Chicago Sun-Times
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Michelle Obama on Desiree Rogers, Rahm and Obama's smoking


WASHINGTON--First Lady Michelle Obama discusses Desiree Rogers, Rahm Emanuel and President Obama's struggle to quit smoking in an interview with Politico's Nia-Malika Henderson.


"What the president struggles with is what every smoker struggles with, it's a difficult habit to break. It's understandable that he struggles with it. Do I want him to stop completely? Absolutely. And I will push him to do so, but it's a process," Mrs. Obama tells Politico.

"I've never been a smoker so I can't relate, but people who've smoked say like anything, you have dips and valleys, and to try to quit smoking in one of the most stressful times of the nation's history is sort of like, you know, OK, he's going to struggle a little bit. This may be the year he'll struggle," she said.

Mrs. Obama makes her first comments about Chicago friend Rogers, the departing White House Social Secretary:

"If you look at this year, this has been a phenomenal year, starting a year in a White House where nobody even knows where the bathrooms are, and then right away you have to start delivering great events, and every single event we have had at the White House has been stellar, and it's been because of the teamwork that has included Desiree. You can't look back on this year and be disappointed. She's done a great job. She came into this with a shorter-term perspective. Leaving the corporate world, she was always sort of ambivalent," Obama said.

"She is leaving us with a solid foundation. ... That's a decision that she had to make; ... she's been a terrific resource," Obama told Politico.

Mrs. Obama makes her first comments on the flurry of speculation--mostly in the Washington Post--about the role and tenure of Obama White House chief of staff Emanuel"

"Fortunately, Barack, he's a steady kind of person. He doesn't react drastically one way or the other to criticisms, or even to compliments, so he is able to maintain an important equilibrium with regard to a lot of things that are important in times of trouble, and he stands by his entire staff, including the chief of staff, because he is proud of the work that everyone has done," Mrs. Obama said.


Speaking about Desiree Rogers' reason for leaving her post as White House Social Secretary, Mrs. Obama said, "That was decision she had to make." Can we interpret that to mean Desiree was pushed out?

Maybe he should think about what kind of example he sets for his children. That's what I did. 16 years later I still have not taken one puff. I beat it because I wanted to be a good father more than I wanted smoke.

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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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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on March 4, 2010 2:42 PM.

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