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A First Lady Gets Personal

Her Book Touches on the Obvious, Yet, Still Surprises

WASHINGTON--For anyone who’s wondering: No, she’s not running. In her new memoir, “Becoming”--a book whose reportedly enormous advance rendered its contents almost as closely guarded as the bullion at Fort Knox--Michelle Obama puts to rest any speculation about her political ambitions. “I’ve never been a fan of politics,” she writes, “and my experience over the last 10 years has done little to change that.”

I’ve never been a fan of politics

Note how she says “the last 10 years,” not two. She emerges in these pages as a first lady who steadfastly believed in her husband’s abilities but had no illusions that the sludge of partisanship and racism would melt away under the sunny slogans of hope and change. A month after President Obama started his first term in 2009, Michelle Obama was sitting in the balcony during a joint session of Congress, where she could see a cadre of Republicans scowling while her husband delivered his address. “ They would fight everything Barack did, I realized, whether it was good for the country or not.” She continues, “It seemed they just wanted Barack to fail.”

This might sound like the acuity of hindsight if it weren’t consistent with the woman she had already shown herself to be: Michelle, the wry, orderly realist to the dreamy, cerebral Barack, joking on the 2008 campaign trail about her husband’s slovenly habits in the real world. She also talked candidly then about how the popular enthusiasm for him and his message--in a country in which the prospect of a Black president had seemed far-fetched even to her--made her feel. “For the first time in my adult lifetime,” she told a crowd before the Wisconsin primaries, “I’m really proud of my country.” ..To read more, subscribe to the blackchronicle newspaper

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