michelle Obama's Lowcountry roots". The Island Packet. April 4, 2009. Retrieved August 10, 2011.
- Murray, Shailagh (October 2, 2008). "A Family Tree Rooted in American Soil: Michelle Obama Learns About Her Slave Ancestors, Herself and Her Country". The Washington Post. p. C01. Retrieved October 9, 2008.
- Bone, James (November 6, 2008). "From slave cabin to White House, a family rooted in black America". The Times. London. Retrieved November 7, 2008.
- Levinson, Molly (June 4, 2008). "Michelle: Barack's bitter or better half?". BBC News. Retrieved April 4, 2009.
- Norris, Michele (July 9, 2007). "Spouses on the Campaign Trail: Michelle Obama Sees Election as Test for America". All Things Considered. NPR. Retrieved April 3, 2009.
- Swarns, Rachel L. (June 16, 2012). "Meet Your Cousin, the First Lady: A Family Story, Long Hidden". The New York Times. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
- Swarns, Rachel L.; Kantor, Jodi (October 7, 2009). "In First Lady's Roots, a Complex Path From Slavery". The New York Times. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
- Produced by Meghan Louttit/The New York Times (June 22, 2012). "The First Family: A New Glimpse of Michelle Obama's White Ancestors — Interactive Feature". The New York Times. Southern States (US). Retrieved December 14, 2012.
- Chafets, Zev (April 5, 2009). "Obama's Rabbi". New York Times. Retrieved April 5, 2009.
- Anthony Weiss (September 2, 2008). "Michelle Obama Has a Rabbi in Her Family". The Jewish Daily Forward. Retrieved September 2, 2008.
- Saslow, Eli (February 1, 2009). "From the Second City, An Extended First Family". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 24, 2010.
- Finnegan, William (May 31, 2004). "The Candidate: How the Son of a Kenyan Economist Became an Illinois Everyman". The New Yorker. Retrieved January 22, 2008.
- Pickert, Kate (October 13, 2008). "Michelle Obama, A Life". Time. Retrieved January 8, 2009.
- Bennetts, Leslie (December 27, 2007). "First Lady in waiting". Vanity Fair. Retrieved February 12, 2008.
- Newton-Small, Jay (August 25, 2008). "Michelle Obama's Savvy Sacrifice". Time. Retrieved October 12, 2008.
- "Tallest First Lady, piano-lover, tights-hater: Michelle Obama hits 50". sputniknews.com. January 17, 2014.
- Bond, p. 40.
- "Michelle Obama Biography". National First Ladies' Library. February 5, 2009. Retrieved April 6, 2016.
- "First Lady Michelle Obama Remembers The Struggles of Her Father in Talk To Atlanta Students". atlanta.cbslocal.com. September 9, 2014.
- Ross, Rosalind (November 10, 2008). "Kids at Michelle Obama's old school see reflection". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on November 14, 2008. Retrieved November 17, 2008.
- West, Cassandra (September 1, 2004). "Her plan went awry, but Michelle Obama doesn't mind – Chicago Tribune". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved August 21, 2010.
- Johnson, Rebecca (September 2007). "The natural". Vogue. Archived from the original on January 16, 2009. Retrieved January 8, 2009.
- "Michelle Obama Recalls Stressful Childhood in South Shore, at Whitney Young". DNAinfo. October 14, 2014.
- Whitaker, Morgan (November 12, 2013). "First lady gets personal in education push". MSNBC.
- Liptak, Kevin (November 4, 2015). "In Qatar, Michelle Obama delivers pointed message on women's rights". CNN.
- Bond, Alma Halbert (2011). Michelle Obama, a Biography. Greenwood. pp. 41–42. ISBN 978-0313381041.
- Goodman, Jeff (May 5, 2014). "Oregon State fires Craig Robinson". ESPN. Retrieved August 23, 2014.
- "Michelle Obama Recalls Being Told She'd 'Never Get Into' Princeton". ABC News. November 13, 2013.
- "Michelle Obama kicks off new education initiative at Washington, D.C. high school". New York Daily News. November 12, 2013.
- Michelle Obama: First Lady of Hope. Lyons Press. 2008. p. 20. ISBN 978-1599215211.
- Heyboer, Kelly (February 7, 2014). "Michelle Obama recounts difficult first year at Princeton in new video". nj.com.
- "Michelle Obama to Chicago High School Grads: ‘Stay Hungry’". Time. June 10, 2015.
- Slevin, Peter (March 26, 2015). "Michelle Obama, Race and the Ivy League". POLITICO.
- "Michelle Obama's Career Timeout". The Washington Post. May 11, 2007.
- Biography Today. Detroit, Michigan: Omnigraphics. 2009. p. 117. ISBN 978-0-7808-1052-5.
- Klein, Sarah A. (May 5, 2008). "Focus: Women to Watch: Michelle Obama". Crain's Chicago Business. Crain Communications, Inc. p. 29.
- Robinson, Michelle LaVaughn (1985), Sociology Department. "Princeton-Educated Blacks and the Black Community (96 pages)." Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, Princeton University. (Thesis currently unavailable from this library; see next footnote for links to text.)
- Ressner, Jeffrey (February 22, 2008). "Michelle Obama thesis was on racial divide". Politico. Retrieved April 19, 2008.
- Bond, Alma Halbert (2011). Michelle Obama, a Biography. Greenwood. pp. 44–45. ISBN 978-0313381041.
- "Academic Departments & Programs". The Trustees of Princeton University. 2008. Retrieved May 18, 2008.
- Brown, Sarah (December 7, 2005). "Obama '85 Masters Balancing Act". Daily Princetonian. Archived from the original on February 20, 2009. Retrieved April 3, 2009.
- Remnick, David (2011). The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama. Vintage. p. 204. ISBN 978-0375702303.
- Wolffe, Richard (February 25, 2008). "Barack's Rock". Newsweek. Retrieved April 3, 2009.
- "Biography Today", p.117
- Connolly, Katie (November 29, 2008). "Very Little in Common But That 'O'". Newsweek. Retrieved January 9, 2009.
- "Michelle Obama in Qatar: 'outdated laws and traditions' rob girls of education". The Guardian. November 4, 2015.
- Bogues, Austin (July 14, 2008). "Sorority Celebrates Michelle Obama's Acceptance". The New York Times. Retrieved November 9, 2008.
- "Michelle's Life". nymag.com. March 15, 2009.
- Lightfoot, p. 53.
- Mundy, Liza (October 5, 2008). "When Michelle Met Barack". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 25, 2008.
- Kornblut, Anne E. (May 11, 2007). "Michelle Obama's Career Timeout". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 12, 2008.
- Fornek, Scott (October 3, 2007). "Michelle Obama: 'He Swept Me Off My Feet'". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on December 14, 2007. Retrieved December 2, 2007.
- "What Michelle Obama Didn't Like About Working at Sidley Austin". abajournal.com. October 6, 2008.
- Greene, Nick; Whitworth, Melissa (January 22, 2009). "50 things you didn't know about Michelle Obama". The Telegraph. London. Retrieved April 5, 2009.
- Crabtree, Susan (June 22, 2015). "Obama opens up about his father, his mother and his marriage". Washington Examiner.
- Springen, Karen and Darman, Jonathan (January 29, 2007). "Ground Support". Newsweek. Retrieved April 3, 2009.
- Piasecki, Joe (June 5, 2008). "Mother, wife, superstar". Pasadena Weekly. Southland Publishing. Retrieved April 3, 2009.
- Roberts, Robin (May 22, 2007). "Michelle Obama: 'I've Got a Loud Mouth'". ABC News. Retrieved February 12, 2008.
- Langley, Monica (February 11, 2008). "Michelle Obama Solidifies Her Role". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved February 12, 2008.
- Herrmann, Andrew (October 19, 2006). "Fame puts squeeze on family life: Many hurdles as Obamas seek balance". Chicago Sun-Times.
- Bedard, Paul (November 21, 2008). "Whispers Poll: President-Elect Obama and Michelle Obama's Date Night". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved January 10, 2009.
- Loh, Sandra Tsing (September 9, 2008). "The Rantings of a P.T.A. Mom". The New York Times. Retrieved October 13, 2008.
- Leiby, Richard L (November 22, 2008). "Obama Girls Will Go To Sidwell Friends: Elite Private School Is 'Best Fit' for Next First Family". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 9, 2008.
- Smalley, Suzanne (November 22, 2008). "Just One More Frame!: How do you raise kids in the White House and 'keep them normal,' too?". Newsweek. Retrieved January 9, 2009.
- Zeleny, Jeff (September 4, 2008). "Michelle Obama: 'I'm Done'". The New York Times. Retrieved October 13, 2008.
- Erbe, Bonnie (November 7, 2008). "Michelle Obama Slights Working Women". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved January 10, 2009.
- "Obama resigns from Trinity United Church of Christ. UPDATE. Obama to answer questions about his church Saturday night.". Chicago Sun-Times. May 31, 2008. Retrieved January 22, 2013.
- Obama, Michelle. "Remarks by the First Lady at the African Methodist Episcopal Church Conference" (Press release). White House. Retrieved February 22, 2013.
- "Taking License". Snopes. April 8, 2010.
- Gore, D'Angelo (June 14, 2012). "The Obamas' Law Licenses". FactCheck.org. Retrieved June 22, 2012.
- "Obama named first Associate Dean of Student Services". University of Chicago Chronicle. 15 (19). June 6, 1996. Retrieved April 4, 2009.
- "Michelle Obama appointed vice president for community and external affairs at the University of Chicago Hospitals" (Press release). University of Chicago Medical Center. May 9, 2005. Retrieved April 4, 2009.
- Snow, Kate (January 24, 2008). "Michelle Obama: Mom First, Politics Second". ABC News. Retrieved April 4, 2009.
- St. Clair, Stacy (November 8, 2008). "Michelle Obama blazes a new trail". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 20, 2008.
- Keen, Judy (May 12, 2007). "Michelle Obama: Campaigning her way". USA Today. Retrieved February 12, 2008.[dead link]
- Slevin, Peter (April 14, 2015). "Michelle Obama: Who she was before the White House".
- "Board of Directors: Michelle Obama". TreeHouse Foods. Retrieved April 4, 2009.
- Sweet, Lynn (May 22, 2007). "Sweet Column: Michelle Obama Quits Board of Wal-Mart Supplier". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved April 4, 2009.
- "Directors". Chicago Council on Global Affairs. Archived from the original on February 18, 2009. Retrieved April 4, 2009.
- Cook, Mariana. "A Couple in Chicago". The New Yorker.
- Kantor, Jodi (August 25, 2008). "Michelle Obama, reluctant no more". The New York Times. Retrieved August 27, 2008.
- Remnick, David (2011). The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama. Vintage. p. 314. ISBN 978-0375702303.
- Remnick, David (2011). The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama. Vintage. p. 332. ISBN 978-0375702303.
- Swarns, Rachel L.; Kantor, Jodi (March 5, 2009). "Michelle Obama". The New York Times. Retrieved April 8, 2009.
- Langley, Monica (February 11, 2008). "Michelle Obama on Campaign, Family". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved February 12, 2008.
- Zakin, Carly (July 30, 2007). "Michelle Obama plays unique role in campaign". MSNBC. Retrieved February 12, 2008.
- "Michelle Obama: I'm his wife, not adviser". Sioux City Journal. May 22, 2007. Archived from the original on April 15, 2009. Retrieved April 3, 2008.
- "How Michelle Obama Does It: Michelle Obama: The real story behind her everyday life.". Redbook. October 18, 2008. Retrieved September 23, 2014.
- Marinucci, Carla; Wildermuth, John; Chronicle Political Writers (February 7, 2008). "Millions of cell calls for Clinton Big effort to contact list of likely backers gave her the state". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved February 15, 2008.
- Kornblut, Anne E. & Murray, Shailagh (December 19, 2007). "'I'm Tired of Politics as Usual'; Oprah Winfrey Makes Her Case for Sen. Obama's Presidential Candidacy". The Washington Post. p. A1.
- Powell, Michael and Jodi Kantor (June 18, 2008). "After Attacks, Michelle Obama Looks for a New Introduction". The New York Times. Retrieved October 13, 2008.
- Mann, Jonathan (May 23, 2008). "A First Lady of a different kind". CNN. Retrieved April 4, 2009.
- "Transcript: 'FOX News Watch', June 14, 2008". Fox News. June 16, 2008. Retrieved April 4, 2009.
- Dowd, Maureen (June 11, 2008). "Mincing Up Michelle". The New York Times. Retrieved October 13, 2008.
- Watson, Robert P.; Covarrubias, Jack; Lansford, Tom; Brattebo, Douglas M. (April 11, 2012). The Obama Presidency: A Preliminary Assessment. SUNY Press. pp. 393–. ISBN 978-1-4384-4330-0. Retrieved February 23, 2015.
- Stanley, Alessandra (June 19, 2008). "Michelle Obama Shows Her Warmer Side on 'The View'". The New York Times. Retrieved October 13, 2008.
- Dowd, Maureen (April 25, 2007). "She's Not Buttering Him Up". The New York Times. Retrieved February 12, 2008.
- Halperin, Mark (August 2008). "Scorecard: First-Night Speeches: Craig Robinson: Grade: B+". Time. Retrieved April 4, 2009.
- Nagourney, Adam (August 26, 2008). "Appeals evoking American Dream rally Democrats". The New York Times. Retrieved August 27, 2008.
- Naylor, Brian (August 26, 2008). "Interpreting Michelle Obama's speech". NPR. Retrieved August 27, 2008.
- Pallasch, Abdon M. (August 26, 2008). "Michelle Obama celebrates Chicago roots". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on August 29, 2008. Retrieved August 26, 2008.
- Helman, Scott (August 26, 2008). "Reaching back to her Chicago roots, Obama tells an American story". Boston Globe. Retrieved August 27, 2008.
- "Michelle Obama attacked over patriotism gaffe". The Daily Telegraph. February 19, 2008. Retrieved August 18, 2015.
- Suellentrop, Chris (August 25, 2008). "Michelle Obama's high note". The New York Times. Retrieved August 27, 2008.
- "Michelle Obama Favorable Rating Reaches Highest Level Ever". Rasmussen Reports. August 29, 2008. Archived from the original on September 12, 2008. Retrieved November 12, 2008.
- Blow, Charles M. (October 9, 2008). "Are We Past The 'Bradley Effect'?". The New York Times. Retrieved October 13, 2008.
- Seelye, Katharine Q. (October 9, 2008). "Michelle Obama Dismisses Criticisms". The New York Times. Retrieved October 13, 2008.
- "Fox refers to Michelle Obama as 'baby mama': TV graphic read: 'Outraged liberals: Stop picking on Obama's baby mama'". MSNBC. June 12, 2008. Retrieved October 13, 2008.
- Spillius, Alex (June 13, 2008). "Fox News presenter taken off air after Barack Obama 'terrorist fist jab' remark". The Daily Telegraph. U.K. Archived from the original on July 19, 2008. Retrieved October 13, 2008.
- Cloud, John (November 3, 2008). "4. Fist bump". Time. Retrieved January 8, 2009.
- Romano, Lois (March 31, 2009). "Michelle's Image: From Off-Putting To Spot-On". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 4, 2009.
- Alter, Jonathan (March 7, 2009). "An Army of Changemakers". Newsweek. Retrieved April 6, 2009.
- Swarns, Rachel L. (February 7, 2009). "'Mom in Chief' Touches on Policy; Tongues Wag". The New York Times. Retrieved April 8, 2009.
- "Michelle Obama gets new chief of staff". United Press International. June 5, 2009. Retrieved July 27, 2009.
- "First lady chief staff leave". Daily mail. Retrieved May 8, 2015.
- Joyce Eng (December 10, 2009). "Michelle Obama Named "Most Fascinating" Person of 2009". TVGuide.com.
- "First Lady Michelle Obama". WhiteHouse.gov. Retrieved April 6, 2010.
- Walsh, Kenneth T. (March 26, 2009). "Michelle Obama Makes Military Families Her Mission: The first lady is often moved by accounts of personal sacrifice by service families". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved April 7, 2009.
- "President Obama, Michelle Obama Receive Highest Award in Homeless Veteran Advocacy". Huffington post. April 27, 2012. Retrieved August 16, 2015.
- "Michelle Obama And Dr. Jill Biden To Receive 2015 Jerald Washington Memorial Founders' Award For Efforts To End Veteran Homelessness". Retrieved August 16, 2015.
- Michelle Cottle (November 13, 2013). "Leaning Out: How Michelle Obama became a feminist nightmare.". Politico. Retrieved November 25, 2013.
- Harris-Perry, Melissa (November 23, 2013). "Michelle Obama a 'feminist nightmare'? Please.". MSNBC. Retrieved February 23, 2015.
- Howard Kurtz (November 25, 2013). "Flunking Feminism? Why Michelle Obama keeps playing it safe". Fox News. Retrieved November 25, 2013.
- Aviva Shen (November 22, 2013). "Michelle Obama Derided For Being A 'Feminist Nightmare'". ThinkProgress.org. Retrieved November 25, 2013.
- "Bring Back Our Girls: Michelle Obama and Malala Yousafzai support campaign for return of kidnapped Nigeria schoolgirls". The Independent. May 8, 2014. Retrieved July 21, 2014.
- "Barack Obama or Michelle Obama Could Run For President in 2016 and Beyond". The Daily Beast. June 23, 2011.
- "Michelle Obama: Future presidential candidate?". blog.constitutioncenter.org. January 7, 2013.
- Balan, Matthew (April 6, 2009). "CNN.com Poll: ‘Should Michelle Obama Run For President in 2020?’".
- Zimmerman, Neetzan. "Poll: Michelle Obama would be Hillary’s strongest Dem rival in 2016". The Hill.
- "What If Michelle Obama Challenged Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Nomination?". rasmussenreports.com. May 14, 2015.
- Riehl, Dan (May 14, 2015). "Americans Overwhelmingly Oppose A Michelle Obama Presidential Run".
- "Michelle Obama won't run for president, Barack says". January 14, 2016.
- Shabad, Rebecca. "What are the chances Michelle Obama will run for president?".
- "Michelle Obama: 'I will not run for president'". CNN. March 16, 2016.
- Bedard, Paul (March 28, 2009). "Michelle Obama Goes Organic and Brings in the Bees". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved April 7, 2009.
- Black, Jane (March 20, 2009). "Shovel-Ready Project: A White House Garden". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 3, 2009.
- Stolberg, Sheryl Gay (January 14, 2010). "After a Year of Learning, the First Lady Seeks Out a Legacy". The New York Times. p. A20. Retrieved April 6, 2010.
- "White House Photo Blog: Wednesday, June 17, 2009: First Garden". Time. June 17, 2009. Retrieved April 7, 2010.
- Darensbourg, Lauren (May 27, 2011). "Let's Move!". Letsmove.gov. Retrieved August 10, 2011.
- "White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity Report to the President | Let's Move!". Letsmove.gov. Retrieved December 15, 2012.
- Benac, Nancy (June 1, 2012). "Michelle Obama's Book on Growing Seeds and Healthy Kids". The Ledger. Associated Press.
- Daniel, Lisa. "Family Matters: Tackling Obesity, for Security's Sake." DoD, July 23, 2012.
- Chumley, Cheryl K. (October 17, 2014). "Rand Paul to Michelle Obama: Look at me — I’m at Dunkin’ Donuts". Washington Times.
- "Chris Christie: Michelle Obama ‘has no business’ meddling in school lunches". Washington Times. January 19, 2016.
- "Christie Takes a Tougher Tone against Michelle Obama's School-Lunch Reforms". National Review. January 21, 2016.
- Camia, Catalina (May 8, 2013). "Michelle Obama: Chris Christie is 'terrific'".
- "Ted Cruz Takes Shot at First Lady Michelle Obama". www.mediaite.com. February 1, 2016.
- "Michelle Obama speaks to gay Democrats". Reuters. June 27, 2008. Retrieved January 22, 2013.
- "The audacity of hope – 'from Selma to Stonewall'". TMP. June 27, 2008. Archived from the original on March 7, 2009. Retrieved January 22, 2013.
- "Michelle Obama Speaks to LGBT Delegates at Convention Lunch". Towleroad. August 27, 2008. Retrieved January 22, 2013.
- "Michelle Obama Welcomes Gay Families to National Military Initiative". The Advocate. September 19, 2011. Retrieved January 22, 2013.
- "Jarrett, Michelle Obama pushed for gay marriage". Politico. March 20, 2012. Retrieved May 9, 2012.
- "Michelle Obama Supports Marriage Equality So That 'Everyone Is Equal Under The Law'". Washington Wire. June 1, 2012. Retrieved January 22, 2013.
- "Michelle Obama, Rahm Emanuel Make Gay Marriage a Selling Point at Convention". Advertising Age. September 5, 2012. Retrieved January 22, 2013.
- Kantor, Jodi (November 18, 2011). "First Lady Takes on the Role of Staff Energizer". New York Times.
- Kantor, Jodi (September 3, 2012). "First Lady Strives for Caring Image Above Partisan Fray". The New York Times.
- Silverman, Stephen M. (April 8, 2010). "Michelle Obama in a Tie for Tallest First Lady".
- Mason, Julie (October 17, 2011). "Michelle Obama shifts into 2012 mode". POLITICO.
- "Can Michelle Obama help her husband win?". CBS News. July 24, 2012.
- "First lady seeks to reignite flame for president". CNN. September 4, 2012.
- Wilkinson, Isabel (November 7, 2012). "Michelle Obama's Signs of Fashion Restraint on Election Night". The Daily Beast.
- Meckler, Laura (October 2, 2012). "Michelle Obama: Husband Is ‘Good Debater’". The Wall Street Journal.
- Hamby, Peter; Preston, Mark; Steinhauser, Paul (October 4, 2012). "5 things we learned from the presidential debate". CNN.com.
- Ward, Jon (October 4, 2012). "Mitt Romney Versus Obama: 4 Key Moments From First Presidential Debate". The Huffington Post.
- "Poll: Uncommitted voters say Romney wins debate". CBS News.
- "Michelle Obama, Ann Romney get positive ratings after conventions". CBS News. December 14, 2012.
- Harris, Paul (October 26, 2012). "Michelle Obama and Ann Romney target female voters on campaign trail". The Guardian.
- Groer, Ann (October 21, 2012). "Michelle Obama and Ann Romney: Compare and contrast". Washington Post.
- "Ann Romney Versus Michelle Obama: Two Women, 30 Days". nymag.com. November 6, 2012.
- Cottle, Michelle (November 9, 2012). "BATTLE OF THE FIRST LADIES: MICHELLE OBAMA VS. ANN ROMNEY".
- Fagan, Kevin (May 17, 2009). "Michelle Obama inspires UC Merced graduates".
- McCall, Tyler (August 28, 2013). "MICHELLE OBAMA WEARS TRACY REESE TO COMMEMORATE MARCH ON WASHINGTON". fashionista.com.
- Denley, Susan. "Michelle Obama wears Tracy Reese at March on Washington commemoration". Los Angeles Times.
- "Michelle Obama shines in Tracy Reese's flowers". USA Today. August 28, 2013.
- Mitzeliotis, Katrina (August 28, 2013). "Michelle Obama Stuns for the March on Washington Anniversary". Hollywood Life.
- "Selma 50th anniversary jubilee: President Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, 100 members Congress converge". gulflive.com. March 7, 2015.
- Howley, Patrick. "Michelle Obama: Sasha Would Have Gotten Her Head Beaten In Selma". Daily Caller.
- Mason, Jeff (March 7, 2015). "On Selma anniversary, Obama says racial progress made but more needed". Reuters.
- Workneh, Lilly (March 7, 2015). "President Obama, First Family Lead The Way in Historic March Across Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma". The Huffington Post.
- Atagi, Colin (July 27, 2015). "Michelle Obama visits Coachella Valley". The Desert Sun.
- "Prince Harry Visits Virginia Military Base With Michelle Obama, Jill Biden". Huffington Post. October 28, 2015.
- "President Obama, First Lady Meet With Families of Victims in San Bernardino Terror Attack". ktla.com. December 18, 2015.
- "Michelle Obama hugs Queen – breaks royal protocol!". April 2, 2009.
- "Michelle Obama hugs the Queen". Telegraph. April 2, 2009.
- "Michelle Obama charms Britain, hugs queen". NBC News. April 2, 2009.
- Givhan, Robin (April 13, 2010). "Robin Givhan examines Michelle Obama's first trip abroad alone". Washington Post.
- Lacey, Marc (April 14, 2010). "Mexico Embraces Michelle Obama". New York Times.
- "First lady Obama arrives in Mexico". CNN. April 14, 2010.
- Givhan, Robin (April 15, 2010). "The age of youth: Traveling abroad, first lady Michelle Obama makes kids Topic 1". Washington Post.
- "First Lady Michelle Obama Says Mexico Still Safe for Travel". ABC News. April 14, 2010.
- "Michelle Obama and her daughters arrive in South Africa". CNN.
- Mason, Jeffery (June 21, 2011). "Michelle Obama arrives in Africa, her second solo trip abroad as US First Lady". Al Arabiya News.
- Thompson, Krissah (June 25, 2011). "First family goes on safari in South Africa".
- "First lady Michelle to visit China with daughters". China National News. Retrieved March 4, 2014.
- "First lady Michelle Obama faces scrutiny for China trip with daughters, mom". CBS News. March 18, 2014.
- Martinez, Michael (March 20, 2014). "Michelle Obama arrives in China for official visit". CNN.
- "In China, Michelle Obama calls for universal rights". USA Today. March 22, 2014.
- "Michelle Obama causes outrage in Saudi Arabia by not wearing headscarf". telegraph.co.uk. January 28, 2015.
- "First Lady Michelle Obama Catches Heat For Outfit Choice in Saudi Arabia". CBS New York. January 28, 2015.
- "Michelle Obama Doesn't Owe Anyone a Head Scarf". New Yorker. January 28, 2015.
- Puente, Maria (January 27, 2015). "Michelle Obama picks loose clothing, no scarf in Arabia". USA Today.
- "What Michelle Obama Didn't Wear in Saudi Arabia". Bloomberg. January 27, 2015.
- Superville, Darlene (June 12, 2015). "Michelle Obama follows predecessors with foreign travel". Associated Press.
- "Michelle Obama to Promote Education Initiative in Mideast Trip". voanews.com. October 28, 2015.
- "'Disappointed' Michelle Obama calls off Jordan trip". france24.com. November 5, 2015.
- "Obama's Cuba visit to augur a 'new beginning' between nations". Los Angeles Times. March 18, 2016.
- "Malia and Sasha Obama Will Join the President and First Lady for Landmark Cuba Trip". People.com. March 17, 2016.
- Boyer, Dave (March 24, 2016). "Obama brings two fuel-guzzlers to serve as Air Force One in Argentina". The Washington Times.
- "Michelle Obama Tangos in a Magnificent Metallic Dress". Huffington Post. March 24, 2016.
- "Barack and Michelle Obama tango in Argentina". telegraph.co.uk. March 24, 2016.
- Sandoval, Michael (October 11, 2010). "Bill Clinton to Follow Michelle Obama in Stumping for Bennet". National Review.
- Walsh, Kenneth T. (July 28, 2014). "Michelle Obama Stumps for Votes". US News.
- "Michelle Obama Hits Campaign Trail With Soft-Sell Message". The New York Times. October 13, 2010.
- Henderson, Nia-Malika. "Michelle Obama hits campaign trail for Democrats". The Washington Post.
- Henry, Ed (October 13, 2010). "The Sweep: 'Reluctant warrior' Michelle Obama dives into midterms". CNN.
- "Michelle Obama: No first-year do-overs". NBC News. January 13, 2010.
- Rothenberg, Stuart (August 17, 2010). "Is Michelle Obama Democrats' Secret Weapon?".
- "Two-thirds give first lady thumbs up". CNN. October 13, 2010.
- "Michelle Obama Campaigns for Democrats in US Midterm Elections". voanews.com. October 13, 2010.
- "Michelle Obama's favored candidates: 6 wins, 7 losses". Los Angeles Times. November 6, 2010.
- "While her husband is shunned, Michelle Obama hits campaign trail". McClatchyDC. October 23, 2014.
- Hartfield, Elizabeth (September 8, 2014). "Michelle Obama hits the campaign trail". CNN.
- "Michelle Obama on 2014 midterms: Be hungry, Democrats". MSNBC. July 28, 2014.
- "Michelle Obama to Democrats: Get Hungry for Midterms". newsmax.com. July 28, 2014.
- Calmes, Jackie (October 3, 2014). "Why Is First Lady Scarce in Campaign? Her Last Name Is Obama". The New York Times.
- AlHajal, Khalil (October 10, 2014). "Michelle Obama in Detroit: Stakes could not be higher in midterm elections". mlive.com.
- "Michelle Obama remains distanced from 2014 elections". Washington Examiner. October 4, 2014.
- "Michelle Obama out in full force for 'Barack's last campaign'". Washington Post. November 3, 2014.
- "First Lady Michelle Obama raises money for Democrats in Chicago". Chicago Tribune. July 24, 2014.
- "Michelle Obama". Biography.com. A&E Network. Archived from the original on March 25, 2009. Retrieved April 5, 2009.
- O'Neil, Nicole (April 2009). "First Lady style: Michelle Obama". U.K. MSN. Retrieved April 5, 2009.
- "The Harvard 100". 02138. September 2007.
- "Michelle Obama makes best-dressed list: For the second year in a row, Obama's style puts her on Vanity Fair's list". MSNBC. July 30, 2008. Retrieved October 13, 2008.
- "Michelle Obama among 10 best dressed women: People magazine". The Economic Times. India. September 18, 2008. Retrieved April 4, 2009.
- "Michelle Obama, Rihanna Named To People's Best Dressed List". Access Hollywood. September 17, 2008. Retrieved April 4, 2009.
- Samuels, Allison (November 22, 2008). "What Michelle Means to Us: We've never had a First Lady quite like Michelle Obama. How she'll change the world's image of African-American women—and the way we see ourselves.". Newsweek. Archived from the original on December 16, 2008. Retrieved January 9, 2009.
- Fiori, Pamela (February 2009). "She's Got It!". Town & Country. pp. 78–83. Retrieved April 4, 2009.
- Von Glinow, Kiki (March 9, 2009). "The New Black". Newsweek. Retrieved April 7, 2009.
- Soller, Kurt (February 18, 2009). "Is Michelle Obama Diversifying Model Portfolios? Not So Much". Newsweek. Retrieved August 24, 2014.
- Trebay, Guy (February 13, 2009). "Has the 'Obama Effect' Come to Runway Castings?". The New York Times. Retrieved April 7, 2009.
- Stone, Daniel (April 3, 2009). "Mixed Review". Newsweek. Retrieved April 4, 2009.
- Scherer, Michael (April 2, 2009). "Michelle Obama Finds Her Role on the World Stage". Time. Retrieved April 6, 2009.
- Chua-Eoan, Howard (April 1, 2009). "The Queen and Mrs. Obama: A Breach in Protocol". Time. Retrieved April 6, 2009.
- Bailey, Holly (April 2, 2009). "Touch Her ... If You Dare". Newsweek. Retrieved April 6, 2009.
- Bailey, Holly (April 1, 2009). "G-20 Gossip: No Touching, Please". Newsweek. Retrieved August 24, 2014.
- Trebay, Guy (June 8, 2008). "She Dresses to Win". The New York Times. Retrieved October 13, 2008.
- Springen, Karen and Jonathan Darman (January 29, 2007). "Ground Support: Michelle Obama Has Seemed Ambivalent About Barack's'08 Run. But She's Provided The Entree For Him To Give It A Go.". Newsweek. Retrieved November 16, 2008.
- Horyn, Cathy (December 28, 2012). "First in Fashion". The New York Times. Retrieved March 15, 2013.
- Wilson, Eric (February 27, 2009). "Mrs. Obama in Kors". and "Mrs. Obama's Inaugural Wardrobe by Many Designers". The New York Times. January 21, 2013. Retrieved March 17, 2013.
- Serjeant, Jill (February 11, 2009). "Michelle Obama graces cover of Vogue magazine". Reuters. Retrieved February 14, 2009.
- "Michelle Obama makes Vogue cover". BBC. February 11, 2009. Retrieved February 14, 2009.
- Tschorn, Adam (February 11, 2009). "All the Rage: The Image Staff Muses On The Culture of Keeping Up Appearance in Hollywood and Beyond". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 14, 2009.
- "Better Homes and Gardens put first woman on its cover | BabyCenter Blog". Blogs.babycenter.com. July 22, 2011. Retrieved December 14, 2012.
- "Michelle Obama surprises Oscars by presenting Best Picture award". Reuters. February 24, 2013. Retrieved February 25, 2013.
- Felchner, Morgan E. (November 14, 2008). "For Mom-in-Chief Michelle Obama and Women Everywhere, It's About Choice". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved January 10, 2009.
- Obama, Michelle (October 17, 2008). "Michelle Obama: As Barack's First Lady, I Would Work to Help Working Families and Military Families". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved January 10, 2009.
- Klaidman, Daniel (November 22, 2008). "The Editor's Desk". Newsweek. Retrieved January 9, 2009.
- Erbe, Bonnie (November 13, 2008). "Michelle Obama Is Making Herself a Stay-at-Home Mom, Not the Media". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved January 10, 2009.
- Erbe, Bonnie (November 6, 2008). "Barack and Michelle Obama Sound Tone-Deaf on Women's Issues". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved January 10, 2009.
- Colbert, David (2008). Michelle Obama, An American Story. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN 0-547-24770-2.
- Lightfoot, Elizabeth (2008). Michelle Obama: First Lady of Hope. The Lyons Press. ISBN 1-59921-521-7.
- Mundy, Liza (2008). Michelle Obama, A Life. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 1-4165-9943-6.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Michelle Obama.|
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Michelle Obama|
- First Lady Michelle Obama at Whitehouse.gov
- "About Michelle Obama" at BarackObama.com
- Michelle Obama at DMOZ
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- Michelle Obama at C-SPAN's First Ladies: Influence & Image
- Michelle Obama at the Internet Movie Database
- Michelle Obama at TED
- Works by or about Michelle Obama in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- Michelle Obama collected news and commentary at Chicago Tribune
- Michelle Obama collected news and commentary at The New York Times
- Michelle Obama collected news and commentary at U.S.News & World Report
- Michelle Obama On Love, Family & Politics, interview with Katie Couric of CBS News, February 15, 2008
- Michelle Obama's Roots links to genealogical research by Megan Smolenyak featured in the New York Times and Huffington Post
|First Lady of the United States
|Honorary Chairperson of the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities