The Many Faces of First Lady Michelle Obama

Obama has said that the work-family balance, education, instilling confidence and power in young girls and assisting military families will be her eventual policy focus. She has spoken to local high school students about the importance of education; served a meal at a local food bank and has visited almost every federal agency in Washington in an effort to thank federal employees for their service.

Myra Gutin, who studies first ladies as a professor at Rider University in Lawrenceville, N.J., said one of the most notable aspects of Michelle Obama's first 100 days is that she has been a surprise to a lot of Americans who had reservations about her in this role.

"She's been, I think, very careful," Gutin said. "I'm certain that she does not want to spend any of the president's political capital cleaning up a misstep on her part, but that hasn't happened. Whoever is advising her is giving her pretty solid advice on stepping over the potential quagmires."

The first lady's outreach has paid off in the court public opinion; she now has approval ratings that are higher than her husband's. Seventy-six percent of Americans had a favorable view of the first lady in an ABC News poll last month, compared with 48 percent last June.

"For someone who came in with questions surrounding her, that's notable," Gutin said.

Those questions stemmed from a comment she made on the campaign trail when she said, "For the first time in my adult life I am proud of my country because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback."

She took considerable criticism for the remark, and some wondered if she would be a liability on the campaign trail.

But those ruminations from the chattering class seem like ancient history now, and Gutin said the more people got to know her during the campaign, the more they liked her.

"I think things started to change when she did an appearance on 'The View.' From there, things got a lot better and then her DNC speech and appearances on the campaign trail," Gutin said.

Obamas: More Homebodies Than Social Butterflies

After a flurry of social activity in the weeks leading up to the inauguration, including dinner at a top D.C. restaurant and a family visit to the Lincoln Memorial, the Obamas have settled in almost as homebodies at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, waking up early for morning workoutsand ending with late night "veg outs" in front of the TV.

The Obamas attended two events at the Kennedy Center, including a tribute to Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., but have largely stayed out of the local social spotlight and are keeping a lower social profile than most Washingtonians would have expected

The president had tongues wagging when he skipped an annual dinner of journalists earlier this year in favor of spending the weekend with his wife and daughters at Camp David.

Michelle Obama Discovers Washington

Obama was the first president to miss the Gridiron Dinner in his first year in office since Grover Cleveland in 1885. But the event fell during his daughters' spring break, and White House aides said it was never a question of where he would rather be.

As a family, the Obamas may be spending time at home, settling into their new digs, but the first lady has still found time to get out and explore her new hometown with friends and staff.

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