Here's a good profile piece on Michelle Obama. America would be lucky to have her as a First Lady.
Michelle Obama has always been a creature of discipline and decorum. As a young lawyer, she initially brushed off advances from her future husband, Barack Obama, because they worked at the same firm. A reporter, visiting her Chicago home in 2004, noticed a to-do list for her two daughters that included time for "play." She is in bed most nights by 9:30 and rises each morning at 4:30 to run on a treadmill. "She'll sacrifice the sleep so she can make sure she has that time," says Susan Page, a friend since Harvard Law School. "Once she has a plan, she goes for it."
Now, however, Michelle's once orderly life is tending toward the chaotic, in the form of a presidential campaign, and no amount of planning can stave it off. Last week her husband's name was on the lips of every Democrat from Boston to Berkeley after he announced he was forming a presidential exploratory committee. But Michelle was out of sight—the Obama campaign declined to make her available for this story—even as many Democrats wondered what she thought of her husband's big leap. After all, she has made no secret of her ambivalence about being a political spouse: "If politics were my passion," she told the Chicago Tribune in 2004, "I'd find out how to do it and make it work." In the weeks before his announcement, Obama seemed to stiffen when asked what his wife thought of a presidential run.
After Barack's election, Michelle fretted publicly over what all his time away in Washington would mean for their family. But friends say that, after an exhausting Senate campaign, she cherished the relative calm of life back home in Chicago. Even now, she is still trying to keep things low key. A day after her husband's announcement last week, she celebrated her 43rd birthday at home in Chicago over bowls of chili with a friend and each of their children. "I'm sure they'll try to shelter the girls as much as they can," says Jarrett, "but some level of spotlight is inevitable." No question.
Handling that spotlight will be a challenge. In the past, Michelle has occasionally played tough enforcer with Barack in interviews but, as Nancy Reagan and Hillary Clinton can attest, voters prefer First Ladies who use a soft touch. The campaign has a careful program for introducing the Obama family to the American public in the weeks before and after his official announcement on Feb. 10. Hesitant or not, Michelle will be smiling for the cameras. Once she has a plan, she goes for it.