Michelle Obama’s star turn on the 2016 campaign trail has the political world buzzing about her post-White House plans.
From The Hill
The first lady has been dubbed the most valuable player of this election cycle for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton after a series of speeches in which she hammered Republican nominee Donald Trump and his treatment of women.
As Obama prepares to campaign alongside Clinton this week in North Carolina, some Democrats can’t help but wonder whether the 52-year-old first lady might someday be convinced to launch a political career of her own.
“In this environment of nasty and partisan politics, who wouldn’t want someone that is smart, articulate, caring and respected in politics making his or her voice heard?” said Robert Wolf, a fundraiser for President Obama who has also advised him on economic issues. “And my friend Michelle Obama would be amazing.”
But Wolf, along with other friends and allies of Obama, insist there’s no chance she will ever run for office, citing her longstanding distaste for partisan politics.
“I would predict Superman turning the Earth the other way on its axis before she runs for political office,” said one longtime friend of the first lady who speaks to her regularly.
David Axelrod, a longtime Obama adviser, recently told conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt he “would bet everything I own” against the prospect of Michelle Obama ever running for office.
Obama, the friend added, sees politics as important “from a common place as a mom, citizen and wife.”
“She sees the importance of a political system and has embraced the opportunity to move the needle and make the country a better place, but that is completely separate from wanting to raise money and cut deals and deal in the thrust and parry of modern politics,” the friend said.
People who know the first lady well expect that she will continue to devote her time and energy to the causes she championed in the East Wing, including healthy eating for children, education for girls and aiding military families.
But they expect her portfolio to go well beyond that, too.
“I’m sure she’s going to write a book. I’m sure she’s going to do speeches, and it will be very much up to her what she wants to do,” said Anita McBride, a former chief of staff to first lady Laura Bush who has come to know Obama’s team.
“I think she is going to be in a very strong position to utilize her voice for the rest of her life without having to go into politics.”
But Obama likely has not made any final decisions on how to continue her advocacy work after leaving the White House, according to her friend.
“I think she’s going to do what she usually does, take a step back, take a look at all the options, decide what’s best for her, her family and what will make the biggest impact,” the friend said. “I suspect she doesn’t know.”
The first lady will certainly be involved in the Obama Foundation, based on the South Side of Chicago, where she grew up.
“I’m thrilled to be able to put this resource in the heart of the neighborhood that means the world to me,” Obama said in a video on the future work of the foundation, sitting beside her husband.
Obama’s aversion to public office dates back to her husband’s time in the Illinois state legislature.
In his 2006 book “The Audacity of Hope,” President Obama wrote about how his frequent trips to the state capitol in Springfield left “little time for conversation, much less romance” with his wife, who was living at home with their two children in Chicago.
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