Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Closer is at it again

When I was traveling to Iowa before the Iowa Caucus, one thing I learned fast is the high respect Michelle Obama received from many women in that state and also the men. Every speech Obama gave or town hall meeting, Michelle Obama went right behind him and closed the deal to thousands of Iowans. She is that good.

We now see that Michelle Obama is making her rounds to the various cabinet level agencies, telling workers that they are needed and valued, but more importantly seeking out the various parts of her husband's stimulus package and how it benefits each department.

Last week she visited the Department(s) of Education and Housing and Urban Development. She was received wildly, she was funny and gracious, but she was on point with each speech delivered. Telling folk at each agency that she and Barack are now their neighbors and she meant it.

No one should be surprised at this by the Obama Administration. Barack and Michelle Obama are a team in every aspect of their marriage, partners for life. Everyone can see this in how they handled themselves in public and the respect they have for one another. What we see in public is a precedent; this is something we have not seen in a very long time from the residents of the White House. The Obamas are unafraid of stating how they feel, what their vision is and how "we the public" must help them to invoke it, if we, the public want change.

Is Michelle a co-president? Absolutely not, she is not creating policy and guidelines, but she is a listener, a closer. She is the very person who can state how she feels, transfer how the public feels, directly to her husband and can even give him that eye of, "do something about it." In the end, I don't know if many believe in pillow talk, but I most certainly do.

The government workers greeted Michelle Obama like a Hollywood celebrity, whooping and cheering and oohing and aahing over her slate gray power suit. But when she took to the podium, the nation’s self-described mom in chief quickly turned policy wonk.

The first lady pitched her husband’s economic stimulus package, including plans to create 15,000 affordable housing units, weatherize 2 million low-income homes and repair military housing. Such investments, Mrs. Obama told employees at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, would prevent “an increase in homelessness during these tough economic times.”

In her first weeks in the White House, Mrs. Obama has been the gracious hostess and loyal spouse, welcoming visitors to the Executive Mansion and accompanying President Obama to a prayer breakfast and to a charter school to read to second graders. But in a departure from her predecessor, Mrs. Obama has also begun promoting bills that support her husband’s policy priorities.

Last month, Mrs. Obama celebrated the enacting of a pay-equity law with a reception for women’s advocates at the White House. Last week, she supported the economic stimulus bill on her visit to the housing agency and another to the Department of Education.

Mrs. Obama plans to visit all the cabinet-level agencies on her tour to listen to and get to know Washington in the coming weeks, her aides say. They said she relished the chance to serve as one of the president’s chief surrogates on critical policy matters.

“One of the things she does really well is to highlight the benefits of pieces of legislation,” said Jackie Norris, Mrs. Obama’s chief of staff. “She’s really kind of laying out things that are important to the administration. I think she’ll play an active role in ssupporting the president’s agenda.” read more here

Cross-posted @ Daily Kos

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