Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Obamas by Jodi Kantor

This really isn't a tell-all memoirs from inside the Obama White House.

Kantor has done some interviews and asked a few questions to come up with this brief look at the Obama family - particularly Michelle and how she handled the transition from Chicago to the brightest spotlight in America.

Kantor reveals that Michelle wanted to stay in Chicago with the girls while President Obama moved to Washington until their girls finished the school year. This is just one example of the naive thinking of this powerful couple. Of course they ended up moving as a family to D.C.

Michelle Obama is a force like no other. She is not at all like Laura Bush nor does she reflect Hillary Clinton. However, she is harsh critic of her husband in that she doesn't believe politics can bring about honest change.    She also protects her husband's time and schedule like a momma bear.

The Obama administration didn't really know how to interact with Michelle. The President actually staffed out how he would ask her not to do something or to stump for his policies.

Like previous First Ladies, when the President's approval ratings tanked, Michelle was brought out because hers were through the roof. (Of course she did have a few missteps early on: flying to Europe during her husband's birthday and wearing uber expensive dresses)

While Kantor is an Obama fan, she doesn't delve too far into politics. I'm sure we can leave that to Bob Woodward and other "writing heads". Kantor keeps it within the couple's relationship and how they interact with the Washington elites.

Michelle hates to schmooze with the wives and daughters of Congress men. President Obama doesn't like to shake hands and pose for pictures. He has been accused of being too self-centered and not willing to reach out to those who helped him get elected.

The only huge blow up that Kantor reveals is between former Press Secretary Gibbs and Obama-tight-friend Valerie Jarrett. Jarrett claimed Michelle didn't approve of how Gibbs handled a situation, Gibbs went off on an F-bomb tirade, and storming out of a meeting. It is later revealed that Jarrett made the whole disapproval up. Seems Jarrett is incredibly territorial and makes all other staff members ill at ease.

This is more family-oriented that policy-wonk material. So take it as it is.

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