First Lady's Visit To Saudi Arabia Sends Strong Message About Women

PHOTO: Saudi new King Salman, right, walks alongside President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama after the Obamas arrived on Air Force One at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh on Jan. 27, 2015.PlaySaul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
WATCH President Obama Visits Saudi Arabia's New King

In a country where women have few rights, First Lady Michelle Obama today seemed to lead by example.

The pictures say it all.

PHOTO: President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama board Air Force One at King Khalid International Airport, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Jan. 27, 2015.Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama board Air Force One at King Khalid International Airport, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Jan. 27, 2015.

Asked about the country's poor human rights record before his trip, Obama told CNN his administration will continue to apply "steady, consistent pressure."

"They're going to have to change how they do business," he said.

Wearing pants and her head uncovered, Mrs. Obama stood dutifully beside her husband as he shook hands with the Saudi delegation on the airport tarmac this morning and again at Erga Palace on the outskirts of Riyadh.

At times she reached out to shake an occasional hand, but mostly she stood back and offered just a smile.

According to reporters traveling with the president, due to the cultural constraints, the first lady purposely stood slightly behind her husband and waited for a gesture to be made to her by the men in the receiving line. If one of the men initiated a handshake she returned, if not then she simply smiled or nodded politely.