NPR FOR THE DEAF: We Hear It Even When U Can’t AIR

According to Kantor, the first lady initially had serious reservations about her husband’s ambitions for the White House. “She was worried, in part, about the impact on her family. But she also had concerns that it may not be the right time,” Kantor says. “Her chief of staff told me that during that time, the decision just weighed on Michelle Obama — because she really believed that her husband could accomplish great things as president, but she wasn’t sure if it was the best thing for their family. And how do you make that choice between what is best for you personally versus the contribution you think you can make to the country?” During the campaign in 2008, Michelle Obama continued to have a rough time. She was up against Bill Clinton, because that was Hillary Clinton’s spouse,” Kantor says. “In early events, she charmed lots of people … But she also had problems. In the spring of 2008, she was accused of being ‘an angry black woman.’ Fox News called her a ‘baby-mama.’ There were a lot of ugly things said about her.” Friends and aides told Kantor that Michelle Obama was extremely hurt by the accusations. “She thought of herself as one type of person, and to see that image so widely distorted — and it can happen so fast — it can be really disorienting for anyone,” Kantor says. So when the Obamas got to the White House, they made a conscientious effort to clamp down and surround themselves with people they already knew from Chicago — to keep some sense of normalcy. MORE

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