Archive for March 9th, 2009

THE OBAMA EFFECT-FINALLY MORE BLACK SKINNED DOLLS COMING!-FROM USATODAY.COM

March 9, 2009

AT LAST A TRULY BLACK SKINNED BEAUTY DOLL WITH SORT OF WOOLLY HAIR!

AT LAST A TRULY BLACK SKINNED BEAUTY DOLL WITH SORT OF WOOLLY HAIR!

A BEAUTIFUL BLACK SKINNED DOLL!

A BEAUTIFUL BLACK SKINNED DOLL!

from usatoday.com

Disney adds African-American Princess Tiana to royal family

The Princess and the Frog Tiana doll will be unveiled Monday in New York.

tianamoviex
Princess Tiana in the upcoming Disney movie.

By Charisse Jones, USA TODAY
Move over Snow White. Make room for Princess Tiana.
For the first time, Disney is creating a film with an African-American princess whose doll will make its debut Monday at the American International Toy Fair in New York City.

For Disney, it’s not just about being culturally and politically correct, it’s also about growing its lucrative — but aging — Disney Princess franchise in a tough economy. Created in 1999, Disney Princesses had $4 billion in global retail sales last year.

The cocoa-colored doll, which sports a tiara and a flowing blue gown, and is roughly the size of a Barbie, is expected to sell for about the same $10 to $15 as Barbie. Disney hopes it will boost the franchise through rough times. The $22 billion toy industry saw sales fall about 3% last year, and sales of dolls dropped a hefty 8%, according to the Toy Industry Association.

Though Princess Tiana was on the drawing board long before Barack Obama was elected the nation’s first black president, marketing experts say she signals a growing awareness by industries from toymakers to cosmetic companies that diversity is critical in a nation where people of color will be the majority in little more than 30 years.

FIND MORE STORIES IN: Barack Obama | New York City | Halloween | Barbie | Mattel | Snow White | Style | Frog | Toy Industry Association | International Toy Fair | Mulan | Disney Consumer Products | Disney Princesses
“It’s very significant,” says Lisa Skriloff, president of Multicultural Marketing Resources. “It’s like a stamp of approval for one of the most outstanding family (entertainment) companies to say this is important.”

Tiana, whose story will come to the big screen later this year in the animated musical The Princess and the Frog, is the first princess introduced by Disney since Mulan in 1998.

Disney executives say that they did not set out to make a social statement.

“It was much more about the storytelling,” says Kathy Franklin, vice president, global studio franchise development for Disney Consumer Products. “This was not about a conscious decision to say we need an African-American princess.”

Yet, industry watchers say that when Princess Tiana dolls hit stores in the fall, they will bring diversity to a marketplace where it’s been sorely lacking.

“I think we’re going to see more

Mattel, which has the license to create the Princess Tiana dolls, is planning to release its own line of black dolls in September. Part of the Barbie family, the So In Style dolls are being touted as having a more authentic appearance, from their hair to their varying skin tones.

Disney, which has had great success with its Princess franchise, predicts that sales will surge with the arrival of Tiana.

“We expect our sales of Princess Tiana products to be significant, and not just to African-American households,” says Franklin.

As with her fellow princesses, Tiana merchandise will range from Halloween costumes to backpacks. There are plans for Tiana-theme MP3 players and digital cameras to be in stores by the end of the year, and a line of Princess Tiana and The Princess and the Frog books will go on sale this fall

THE MOST FAMOUS BLACK MAGAZINES ARE IN TROUBLE-EBONY/JET ARE SLIPPING-SUBSCRIBE NOW AND SAVE A BLACK TRADITION!-FROM AFRICANAMERICANSFORBARACKOBAMA@GROUPS.BARACKOBAMA.COM

March 9, 2009

FROM africanamericansforbarackobama@groups.barackobama.com
photo_reallove170

envogue031609
To: “African Americans for Barack Obama” Jim is RIGHT! We can’t afford to allow these two magazines to go under. I was considering letting ALL my magazine subscriptions ( and I have many) go because I put them in the luxury category. Jim made it clear that I was thinking wrong. Therefore, I am making sure that my subscriptions to Ebony and Jet do not lapse! If you feel as I feel,please consider helping keeping them afloat by subscribing or renewing your subscription.Robert

— On Mon, 3/9/09, Jim Summers wrote:

From: Jim Summers
Subject: Ebony/Jet
To:
Date: Monday, March 9, 2009, 12:02 AM

Both of these magazines are prominent in my home. What about yours? I say we do our part to make sure that “Ebony” and “Jet” remain on the same. If you subscribe any other magazine, you definitely should be subscribing to both of these. These magazines were reporting news from our perspective and telling our side of the story when no one else was. Our kids and grandkids should be as aware of these publications as they are of “Newsweek” and “Time.” Please read the email below and subscribe. If you are not sure how to subscribe, here’s a link to the company’s website: ebonyjet.com One of the
MOST notable permanent fixtures in EVERY black household (back in the days),was the Ebony, and Jet magazine.

If you wanted to learn about your history, the plight of black america, current issues facing
black americans, how the political process of america affects you, how politics works, who
the hottest actors were, what time a particular black television show aired, who got married
recently, who were the most eligible bachelors, and bachelorettes in your town, what cities
had black mayors, police chiefs, school superintendents, how to register to vote, what cars
offer the best value for the buck, who employed black americans, how to apply for college
scholarships, ect, MORE THAN LIKELY, the Ebony, or the Jet magazine could help
you find answers to those questions.

We have recently been informed that the Johnson Publishing Company organization is currentlygoing through a financial crisis. The company is attempting a reorganization in order to survive. Many people have already lost their jobs with a company that has employed thousands of black americans during the course of it’s existence.

In order to support this effort to save OUR magazine, my friends and myself have pledged to
get a subscription to both, Ebony, and Jet magazine, starting with one year. We are urging
EVERY other person who comes across this plea, to do the same. Please post, repost, and
post again, to any blog that you may own, or support. Please email this to EVERY person that you know, regardless of their background. Let them know that Ebony, and Jet magazinehas been part of the black american culture for 3 quarters of a century, and that there is a lot
that they can learn about black american culture from reading them.

We are currently discussing the idea of throwing an Ebony/Jet party, where people can eat,
drink, and sign up for their subscription on the spot.. Please spread this idea around to all that
you know. Your sorrorites, fraternities, lodges, VFW posts, churches, civic groups, block clubs,
caps meetings, book clubs, ect.

It would be a crying shame, to lose our historic magazine, during the
same year of such an historic event as the election of our FIRST BLACK president of the US ..

OBAMA-THE BLACK ACTION MAN WILL GET THE JOBS NEEDED TO BE DONE,DONE!-FROM THEPOLITICALCARNIVAL.BLOGSPOT.COM

March 9, 2009

from thepoliticalcarnival.blogspot.com

Thursday, March 5, 2009
To those who say President Obama is taking on too much…

By GottaLaff

Here is President Obama’s response to the naysayers:

To those who say we’re taking on too much… and we should put it off for another day. When times were good, we didn’t get it done. During mild recessions, we didn’t get it done. In peace time, we didn’t get it done. When we were at war, we didn’t get it done. There’s always a reason not to do it. Now is exactly the time. The American people, business, government are looking for solutions to this problem.

I’d say, what better time than now? And what better cause for us to take up. Imagine the pride next year… when we can say, we finally got something done on health care.

Posted by GottaLaff at 4:54 PM
7 comments:
Clancy said…
Too much? Do more! And, faster!

Sincerely,
Clancy

March 5, 2009 5:05 PM
GottaLaff said…
My sentiments exactly.

Best,
Laffy

March 5, 2009 5:06 PM
eve said…
Too much?

Do these people tell the Docs and nurses in the ER to slow down they are doing too much?

March 5, 2009 5:17 PM
Dr. President said…
🙂

March 5, 2009 5:24 PM
Anonymous said…
leeeerve my prez

March 5, 2009 5:49 PM
Lucy said…
“Do these people tell the Docs and nurses in the ER to slow down they are doing too much?”

No, it’s hurry, hurry, hurry.;)

March 5, 2009 6:22 PM
Anonymous said…
Have you ever seen a president take questions from everyone and answer with such knowledge on every subject, this man impresses me every time I see him, ever since he gave that speech for John Kerry in 2004.On the subject of Kerry, did you see how the rethugs made fun of his Viet Nam service when Limbaugh spoke to them, at least Kerry did not get deferments
for a pimple on his backside.

March 5, 2009 6:49 PM

OUR AFRICAN HERITAGE-2 GENERATIONS IN THE HOUSEHOLD-THE OBAMAS HAVE GOT IT RIGHT!-FROM PARENTDISH.COM

March 9, 2009

THE AFRICAN HERITAGE OF GENERATIONS IN THE SAME HOUSEHOLD

THE AFRICAN HERITAGE OF GENERATIONS IN THE SAME HOUSEHOLD

from parentdish.com

The Obamas – A Mother-in-Law in the White House

by Bethany Sanders Jan 12th 2009 2:04PM

Of all the images that came out of Barack Obama’s November 4th victory, one of my favorites is the one of him and his mother-in-law, Marian Robinson, sitting on the couch watching returns … her hand in his. Their bond was so clear in that one photo — not in-laws, but family.

During the Presidential campaign, Mrs. Robinson filled in the parenting gaps while Barack and Michelle Obama were on the road. And now, it seems, she’ll be following the family to Washington to help daughters Malia and Sasha settle in to their new lives.

Though I’ll never live in the White House, I can understand why the Obamas lean so heavily on Mrs. Robinson, why they’d ask her to move out of Chicago, a city she’s lived in their whole lives. She’s not just reliable childcare, she’s Grandma.

Our primary babysitter has always been my mom, and if I was moving across the country, I’d do everything but pack her in my suitcase to make sure she came along with us. Say the word “Grandma” in my house, and two little pairs of eyes light right up. Both Barack and Michelle likely take comfort in the fact that when they aren’t with their girls, Mrs. Robinson — someone who knows them and loves them like their parents — is.

Not all daughters can lean on their mothers so heavily, but when a relationship is strong — without head games or agendas — it works. My mom respects our role as parents, follows through on behavior issues while my kids are at her house, and is my sounding board for all of life’s little issues.

There’s no doubt that sharing his home with his mother-in-law will make Barack Obama the butt of more than a few jokes, but the Obamas have made no secret of their commitment to family, and I think this decision is evidence that the entire family is making the care of those two little girls a priority.

REV. DR. JOSEPH E. LOWERY’S GREAT OBAMA INAUGURATION BENEDICTION-NOTE “BLACK WILL NOT BE ASKED TO GET BACK”-FROM CHICAGO SUNTIMES.COM

March 9, 2009

from suntimes.com

Rev.Dr. Joseph E. Lowery: Inauguration benediction.

By Lynn Sweeton January 20, 2009 (209)
Transcript courtesy Federal News Service

God of our weary years, God of our silent tears, thou who has brought us thus far along the way, thou who has by thy might led us into the light, keep us forever in the path, we pray, lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met thee, lest our hearts, drunk with the wine of the world, we forget thee. Shadowed beneath thy hand may we forever stand — true to thee, O God, and true to our native land.

We truly give thanks for the glorious experience we’ve shared this day. We pray now, O Lord, for your blessing upon thy servant, Barack Obama, the 44th president of these United States, his family and his administration. He has come to this high office at a low moment in the national and, indeed, the global fiscal climate. But because we know you got the whole world in your hand, we pray for not only our nation, but for the community of nations. Our faith does not shrink, though pressed by the flood of mortal ills.

For we know that, Lord, you’re able and you’re willing to work through faithful leadership to restore stability, mend our brokenness, heal our wounds and deliver us from the exploitation of the poor or the least of these and from favoritism toward the rich, the elite of these.

We thank you for the empowering of thy servant, our 44th president, to inspire our nation to believe that, yes, we can work together to achieve a more perfect union. And while we have sown the seeds of greed — the wind of greed and corruption, and even as we reap the whirlwind of social and economic disruption, we seek forgiveness and we come in a spirit of unity and solidarity to commit our support to our president by our willingness to make sacrifices, to respect your creation, to turn to each other and not on each other.

And now, Lord, in the complex arena of human relations, help us to make choices on the side of love, not hate; on the side of inclusion, not exclusion; tolerance, not intolerance.

And as we leave this mountaintop, help us to hold on to the spirit of fellowship and the oneness of our family. Let us take that power back to our homes, our workplaces, our churches, our temples, our mosques, or wherever we seek your will.

Bless President Barack, First Lady Michelle. Look over our little, angelic Sasha and Malia.

We go now to walk together, children, pledging that we won’t get weary in the difficult days ahead. We know you will not leave us alone, with your hands of power and your heart of love.

Help us then, now, Lord, to work for that day when nation shall not lift up sword against nation, when tanks will be beaten into tractors, when every man and every woman shall sit under his or her own vine and fig tree, and none shall be afraid; when justice will roll down like waters and righteousness as a mighty stream.

Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when Black will not be asked to get back, when brown can stick around — (laughter) — when yellow will be mellow — (laughter) — when the red man can get ahead, man — (laughter) — and when white will embrace what is right.
Let all those who do justice and love mercy say amen.

AUDIENCE: Amen!

REV. LOWERY: Say amen —

AUDIENCE: Amen!

REV. LOWERY: — and amen.

AUDIENCE: Amen! (Cheers, applause.)

END.
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
FROM newvillagepress.net

January 20, 2009
In the joy of a new beginning
From the Editor — Lynne Elizabeth @ 8:08 pm

revlowery_pouya_dianat_ajc
Photo of Reverend Joseph Lowery by Pouya Dianat, staff photographer at the Atlanta Constitution [permission pending].

It’s been a day of jubilation, and, as many head off to inaugural parties, local celebrations, and some to fancy balls, I want to share my own gratitude for the closing words of today’s presidential swearing-in ceremony—the benediction offered by the Reverend Joseph E. Lowery.

Reverend Lowery is recognized by the NAACP as “dean of the civil rights movement” and has a lifetime of speaking truth to power. His prayer was a fitting blessing for today’s momentous occasion and the inspiration and wisdom the nation needs.

Thank you, Reverend Lowery, for reminding us to “pray for not only our nation, but for the community of nations.” We are indeed a world community, interconnected and interdependent, economically, environmentally and socially—may we at least respect the heritage of our own citizenry, so very very few of whom come originally from this land. I am still embarrassed by the hubris of this United States and the misbegotten notion that we claim ourselves mightier than others. Let us please extend the vaunted ideal of equality beyond national borders.

Thank you, Reverend Lowery, for asking to “deliver us from the exploitation of the poor, of the least of these, and from favoritism toward the rich, the elite of these.” Our beloved new President has asked us to work with honesty, and here is territory where honesty is especially called for.

Most especially, Reverend Lowery, I thank you for remembering “in the complex arena of human relations, help us to make choices on the side of love, not hate; on the side of inclusion, not exclusion; tolerance, not intolerance.”

These are not just a thoughtful minister’s platitudes and requests to a higher power, but the foundational values that will lead us all to the happiness and prosperity that President Obama entreats us to work for. May we be blessed by taking heed.

STAND BY YOUR BLACK MAN!-MICHELLE OBAMA DID!-FROM TIME MAGAZINE,JAN. 2008

March 9, 2009

from time.com

michelle_obama_0124
Michelle Obama Finds Her Voice Too

By Jay Newton-Small/Columbia Thursday, Jan. 24, 2008
Michelle Obama speaks at Rancho High School in Las Vegas, Nevada, January 17, 2008.

On the stage the night he conceded the New Hampshire primary, Barack Obama looked exhausted. Closing his eyes for a moment, he leaned back on his wife, Michelle, who encircled his waist with one arm, giving him a squeeze, while pumping her other fist in the air, as if in victory. If anything, Michelle looked, in the words of her husband’s campaign slogan, “fired up” and “ready to go”.

Obama leans on his wife in many ways — for support, for advice, for grounding and increasingly for her fighting words. In an increasingly nasty race that seems to pit the Illinois Senator against not just a former First Lady but her ex-President husband as well, Obama needs Michelle more than ever. This week, for the first time since Barack Obama launched his campaign 11 months ago, Michelle Obama has left the couple’s two young girls at home with her mother and hit the campaign trail full-time. While she’s no Bill Clinton, Obama does have sharp elbows. One of her more pointed remarks is about how “things have gotten continually worse over my lifetime,” implying the Clinton era did little to help “regular folks” like her and her family. And in a forcefully worded fund-raising letter sent out Thursday, she says, “What we didn’t expect, at least not from our fellow Democrats, are the win-at-all-costs tactics we’ve seen recently. We didn’t expect misleading accusations that willfully distort Barack’s record… We’ve seen disingenuous attacks and smear tactics turn people off from the political process for too long, and enough is enough.”

But more importantly, as she tours South Carolina, speaking on behalf of her husband, she has become the real-life example of Obama’s soaring rhetoric. “I was raised in a working class family on the South Side of Chicago, that’s how I identify myself, a working class girl,” Michelle told a group of students at the University of South Carolina Wednesday. “My mother came home and took care of us through high school, my father was a city shift worker who took care of us all his life. The only amazing thing about my life is that a man like my father could raise a family of four on a single city worker’s salary.”

Obama’s conventional background contrasts with her husband’s childhood, growing up between Hawaii and Indonesia, to which few of his supporters can relate. Where Barack Obama’s speeches are all about soaring rhetoric, with very few mentions of his personal upbringing, his wife focuses on her childhood, telling her story from the ground up. “You think of my parents who didn’t go to college, who sent not one but two of us to Princeton, my brother and I,” she told the 200 or so students that came to hear her speak. “And the one thing that is clear to me as I’ve traveled the country is the story of my father is the story of America, I don’t care what color what folks are, I don’t care if they grew up on a farm or in the inner city.”

Not surprisingly, Michelle Obama resonates especially with black women, many of whom are torn between voting for the first woman President or the first black President. While Obama tries not to focus on race or the historic nature of his candidacy, his wife has no such qualms. In front of black audiences, like one at Benedict College in Columbia, she takes on a much more strident tone. There on Sunday she marveled at how a “little black girl from the south side of Chicago” could be “the next First Lady,” she told the audience to a standing ovation — one of four she received during her that speech.

“We are confronted with the doubters. People who tells us what we can’t do. You’re not ready. You’re not good enough. You’re not smart enough. You’re too tall,” she said as the audience chuckled (Michelle is 5’11”), mindful of the increasingly heated rhetoric flying between the Clinton and Obama campaigns. Growing serious, she continued: “Each and every one of you here has heard and felt those ceilings, somebody pushing you down, defining your limitations, who are you? You know damn well what you are capable of doing… This election is just as much about that as it is about change because the truth is there are millions of shining little lights just like me all over this country. Kids living in the shadows, being told by their own communities what they can and cannot do. This is an opportunity for all of us to send a different message to all those shining lights.”

Her policy-lite message often helps women — a demographic Obama has lost in the last two primary contests — feel better about voting for her husband over New York Senator Hillary Clinton. “She was really a real person, I was inspired, just in awe,” Haley Dreis, 18, a freshman at the University of South Carolina, said after seeing Michelle speak. Dreis had been split between Clinton and Obama but was leaning Obama after seeing Michelle. And while Obama’s rallies tend to get the crowd chanting and energized, Michelle Obama’s are much more poignant, sometimes bringing attendees to tears. At that same speech Amindi Imoh, 18, found himself welling up when she talked about the sacrifices her parents had made. His own parents immigrated from Nigeria in 1981 and, Imoh, said, “It was like she was telling our story.”

Michelle doesn’t credit Obama with lifting her up. She is clear she did it on her own, but stresses that he is what the country needs to get back to a time when people like her had the opportunity to rise — a time, she said, that has not existed since her childhood. “You know every time somebody told me, ‘No, you can’t do that,’ I pushed past the their doubts and I took my seat at the table,” she told the group of students at Bennett.

From her shy, awkward first months in a role that she talks frankly about not wanting, Michelle Obama is finding her voice. And her husband will need it. If he was exhausted in New Hampshire, they have 22 states coming up on February 5th that could well determine the nominee.

MICHELLE OBAMA SACRIFICED A LOT TO BACK HER HUSBAND! BLACK ON! BLACK WOMEN BACK YOUR BLACK MEN!-FROM TIME MAGAZINE,AUG. 2008

March 9, 2009

from time.com

Michelle Obama’s Savvy Sacrifice

By Jay Newton-Small Monday, Aug. 25, 2008
michelle_obama_0822
When she takes the stage at the Democratic National Convention Monday evening, Michelle Obama will surely discuss her husband’s many achievements and the promise for America that his groundbreaking candidacy represents. What she is less likely to talk about is just how instrumental she has been to launching her husband’s political trajectory or that this tough, razor-smart Chicago native had to sacrifice many of her own career ambitions along the way.

From almost the earliest days of their personal and professional partnership, Barack Obama’s political aspirations have guided Michelle’s path. At the end of the summer of 1989, Obama was an intern at Sidley Austin, a prestigious Chicago law firm that also happened to employ a young intellectual-property lawyer and Harvard Law grad named Michelle Robinson. Obama was offered a permanent job at Sidley, though senior partner Newton Minow wasn’t surprised when he turned the firm down; the two had often discussed the intern’s political plans, and Minow had pledged to help Obama in his pursuit of a place in public life. But Obama didn’t just turn the firm down. Minow, a former Federal Communication Commission chairman, recalls that Obama told him to take a seat: “You may not want to help me after you hear the rest of what I’ve got to say. I’m taking Michelle with me.”

“You no good, worthless —” Minnow said, jumping up angrily. “Hold it,” Obama said, raising a hand. “We’re going to get married.”

Most women might not appreciate their boyfriend’s effectively giving notice on their behalf. Michelle, though, didn’t seem to mind. Not only were they engaged a year later, but sure enough, Michelle surprised her family and friends and left the law to go into public service. It was a move that would prove fateful for both her and her husband: the contacts she made were invaluable, some say essential, to his state senate and U.S. Senate races.

The child of Marian and Fraser Robinson, a stay-at-home mother and a city pump operator, Michelle was raised in a close-knit family that ate every meal together, played Monopoly and read together. “Nobody emphasized public service. What was emphasized was doing what you love to do and you’ll be good at whatever you do,” says Craig Robinson, Michelle’s brother, who left his banking job after a decade to coach college basketball. That didn’t stop Robinson from being surprised when Michelle left Sidley Austin to become an assistant to Chicago mayor Richard Daley. “Her father asked her, ‘Don’t you want to pay your student loans?’ ” her mother, Marian, recalls. One of her college roommates, Angela Acree, remembers being stunned. “I’m sure at Sidley she made more money than her parents ever made,” says Acree. “It just seemed incredible at the time that she’d leave.”

The move was not without its benefits. Michelle Obama’s stint at the mayor’s office gave her, and her husband, access to Chicago’s political class. Combined with her own Southside roots — she went to high school with Santita Jackson, the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s daughter — Michelle’s job gave her husband entrée into the best political machine in Illinois, augmenting her ties to Jackson’s powerful civil rights group, Rainbow Push.

“Michelle is a tremendous asset,” says Habitat Inc. CEO Valerie Jarrett, a close friend of both Obamas and a key campaign adviser. As Daley’s deputy chief of staff at the time, Jarrett hired Michelle to help troubleshoot for companies having problems navigating the city’s bureaucracy. “Her being from Chicago, from the Southside of Chicago, was an asset to Barack in terms of enhancing his ties to the community.”

But if Michelle helped give Obama an invaluable new base in Chicago politics, he helped her get back in touch with her home base. It was at the end of her first year as an associate at the law firm that she had been assigned to mentor Obama. In a now famous story, she at first refused to date him, feeling their work relationship would make a romance improper. But Obama’s courtship helped her discover anew her childhood home on Chicago’s Southside. Dates often took them to church basements and protests. “He could’ve gone to Wall Street; those offers were available to him. But instead Barack bussed these young mothers down to City Hall to help them find their voice and advocate for change,” Michelle told an audience in Orangeburg, S.C., earlier this year.

As Obama gradually moved further away from grass-roots organizing and into business and politics, Michelle seemed to fill the vacuum. After 18 months, she left the mayor’s office to head up the Chicago office of a new charity that was forming: Public Allies, which helps place young people at nonprofits.

“Everyone had said at the time that the best young organizer in Chicago was Barack,” says Paul Schmitz, CEO of Public Allies. The group invited Obama to join their board. But when they started to look for someone to head up the Chicago office, Obama recommended his fiancée and resigned when the nonprofit began to court her in earnest. “At a time when the average age of our staff was 23, she was like drafting Brett Favre for the Packers,” Schmitz says. “Michelle was 29 when we hired her. She had a law degree from Harvard, had worked for the mayor, for a corporate law firm. Comparatively, I’d worked a telemarketing group. Frankly, we were surprised that she wanted to do it.”

During her nearly four years with the group, Michelle set fund-raising marks that remain records for the organization. In the process, she developed an unparalleled network of young activists. “She was a connector. They were a power couple. They helped each other along the way,” says Craig Huffman, a graduate student from the Southside whom Michelle took under her wing and recommended for the charity’s board. Huffman was drawn into Obama’s orbit and, like dozens of Michelle’s other protégés, volunteered for Barack Obama’s campaigns. “Each ally was placed with a not-for-profit, about 20 to 30 a year. When you think of the number of people who got to know who Michelle was, and by extension Barack, that’s a whole generation from all over Chicago,” Huffman says.

Michelle went on to work as an associate dean of students at the University of Chicago, launching a community-service program for undergrads before moving to the university’s medical school to become vice president of external relations, a fancy title for the person who helps the well-endowed school relate to its struggling Hyde Park neighborhood. She sponsored yet more volunteer programs, helped expand the hiring of local labor and launched a program that found ER patients clinics for long-term care.

Eventually, the money she had initially walked away from in corporate law did come. Her salary last year between the university and six boards approached $500,000. In addition to serving on the boards of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, Michelle also worked for Wal-Mart supplier Tree House Foods — a board from which she resigned when her husband criticized the retailing giant’s labor practices. Asked in an interview about being the breadwinner of the family, Michelle is shocked by the notion. “Me? No! Barack had, like, four jobs, always,” she laughs. “No, really. Barack’s a hustler. I shouldn’t say hustler, but he’s a humper in terms of work.”

The division of responsibilities in the Obama household, however, hasn’t always been a laughing matter. In his second book, The Audacity of Hope, Obama talks about Michelle’s rage at his ever increasing absence: “My wife’s anger toward me seemed barely contained. ‘You only think about yourself,’ she would tell me. ‘I never thought I’d have to raise a family alone.’ ”

Michelle may have envisioned giving her children the idyllic childhood that she’d had, but she had to know that Obama was far from a city pump operator with regular hours, nor did she show any real inclination to be a stay-at-home mom. But it is her connection to traditional middle-class values that drives her still to make an effort to put her children first and seemingly removes any desire to run for public office herself, though many have suggested it over the years. Her hint of nuclear-family nostalgia is also what helps make this very strong woman a much less threatening figure to the audiences who have throughout the campaign warmed to her homespun, sensitive speaking style. That down-to-earth appeal should be on full display Monday night, when she appears in her biggest venue yet. But that is only part of the real Michelle Obama. The country wouldn’t get a two-for-one Bill and Hillary presidency if she were to become First Lady, but it would definitely get a lot more than many people realize.


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