First lady not 'angry black woman'

2012-01-11 21:58

Washington - First Lady Michelle Obama in an interview broadcast on Wednesday shrugged off portrayals of her as an "angry black woman," and dismissed a new book describing tense relations between her and top White House aides.

The Obamas, the controversial new book about their first term in the White House, describes a "distant and awkward" relationship between the first lady and the president's aides - especially former chief of staff Rahm Emanuel.

"There's a notion that I'm sitting in meetings and having conversations and conflict," she told the CBS This Morning programme.

"I guess it's more interesting to imagine this conflicted situation here and a strong woman. But that's been an image that people have tried to paint of me since the day Barack announced - that I'm some angry black woman," she said.

"I just try to be me. And my hope is that over time people get to know me. And they get to judge me for me."

The first lady also said that she has a warm relationship with Emanuel, who after leaving the White House was elected mayor of Chicago, describing him as being among "our dearest friends".

"Rahm and I have never had a cross word. He's a funny guy," Obama said.

She added that contrary to the book's account of battles with her husband's aides, she rarely interacts with them.

"I don't have conversations with my husband's staff. I don't go to the meetings," Michelle Obama said.

Between staffs

"Our staffs work together really well. If there's communication that needs to happen, it happens between staffs. My chief of staff talks to his chief of staff," she said.

The first lady said that while President Obama gets the best advice on difficult issues from his advisors, he also has her ear.

"I talk very candidly to my husband about how I feel," she said.

"If I didn't agree with something, I would talk to my own husband about it," Michelle Obama said, adding that she considers herself the president's "biggest ally" and "one of his biggest confidantes".

"But he has dozens of really smart people who surround him," she added.

Cantor reportedly interviewed more than 30 current and former Obama employees but did not sit down with the first couple themselves for the book, described Michelle Obama's difficult transition to White House life.

But the first lady told CBS that she had not read the book and did not intend to.

"I don't read these books because you know, it's a game in so many ways," she said.

"I mean, who can write about how I feel? Who? What third person can tell me how I feel - or anybody for that matter?"

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