TIME: The Meaning of Michelle Obama

By Caitlin Taylor

May 21, 2009 11:18am

ABC News’ Yunji de Nies reports: Michelle Obama has landed another magazine cover – TIME Magazine features a photograph of the First Lady’s face looking straight into the camera with the title "The Meaning of Michelle Obama." Asked about the change in public’s perception of her, she says, she has stayed the same, but people have simply been able to get to know her much more they had during the "narrow prism" of the campaign. "I’m pretty much who I’ve been for a long time. So that … I just think that people have the opportunity to see all of who Michelle Obama is over a longer period of time. And hopefully they like what they see. And I think they actually … to the extent that they saw all of me … liked what they saw then," she tells reporters Michael Scherer and Nancy Gibbs. Mrs. Obama says like any spouse, she talks with the President about his work, but she does not try influence policy. "I don’t want to have a say. Really, there are a lot of times when I’m like, don’t tell me what happened today at work. I just don’t want to hear it, because I want the home space to really be free of that," she said. As she has in recent speeches, she talks about wanting to open the White House and make more Americans feel included. "I have probably dedicated more of my life to trying to break down those barriers for people. I think that might be one of the small themes in my professional life, is to try to be the bridge so that more people feel like they have access; that their voice, that their faces, that their worlds count in places like this, and that there is understanding across those divides," she said. "That’s why I’m so touchy with kids, because I think if I touch them and I hug them, that they’ll see that it’s real, and then they’ll relax and breathe and actually kind of enjoy the time and make use of it." She says all living former first ladies have reached out to her, offering advice and support. She talks about how her kids keep her grounded and how much she enjoys being in the same city as her husband, after living apart for so long.  She reveals small details about their life – she takes Bo for his first walk of the morning, the President does the final walk at night, around 10pm, right before they turn in for the night.  She keeps her mornings free before the girls go to school and works out with a personal trainer who moved to Washington from Chicago. On her new role, the First Lady tells the magazine, "I tried not to come into this with too many expectations one way or the other. I felt like part of my job — and I still feel like that — is to be open to where this needs to go." –Yunji de Nies

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