By Mike Celizic
When she moved to the nation’s most prestigious address, Michelle Obama’s husband told her that rough times were ahead. The country was in recession, people were out of work, the political parties were in open warfare — and the man who was going to be blamed for it all was President Barack Obama.
But you won’t hear the first lady utter a peep of complaint.
“The truth is, there are a lot of folks who are hurting. And there’s no way I’m going to sit here and complain; I’m sitting in the White House,” Michelle Obama told TODAY’s Matt Lauer during an exclusive, far-ranging White House interview that aired Wednesday.
It’s just over a year since Michelle Obama set up housekeeping at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. And while she’s been much in the spotlight during that time, she maintains that she’s still the same person she always was.
“I still see myself as Michelle Obama, the girl who grew up in the South Side of Chicago — Marian and Fraser’s daughter. I’ve got this husband who does these interesting things — and I’m Malia and Sasha’s mother,” she said.
“I approach this position like I approach my life,” the first lady went on. “I try to be as authentically me as I can be, because it’s easier to maintain it. So what people have seen over the course of the year is really Michelle. And I find a level of comfort in that role.”
Mrs. Obama has already taken on the cause of addressing the special problems and concerns of military families. Now, she’s launching an initiative that could define her term as first lady. She’s taking on childhood obesity.
“There are the shocking statistics that are there,” Mrs. Obama said. “One in three kids are obese in this nation. And the numbers go up when you’re talking about the African-American and Hispanic communities. The most shocking sort of reality that really hits you is that, because the young generation is on track for the first time in this nation’s history of being less healthy, having a shorter life span than their parents.”