Michelle Obama to Set Record for First Lady Television Appearances

Michelle Obama to Set Record for First Lady Television Appearances

Michelle Obama has appeared on television more times than previous first ladies, enabling her to promote her causes and the president.

Published April 24, 2012

First Lady Michelle Obama has hosted contestants at the White House on NBC’s The Biggest Loser. She’s also presented an award at the 2012 BET Honors; done pushups with talk show host Ellen DeGeneres; played tug of war with Jimmy Fallon; served as a judge on Bravo’s Top Chef; honored military families on Nickelodeon’s iCarly; and done the late-night circuit with comedians Stephen Colbert, David Letterman and Jay Leno.

In total, Obama has appeared on television 44 times during her first four years in the White House, compared to Laura Bush’s 12 appearances on the small screen between 2001 and 2004, Fox News reports.

Part of that can be attributed to the explosion of cable television and reality programming. But as Dan Gainor of the Media Research Center told the network, Hollywood loves the Democrats and Republican first ladies “would get nowhere near the Hollywood support” or be as popular as Michelle Obama. He also said she’s made more cameos “than dare I say many big name actors and actresses.”

It’s a win-win for the Obamas. She gets to push her passion projects such as the “Joining Forces” initiative to support military families and veterans, and “Let’s Move,” a campaign to combat childhood obesity. At the same time, the first lady can also promote her husband.

Democratic political strategist Doug Schoen told Fox she’s “a terrific asset” for President Obama, but added that while “[her] initiatives are sincere,” it would be “wrong not to understand there is a political motivation” for so many appearances.

Gainor agrees.

“What she’s doing is political,” he said. “She’s getting her face out there because it’s an election year.”

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(Photo: ABC)

Written by Joyce Jones


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