Chicago Sun-Times
The scoop from Washington

Michelle Obama's 100 Days: Nearly flawless.


WASHINGTON -- On Day 53 as first lady, Michelle Obama and her mother, Marian Robinson, traveled to the Georgetown home of Teresa Heinz Kerry for a luncheon with a small group of women.

The wife of Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) put together the March 13 informal gathering -- reported here for the first time -- to welcome Mrs. Obama and her mom to town.

"She was extraordinarily open and accessible and friendly and genuinely interested in the people who were there and what they were saying," said an attendee, Sally Quinn, a Washington Post columnist and co-moderator of the Post's "On-Faith" feature.

Quinn has known every first lady since Mamie Eisenhower. Mrs. Obama is the only first lady "who was not wary," Quinn said. Open, friendly and laughing, "she seemed like a real person," Quinn said.

During the presidential campaign the image of the native South Sider -- a graduate of Whitney Young High School, Princeton and Harvard Law -- got out of control. At times she was portrayed -- often by conservatives -- as angry and not loving her country.

That's been corrected.

Mrs. Obama's first 100 days have been just about flawless.

"She's focused on issues that are important in a local and national sense, but are not controversial," said Martha Joynt Kumar, a Towson University professor who specializes in presidential communications.

Mrs. Obama's issue portfolio is substantive -- and safe.

Healthy eating. Helping military families. Balancing work and family. Opening up White House events. Community service.

The past weeks have produced public events showcasing Mrs. Obama: planting the White House vegetable garden; bringing cooking school students into the White House kitchen; thanking federal employees at agency visits; dazzling Europe.

She's become a fashion icon. Her buff arms caught the nation's attention.

Very mindful of her historic status as the first African-American first lady, Mrs. Obama gave her first post-election cover shoot to Vogue.

In the world of women's magazines, covers featuring African Americans are rare.

"Mrs. Obama felt it was very important for young African-American girls to see someone like her on a cover of a major magazine," said Camille Johnston, Mrs. Obama's communications director.

On the private side, Mrs. Obama has spent time settling daughters, Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, and her mother into their new home.

She dines at times with Chicago pals Valerie Jarrett and Desiree Rogers, who have followed her into the White House, taking on very powerful roles -- Jarrett as senior advisor, Rogers as social secretary.

Last week, Mrs. Obama had a night out with Rogers.

"We did go to the theatre," Rogers said. "It was a good way for the First Lady to see a variety of the arts talent in the D.C. community."

Mrs. Obama's popularity is soaring -- with Democrats and Republicans. A poll taken April 14-21 found Mrs. Obama's favorability ratings -- at 76 percent -- have only increased in the last 100 days.

On Day 94, at a "take your child to work" event at the White House, Mrs. Obama reflected on her new non-paid employment.

"I think I have the best job in the White House."


Nice article. Thank you.

I have been inspired by the first lady. She is so genuine and down to earth.

I need a 300 K a yr no show affirmative action "community outreach" hack job at an inner city NON PROFIT like Michelle had. Eyes gosta gets da gubment check!

I am laughing to hard....she needs a full time make-up artist and they still cannot cover-up her big fat rear-end and her gorilla jaw. Just like Barack, they hide behind their true character. They are simply angry and want revenge. Sorry you cannot see through that!

Michelle Obama's popularity is just another sign of the severely low standards too many Americans have. She is a very uninspiring character.

Ms. Nola "Racist" Lyon. I'm assuming from your comments you must have a behind as flat as a empty potato chip bag. Who told you it was attractive ? God only knows what your jaw-line looks like but from your comments it seems like you are a very ulgy person (inside and outside.)

More Drooling and slobbering over the Obama!! Did we hear anything about Laura Bush who did amazing things in office? It makes me sick!!!!

It is interesting to see the positive press Michelle Obama and her mother have received while the elegant and classy Laura Bush was labeled as a shy librarian and had "wild" daughters.

If Laura Bush had her mother living with her, would you and the media been as gracious.

This is political correctness run amuck.

Michelle Obama is a angry woman who got here through affirmative action and now she loves her country.

to all the haters stop hattin because you dont look good as FIRST Lady MICHELLE.

I would like to thank you, for being so beautiful,.!!! I live in Quebec and I just love you and your husband (I forgot THE PRESIDENT OF THE USA...)Michelle you will make a difference for women and children know matter what were you live ...

I wish your family all the best!
And good luck. you both are doing a good job and remember this is just a job with the worst benifit's in the world!!!

Always thinking about your Family Mr President!!!!

Kind regards,
Jennifer Carruthers

wow, lots of angry women out there.....what's with that?

Thank you for the article. I am always inspired by both of them.

In a world where priviledged backgrounds without social responsibility and accountability has been brutally forced down out throat to watch it is somewhat refreshing to make sense of the World we live in.

I am not advocating that the Obamas are perfect but even when i decided to use my "evil" eye lens to view their record, yes I am at times envious of their good fortune(a hint to my fellow bloggers) - yet there underlining message of peace and co-operation shouts out more loudly. I am always reminded that good always wins - hands down.

Congratulations on your 1st -100 days our First Lady. I pray that the good Lord continues to guide and protect you and your loved ones and that God's peace continually prevails in all our lives.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on April 29, 2009 6:37 AM.

Obama's 100 Days: Start of a journey was the previous entry in this blog.

Obama's 100 Days: Promises scorecard is the next entry in this blog.

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