She’ll be viewed as kind of a combination of Jackie Kennedy and Eleanor Roosevelt. Someone of the most extraordinary style and grace – she’s a good-looking woman, she dresses superbly – and at the same time she’s out there on issues, she speaks eloquently, and people, without her interfering in politics, know what her politics are. Among the part of the country more or less committed to voting Democrat, she will be remembered as one of the very great first ladies. In the other half of the country, I’d like to think that somewhere, especially among the women, there’s an understanding that she’s actually pretty terrific.
I think her recent speech about the treatment of women was hugely important. This was a response to this extraordinary, grotesque Republican nominee, and I suppose if Barack was running for re-election she might have spoken slightly differently, but they’re out of there; she can absolutely say what’s on her mind. It was a great speech. My wife found it on YouTube and made my 11-year-old daughter watch it, because this is a message about girls and women should be respected, and should demand respect. And my kid really got it. She now has a tremendous platform for advocacy, though I don’t see her in politics.
The role of First Lady only really became an idea from the middle of the 20th century, from Eleanor Roosevelt onwards. You can’t tell me who Warren Harding’s wife was. Nobody can say who Herbert Hoover’s wife was. But Michelle Obama is up there with Eleanor Roosevelt, and Jackie Kennedy. Without a doubt.”
Photo by Jocelyn Augustino for Obama for America