check it out. The 45-year-old Ivy League lawyer (she was disbarred and can no longer practice law btw no-one is allowed to know why it seems) and product of Chicago's working class has captured many hearts by hewing to that deceptively quaint ethos while displaying other sides: fearless fashionista, fun-loving hostess, protocol-stretching diplomat, amateur organic gardener, cost-savvy decorator, West Wing surrogate, and, in particular, inspirer-in-chief.
"My first lady and yours" is how Barack Obama now introduces his wife of 16 years as she has skyrocketed in polls, surpassing him in favorable ratings while silencing old chatter about whether she was helping or hurting him. A recent poll by Gallup found 72 percent had a positive view of her, up from 43 percent in June 2008. It was low then in part because of campaign missteps. She once said, "For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country," leaving critics to question her patriotism.
When the Obamas moved daughters Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, and Michelle's mother, 71, into the White House, the first spouse set the bar low, cannily so. She said she wanted to get the girls settled, get to know the city, and build her own team. Practically overnight, the confident, 5-foot, 11-inch daughter of a Chicago water department pump operator attracted new admirers, not to mention making cameras swoon as she draped herself in look-at-me shades like celadon and fuchsia and bared enviably buff biceps.
White House makeover. While she's followed the traditional avenues by visiting inner-city school kids, paying homage to the troops, wining and dining members of Congress, and wooing foreign dignitaries, she's done it her way. At the White House, protocol is looser, parties are hipper (and more frequent), and pop artists from Stevie Wonder to Fergie are paying calls. In a nod to the country's worst economic crisis in 80 years, the first lady turned away a stipend of $100,000 to redo the family's private quarters, saying the Obamas will dig into their own bank account.
It's said that she hasn't loosened house rules for the girls, who attend the exclusive Sidwell Friends School, make their own beds, and turn in at 8 p.m., a lights-out that is relaxed when friends visit 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for sleepovers.