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Michelle in the spotlight

Michelle Obama was on the "Larry King Live" television show last week. I'm no expert on body language, but she looked to me like she'd rather be sitting at the island in the kitchen of a nice upper middle-class suburban home, washing arugula, watching Oprah on the TV, and waiting for her kids to get off the school bus so they can make cup-cakes together for the evening's movie time.

I detect in Michelle Obama a longing to be able to hit the town without a squad of taxpayer-paid people primping and dressing her so close to the bone that her teeth hurt. I see in her a longing to drive her kids to Wal-Mart, dressed in ratty sweats, to buy paper plates for one of her daughter's birthday parties, without needing a convoy of black, armored SUVs to keep them safe. I see her wishing her kids could share a teeter-totter, minus the U.S. Secret Service staked out in the sandbox.

Every time I see the lovely Michelle Obama I think, oh yeah, she wants to be wearing that straight jacket of a dress with her hair piled and turned into the shape of a balloon animal, propped atop her head, her feet jammed into fancy shoes while she's being filmed by a digital nerd who'll edit shots of her-bad angles and all-into a nine-second videoclip that's to be fed to a world full of people (who'll believe most anything she says for no reason other than she's an Obama and the First Lady of the United States of America).

I see Michelle wishing she wasn't raising her family in the echoey international tourist attraction that is the White House. What a cavernous cold place to be living, albeit one with webpages numbering well into the hundreds.

Far back when Barack started his run for the Democratic nomination, I had a feeling Michelle wasn't too awful thrilled about the idea. My feelings were conjured listening to news reports and reading articles that, if you cared to notice, spoke rather clearly of Michelle's hesitations about the run. The report that stood out as much as any was about Michelle's saying she'd let him run if he quit smoking. It sounded like a cute made-for-the-media story, but I took it as a serious story; I think she was totally serious.

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