If you believe The New York Times, it’s a safe bet that Michelle Obama subscribes to the old proverb, “You scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours.”
In a front-page spread Saturday, the newspaper explained that the first lady has been “scarce” on the campaign trail this election cycle and that when she does venture out, it’s more likely to stump for candidates running for governor than for U.S. Senate.
Despite a number of tight races and control of the U.S. Senate up for grabs, The Times suggested Obama is mad at some Democratic senators for not supporting her signature issue, the wholly unpopular effort to restrict school lunches to her favored choices.
With so much at stake for Democrats, can she really be that spiteful?
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The article said Obama was “particularly angered when 11 Democrats from potato-growing states” added their names to a letter by Republicans opposing the administration’s effort to ban white potatoes from the food-stamps program.
Touting the first lady’s ability to “rouse a crowd, connect with women and drive turnout among African-American voters,” The Times offered a litany of excuses as to why she could be avoiding the campaign trail, including these: “Mrs. Obama hates to be away from her daughters. She loathes Washington’s toxic politics. She resents Republicans for their opposition to her husband’s agenda.”
But it’s hard to say if The Times is just laying cover for the first lady. Candidates are, after all, keeping their distance because of her husband’s unpopularity, even though Michelle Obama’s approval rating is “roughly 20 points higher” than the president’s, according to the newspaper.
“She’s awesome, but it just brings in the name, Obama,” a Democratic strategist told The Times.
The Times compared Obama to former first lady Laura Bush in that regard. But when you’re responsible for eliminating the famous pink cookie — once voted “Best Cafeteria Cookie” – sometimes, there’s just not enough awesomeness to go around.
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