Michelle Obama prepares for role as first lady
For now, she's focusing on easing the transition for Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7
WASHINGTON - She's been compared to Jacqueline Kennedy, is every bit as high-powered as Hillary Rodham Clinton was and has praised Laura Bush's calm and rational approach to issues.
So what kind of first lady will Michelle Obama be?
It may be too soon to know — she's probably still trying to figure it all out herself. This much is certain: She will be the kind of first lady this country hasn't seen in decades: the mother of young children.
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But Barack Obama has portrayed his wife as one of his top advisers, and it's a safe bet she will continue in that role at the White House, as first ladies before her have done. He has described her as the family's "rock" and told Newsweek magazine she had "veto power" over his decision to run for president.
Aides say publicly she is not interested in shaping policy or reserving a seat for herself at her husband's decision-making table. She prefers, at least for now, to focus on easing the transition for Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7 — getting them in new schools, settled and comfortable with a new way of life.
The girls are her priority, she has said often, the last thing she thinks about before falling asleep at night and the first thing on her mind when she wakes up in the morning.
During the campaign, she set her schedule so she would be home to tuck them into bed and see them off to school.
Not since 1977, when 9-year-old Amy Carter moved in, will there be such young children at the White House.
"My first job in all honesty is going to continue to be mom-in-chief," she told Ebony magazine, "making sure that in this transition, which will be even more of a transition for the girls ... that they are settled and that they know they will continue to be the center of our universe."
Michelle Obama was an administrator at the University of Chicago Medical Center before taking a leave to help her husband. She knows about the juggling act working mothers perform and wants to work on the issue as first lady.
"How to make sure our policies are structured in a way that supports that balance, whether it's more work/family leave, whether it's better health care. There are a lot of policies that go along with allowing women that freedom," she said