One-on-One with 'The Closer': Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama has taken a more visible role as the race continues.


Feb. 4, 2008 — -- If Barack Obama makes a good case for his presidential candidacy, then you can bet Michelle Obama will swoop in to seal the deal.

"The closer," as the Obama campaign calls her, just may be the key to clinching victory on Super Tuesday. The spouse of the Democratic "rock star" has moved out of the shadows recently, and now Michelle Obama has begun attracting a spotlight of her own.

She drew big crowds at events last week alongside Oprah Winfrey and Caroline Kennedy, but some critics have taken her on for her blunt and straight talking style.

Michelle Obama's increasing profile may be surprising, because she initially worried about the effect a grueling presidential campaign would have on her two young daughters, Malia and Sasha.

"You know, we talk about it in bits and pieces," she said of her girls. "Malia is 9, so she's much more focused."

While younger Sasha, 6, might not be as aware of the stakes, Michelle Obama said her oldest daughter realizes how much a presidential win would influence her life, but she still wants it for her father.

"She asked Barack would he be upset if he loses," she said. "He was like, 'Yeah. I'll be fine.'"

While many politicians seek to run for president again in the future after a loss, Michelle Obama said that idea is of no interest to her family.

"I'm not interested in putting my family through this again and again," she said.

She now finds herself compared to another high-profile, popular spouse: Bill Clinton. Both have campaigned heavily for their spouses — but Michelle Obama thinks the comparison ends there.

"I'm a very different person. I don't know Bill Clinton. I've never sat down and had a conversation with him," she said. "I couldn't begin to dissect who he is, but I know who I am and I don't think there are many similarities in terms of how we approach it, how we were raised, how we think about the world. I think, you know, we're very different people."

Last month Bill Clinton came under criticism for implying that a large number of black voters gave Barack Obama the win in the South Carolina primary, but Michelle Obama said she didn't take it personally.

"I don't get angry anymore. This is politics, and we've seen in it," she said. "It's been nasty, there's nothing new about it. There's absolutely nothing that people are saying about Barack now that they haven't said before."

She said that if Hillary Clinton bests her husband for the Democratic nomination, she'd support the nominee.

"Everyone in this party is going to work hard for whoever the nominee is. I think we're all working for the same thing. Our goal is to make sure the person in the White House is going to take this country in a different direction. I happen to believe Barack is the only person who can really do that," she said.

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