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How the East Wing Shrank Michelle Obama

By Reid Cherlin, The New Republic - March 25, 2014

In the fall of 2010, the nasty midterms drawing to a close, Michelle Obama was contemplating her next move. Two years into her tenure as first lady, the breathless fixation on guest lists and china selections was subsiding into routine, and she wanted a plan for the rest of her husband’s time in office. Of course, her calendar would never lack for National Hostess duties—the obligatory social functions outlined in binders left by Laura Bush’s team. She had already launched Let’s Move!, the childhood obesity initiative, and Joining Forces, a program to help military families and veterans, was also in the works. But she wondered whether she should do more. And so the first lady directed her staff to conduct a review of her options and to hire a top-flight communications director to lead the effort. Some palace watchers had been underwhelmed so far by her agenda, and this was an opportunity to prove these critics wrong.

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