Michelle Obama: Middle Class Secret Weapon for 2012

Vice President Joe Biden is being touted as the Obama re-election campaign’s secret weapon to connect with the all-important middle class vote.  But the VP isn’t the only one with working class roots on the Obama team — what about the First Lady?

The Romney and Santorum campaigns are relying heavily on their First Ladies in waiting in their efforts to appeal to the masses of minivan-driving, middle class moms.  I had a chance to talk about the idea of Michelle Obama as a re-election secret weapon with iVillage Chief Correspondent Kelly Wallace as part of my iVillage 2012 Election Editor duties!

What do you think? Can the First lady still connect with the middle class?  Or has her tenure in the White House put her too much at a distance to connect?


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5 Responses to “Michelle Obama: Middle Class Secret Weapon for 2012”

  1. Elizabeth Aquino Says:

    I don’t know — I really like Michelle Obama and am proud that she’s our First Lady, but I think her manner is a tiny bit too imperious to really belong to the “middle class” — she’s not as warm and fuzzy as some others might be. I also find it sort of demeaning that the media and the political powers that be look to these women to “stand” for something other than completely who they are. Do mini-driving women not have minds of their own that they have to be influenced so methodically? Just some thoughts –

  2. PunditMom Says:

    Elizabeth, What do you find imperious about Michelle Obama? Did you have similar feelings about GOP First Ladies? Neither Nancy Reagan nor Laura Bush were particularly warm and fuzzy. Sadly, I think we live in a time where spouses of candidates are expected to stand for something and be a part of campaigns in a way that they weren’t decades ago. It would be really nice if candidates would actually address women (whether we drive mini-vans or not), as opposed to assuming they can count on our support with a few platitudes and their faux-interest every four years.

  3. Elizabeth Aquino Says:

    Pundit Mom: I can’t put my finger on why I think her imperious — but I’ve perhaps overstepped — although I did say “tiny.” I just don’t feel attached to her in the same way that I did, say, for Hilary Clinton. Perhaps this is an identity sort of thing — I almost feel presumptuous identifying with her, maybe because she’s African-American and her identity is so very much about that. I think that I, erroneously, put her on a sort of pedestal. Does that make sense?

    And I agree with the rest of your comment/reply. Yes, it would be nice if candidates would actually address women instead of the usual faux stuff. It depresses me that we still haven’t had a female president or serious contender (except for Hillary four years ago) –

  4. Craig Wiesner Says:

    I continue to be totally in awe of Michelle Obama, and see her as a pretty down-to-earth person. Seeing her on Disney Channel talking about good nutrition, at events with military families, at a school working with children on a food garden, or just hanging out with the President and the kids, I feel proud to have her as our first lady. I’m looking forward to seeing her on the campaign trail where I think she’ll focus on the administration’s achievements, rather than talking much about the Republican candidate.

    I’m glad to have discovered your blog!

  5. Bobbie Steele Says:

    I think the first lady is an excellent role model for the youth of our nation, especially young women looking to make a difference in their communities. As an African American woman who has been involved in politics for over 20 years, I know what a hard system it is to break into, but also what a difference a person with a unique voice (such as Michelle’s) can make.

    I think Mrs. Obama has made a conscious effort to remain connected with the youth and middle class in the midst of her tenure in the White House, and I think she has been more successful in these efforts than former first ladies. I applaud her involvement with the “Let’s Move” campaign – she’s not just a figurehead, but is directly involved with the audience she is trying to reach. If only more politicians were so connected with their constituents!

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