Michelle Gets Wonky on Health Care

First lady moves from figurehead to policy advocate
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jul 19, 2009 9:15 AM CDT
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama wave before boarding Air Force One after they participated in a departure ceremony at the airport in Accra, Ghana, Saturday, July 11, 2009.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
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(Newser) – There's been much ado about Michelle Obama’s biceps, garden, and taste in clothing in her first 6 months in the White House, but the first lady has shifted from domestic and inspirational to a more direct approach to policy, the New York Times reports. In recent months, she has called for support for President Obama’s health care goals, announced the release of stimulus cash to health clinics, pushed for healthy habits and volunteerism, and met with administration officials to help military families.

“The listening portion of this is over,” says Mrs. Obama’s communications director. “Let’s make sure that we’re having an impact and delivering things as well.” That doesn’t mean, however, that we’ll see her testifying in Congress or battling for a particular health plan: Obama will stick to supporting, not making, policy, her aides say. And mindful of Hillary Clinton's experience as first lady, Obama will try to avoid being attacked for charging too far into the political fray.