Michelle Obama Denies East Wing-West Wing Rift

The first lady says people like to portray her as an “angry Black woman.”

Posted: 01/11/2012 11:37 AM EST
2012 presidential election, White House, Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Let's Move

The Obamas has been the talk of many towns since before it hit bookstore shelves. In an interview on CBS This Morning, the subject of most of that talk — Michelle Obama — had her say. The first lady told co-host Gayle King that the friction between her and former White House chief of staff Rahm Emmanuel and former press secretary Robert Gibbs depicted in the book is untrue and that she has little interaction with the West Wing of the White House. She also said that since her husband announced his first presidential bid, people have sought to portray her as the stereotypical “angry Black woman.”

“I guess it’s more interesting to imagine this conflicted situation here and a strong woman…but that’s been an image that people have tried to paint of me since...the day Barack announced [his run for the presidency], that I’m some angry Black woman,” she said.

Obama said that she hasn’t read the book, which was written by New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor, and questioned, “what third person can tell me how I feel, or anybody for that matter.”

“You know, I just try to be me. And my hope is that over time people get to know me. And they get to judge me for me,” she said.

The first lady also talked about life in the White House, which she said has been both a privilege and a challenge.

“I love this job. It has been a privilege from day one,” she said. “Now there are challenges, with being a mother, and trying to keep your kids sane, and I worry a lot about that. I mean, if there is any anxiety that I feel it’s because I want to be sure that my girls come out of this on the other end whole. But me, Barack, we’re grown-ups, you know; all the ups and downs, you know, we take it on.”

Obama said she doesn’t talk with her husband’s staff and that she doesn’t attend meetings, but that’s not to say she doesn’t have any influence.

“I do care deeply about my husband. I am his biggest ally. I am one of his biggest confidantes,” she said. “But he has dozens of really smart people around him. That’s not to say that we don’t have discussions and conversations. That’s not to say that my husband doesn’t know how I feel.”

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(Photo: AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari, File)