Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

First Lady Wrongly Unhappy with Book

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

First Lady Wrongly Unhappy with Book

Article excerpt

Michelle Obama has no reason to complain about her treatment at the hands of Jodi Kantor, whose book, "The Obamas," presents her in such an overwhelmingly positive light that Connie Schultz's New York Times review said admiringly that it was the first book about the Obama presidency to give the first lady her due.

So it's more than surprising to see the first lady pushing back against . . . nothing, defensively telling Gayle King on "CBS This Morning," "I guess it's more interesting to imagine this conflicted situation here and a strong woman -- you know. But that's been an image that people have tried to paint of me since the day Barack announced (that he was running for president): That I'm some angry black woman." Wowza.

I have just bought the book and have not read every word, but I have seen nothing in either the book or any quotes pulled from it that suggests the first lady is any such thing, so why put that phrase out there?

Ms. Kantor tells me Michelle Obama is not depicted as any kind of angry but merely as anxious for all to go well. Is that a bad thing?

"I've gotten notes from liberal Democrats who don't like Rahm (Emanuel, former White House chief of staff, with whom the first lady is characterized as having had philosophical differences,) and they say, 'I loved your story because I always imagined Michelle Obama had our back.' " Again, how is this a negative?

"Is it really a secret that not everything in this White House has gone perfectly?" Ms. Kantor asks. As for the pushback, the author says, "My only theory is that so little has come out about the inner workings of the East Wing that her world has been very carefully guarded, and being written about is hard enough to begin with." Gosh, Jodi, such a hater you are. Ms. Kantor says that, if anything, she feels her nuanced portrait was "humanizing."

Of course, most story subjects would prefer hard labor to being humanized. …

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