First Lady Michelle Obama Talks with the TJMS

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Michelle Obama is not a technically elected part of Obama Administration, but just as the First Ladies before her, she has her role to play. The First Lady’s job is of course to support her husband, as Mrs. Obama memorably did in her now famous Democratic National Convention speech last month. But it’s also a ceremonial position that allows the president’s spouse to embrace causes she truly cares about and to represent the United States around the world. The next election will be an important one for America, with issues of health, education, the economy, foreign policy all a priority. President Obama will either make history as the first Black president to remain in office for the full term he’s allotted, or as the first Black president to go down as a one-termer. Both candidate Obama and his opponent Mitt Romney are family men with solid, long-term marriages. But only one is married to Michelle Obama. Here are five reasons why Mrs. Obama deserves a second term.

SHE REPRESENTS THE PROFESSIONAL BLACK WOMAN

As disgusted as most of us are by the rachetness of black women on reality TV, most of us still watch it. Fortunately, though, our greatest global representative is Michelle Obama, who represents another face of Black women to the world – one that is educated, professional, articulate and stylish. Reality TV plays on the worst stereotypes of black women by promoting uneducated women who are only famous due to their associations with the men in their lives. These women prize materialism and sexuality as a measure of success. Michelle Obama may have gained the White House because of her marriage to a powerful man, but she’s just as educated as he is. She was the family breadwinner and made more money than her husband until he published his best-selling book “Dreams of My Father” and she resigned her position at a Chicago hospital to join him in the White House. Mrs. Obama is a worthy global representative who defies all the most negative stereotypes about Black women. That is one of the best reasons to have her continue as the country’s First Lady.

SHE STANDS BY HER MAN

Because of the fractured families that were a harsh legacy of slavery, African-Americans love to see a strong Black couple. Until the Obamas came to power, Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith and Jay-Z and Beyonce were the most prominent examples of celebrated Black couples with seemingly strong and enduring marriages. The Obamas changed all that. They celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary today (October 3) and the couple has what looks to be a singularly strong and loving bond. Their first joint appearance on “The View” drew 4.3 million viewers in daytime, the show’s highest rating since the President’s last appearance. Michelle’s heartfelt convention speech in support of her husband’s nomination didn’t just get high ratings; it was the most talked about speech of both conventions. And her husband knows Michelle’s value, as her approval ratings are routinely higher than his. He joked at a fundraiser with Jay-Z and Beyonce recently that he and Jay both have wives more popular than they are.

SHE SUPPORTS CAUSES IMPORTANT TO THE BLACK COMMUNITY

Mrs. Obama has thrown her considerable celebrity and goodwill behind projects that are near and dear to the Black community. Amid criticism that her husband doesn’t prioritize the electorate that put him in office, Michelle goes about publicizing things that do impact the community at large. She is a staunch proponent of healthy eating and exercising for children to combat childhood obesity. She is a supporter of military families, many of whom are African-American and have families that face the fallout of an injured soldier returning home who requires care or needs a job. She supports education and mentoring, making several appearances at impoverished schools in the D.C. area and creating programming at the White House that includes young people from a variety of backgrounds. Her own story has proven inspirational for many – that of a woman from the Southside of Chicago who came from a working class background and is now the First Lady of the United States.

SHE’S A FASHION ICON

When Michelle Obama first hit the national spotlight, she wore a matronly flip and wasn’t quite up to the level of fashion she would be. After a few misses early on, the flip is now a sleek bob and she’s become one of the nation’s most glamorous First Ladies ever. Comparisons to the iconic Jacqueline Kennedy, for a long time viewed as the nation’s most fashionable First Lady, have all but disappeared as Mrs. Obama has created her own legend. Whether she’s mixing high and low (J. Crew is a favorite) or wearing American designers from every ethnic background (her inauguration dress was by Asian-American Jason Wu, her recent DNC dress was African-American designer Tracy Reese), Mrs. Obama has come into her own. Her famously sculpted arms have become a fashion statement in and of themselves. The nation’s First Lady presents a model to follow and in Mrs. Obama’s case, she’s inspired a generation of women who aspired to her cool grace and casual to glam fashion choices.

SHE’S A MODEL PARENT

There is no better endorsement for Michelle Obama than her gorgeous daughters, 14-year-old Malia and 11-year-old Sasha. The two girls, seen most recently at the Democratic National Convention, have grown up in the public eye but they’ve taken the scrutiny in stride. The private school educated girls are not an official part of any reelection campaign, though they are visible during family outings and big events like the DNC. Their limited public appearances indicate their parent’s wish to keep them protected from tabloid cruelty. Mrs. Obama has told the media that the family is strict on TV and computer time and that both daughters have to play two sports. Whatever they’re doing, it seems to be working. Fourteen-year-old Malia is poised and gorgeous and almost as tall as her mother. Sasha, once the sassy younger sister, has also blossomed since their public debut as the President’s daughters at the inauguration four years ago. That these girls, with all the attention and privilege they enjoy are seemingly untouched by their extraordinary upbringing, is proof positive that Mrs. Obama and her husband are doing their job as parents. For that reason alone, Mrs. Obama deserves our vote.

The First Lady talked with the TJMS this morning. Read the full transcript below.

TOM JOYNER:  From Colorado, the First Lady of these United States, four more years for the big chief, Ms. Michelle Obama.  Good morning.

MICHELLE OBAMA:  Good morning, Tom.  Morning, Sybil.  How you all doing?

TOM JOYNER:  Doing good.  

SYBIL WILKES:  Good morning.

TOM JOYNER:  Doing good.

SYBIL WILKES:  How are you?

TOM JOYNER:  Yeah.

MICHELLE OBAMA:  Doing great.  You know, ready for, we got a big night tonight, and we’re working hard.  I mean as you guys know voter registration deadlines are fast approaching …

TOM JOYNER:  Yeah.

MICHELLE OBAMA:  … in states all over the country.  Early voting …

TOM JOYNER:  Early voting.

MICHELLE OBAMA:  … has started in Iowa and Ohio.

TOM JOYNER:  Yeah.

MICHELLE OBAMA:  So people are voting, as we speak, they are voting for the next President of the United States.  So, pretty exciting.

TOM JOYNER:  It felt good.  It felt good yesterday when I got to work, I got all these text messages from people in line, in the rain, to early, to early vote in Ohio.

MICHELLE OBAMA:  You know, that is just it.  That’s, that is amazing news on so many different levels, Tom and Sybil, you know, because you all have been working so hard to push voting.  You know?  And I always say this, whether you vote for my husband, or whether you vote for somebody else, the point is that we have to be engaged in this political process.  We have to make sure our voice is heard, are heard.  So it is very refreshing to hear that people are pumped up, standing in line, not you know, not taking anything for granted.  So that’s good news.

TOM JOYNER:  Yeah.

SYBIL WILKES:  And especially young black men.  One of our commentators, Jeff Johnson, has an organization called Black Men Vote.  And it really is vital, that this year especially, that we get a lot of those people who are described, not necessarily are, but are described as disaffected voters.

MICHELLE OBAMA:  Mm-hmm.  

SYBIL WILKES:  And I’m sure you’re seeing some of that, and really telling them what the issues are and how important it is that they get there.

MICHELLE OBAMA:  Well, and as we’ve seen over the past several years, I mean not just the past four years, but for the past decade, you know, who’s in the White House determines so much …

SYBIL WILKES:  Yes.

TOM JOYNER:  Mmm.

MICHELLE OBAMA:  … about how our country looks.  You know, whether or not we have healthcare, when we go to war and why.  Who’s on our Supreme Court?  And the decisions that that Court makes.  You know, how our tax policies work.  I mean, you know, whether kids have money for college grants and student loans.  I mean all of that.  And, and for young people, you know, it is so important for them to understand that they’re going to inherit all of this.  You know?  Like it or not.  You know, Barack and I, you, Sybil, all of us.  We’re going to be moving on to the next phases of our lives and all of these challenges are going to wind up on their lap.

TOM JOYNER:  Yeah.

MICHELLE OBAMA:  And, you know, I want them to be actively engaged as early as possible in shaping the country that they’re going to live in and have to raise their kids in.

SYBIL WILKES:  And give somebody, and give those people that your husband needs, to get these laws passed …

MICHELLE OBAMA:  Absolutely.

SYBIL WILKES:  … in the House, in the Senate.

TOM JOYNER:  Yeah.

MICHELLE OBAMA:  Well, we’re understanding that, you know, you can have a president you love, but if you don’t have a congress that’s willing to work, you know, you wind up stalled in so many ways.  And I think that Barack has done a phenomenal job working around a congress that has never been willing to help move the country forward on so many different issues.  But I think he’s done everything humanly possible to get things passed around the margins.  But, you know, just imagine where this country will be when we have Barack Obama as President and we have a congress that’s ready to work hand-in-hand, and willing to compromise to make sure that this country moves forward for everyone.

TOM JOYNER:  Yeah.

MCHELLE OBAMA:  It’s critical.  It’s critical.  This is an important month before us.  You know?  And the debates are going to happen this evening, as you very well know.  And I think it’s important for people to tune in, just to make sure they understand where each candidate stands on the issues.

TOM JOYNER:  I think everybody is going to be tuned in.  This is going to be a big ratings night,  (Chuckle) tonight.

MICHELLE OBAMA:  (Laugh)

TOM JOYNER:  It’s going to be huge rating.

MICHELLE OBAMA:  Well, I’ll be there.

TOM JOYNER:  And how’s the Big Chief?  Is he ready?

MICHELLE OBAMA:  He’s good.  

TOM JOYNER:  Yeah?

MICHELLE OBAMA:  He’s been in debate prep so he’s, you know, they work hard on these debates.

TOM JOYNER:  Uh-huh?

MICHELLE OBAMA:  You know, so I think he’s calm, and I, you know, I think he’s going to do well because he’s done a great job …

SYBIL WILKES:  Yes he has.

MICHELLE OBAMA:  … over these past four years.  And he has a really good, solid common sense plan for moving this country forward.  Lowering the deficit in a balanced way …

TOM JOYNER:  Yeah.

MICHELLE OBAMA:  … making sure that the wealthiest of us pay a little bit more, while we’re still cutting trillions of dollars off of the budget.  You know, but having money to invest in cleaning our environment and making sure that kids get the education they need.  That we’ve got teachers in the classrooms, that we’ve got police officers on the street.  You know, that we’re building our roads and our bridges.  I mean it’s a plan that is broad-based and really thinking about building, you know, as he says, an economy that’s built to last.  And it requires discipline in terms of our fiscal responsibility, but it also requires a level of investment in our future.  And our future is our young people that we’ve got to make sure they’re getting the kind of education that they need.  And that costs.  There are costs there.

TOM JOYNER:  Are you going to give him the ceremonial fist bump before he goes out?

MICHELLE OBAMA:  (Laugh)

TOM JOYNER:  With a hug and fist bump?

SYBIL WILKES:  Not only is this the number one debate, but this is your anniversary tomorrow.

MICHELLE OBAMA:  Oh, you’re right.  

SYBIL WILKES:  Congratulations!

TOM JOYNER:  Aw, yeah!  

MICHELLE OBAMA:  Oh, yay for us!  

SYBIL WILKES:  (Laugh)

MICHELLE OBAMA:  Celebrating.

SYBIL WILKES:  How many years?

MICHELLE OBAMA:  Twenty years.  Twenty years.

SYBIL WILKES:  Wow.

TOM JOYNER:  You got to give him twenty fist bumps.

SYBIL WILKES:  (Laugh)

MICHELLE OBAMA:  Twenty fist bumps.  Yeah.  It is our anniversary.  Absolutely.

TOM JOYNER:  Alright, Ms. First Lady.

MICHELLE OBAMA:  Yeah.

SYBIL WILKES:  Congratulations.

TOM JOYNER:  Congratulations.

MICHELLE OBAMA:  Made it through.  Two decades.

SYBIL WILKES:  (Laugh)

TOM JOYNER:  (Laugh)

MICHELLE OBAMA:  (Laugh)

SYBIL WILKES:  Well, congratulations.

TOM JOYNER:  Congratulations.

MICHELLE OBAMA:  Thank you.  Thanks so much.

TOM JOYNER:  Alright.  And we’ll be watching tonight.

MICHELLE OBAMA:  Sounds good.  Make sure people go to gottovote.com.  They got to register.  You can’t vote if you’re not registered.  And registration deadlines are fast approaching.  And don’t procrastinate.  If you can early vote do it now and then spend Election Day helping to get other people to the polls.

TOM JOYNER:  Yeah.

SYBIL WILKES:  Wonderful.

MICHELLE OBAMA:  Thank you all so much.  You all are amazing.

SYBIL WILKES:  No, you are amazing.

TOM JOYNER:  No, you are amazing.  (Laugh) You are amazing.  Thank you.  Thank you, First Lady.

MCHELLE OBAMA:  Alright.  

SYBIL WILKES:  God bless you, thank you.

 

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