The Many Faces of First Lady Michelle Obama

The first lady's office has said she would continue to build her role working with military families. Her first trip outside Washington was to Fort Bragg, N.C., where she met with military families at an emotional roundtable discussion. She will continue her listening tour of federal agencies. And, of course, she will continue the transition into the role of mom-in-chief.

"She's really not dealing with controversial issues, not talking about the economy or Afghanistan," Gutin of Rider University said. "The things that she's chosen to do and the way she's gone about them have really played very well."

Gutin said Obama's impact will develop as she delves more deeply into her signature issue.

"Any first lady can really have a considerable impact because it draws the national spotlight to whatever the project is," Gutin said, noting the work of former first ladies Barbara Bush (literacy), Rosalind Carter (mental health), Lady Bird Johnson (environment).

"It ends up being a boon to whatever the initiative is."

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