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Reading Michelle Obama23:44
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First lady Michelle Obama arrives to take part in the groundbreaking of the White House Kitchen Garden on the South Lawn of the White House with students from Washington's Bancroft Elementary, Friday, March 20, 2009, at the White House in Washington. (AP)
First lady Michelle Obama arrives to take part in the groundbreaking of the White House Kitchen Garden on the South Lawn of the White House with students from Washington's Bancroft Elementary, Friday, March 20, 2009, at the White House in Washington. (AP)

Presidents lead. But First Spouses — First Ladies, in our history — matter, too. The set a tone. Project an image. Personify values. And come with their own ideas.

First Lady Michelle Obama has lived in the White House for 63 days now. She is like — and unlike — every First Lady before her. At her husband’s side. Making the White House a home. Sitting for her portrait – sleeveless, like Jackie Kennedy and Mamie Eisenhower.

And digging in, as an African-American, in the spotlight, to what she calls one of “the best jobs in the world.”

This hour, On Point: We’re reading Michelle Obama in the White House.

You can join the conversation. How’s she doing? What are you watching — her fashion statements? Her policy statements? And how do the new First Lady’s image, character, personality, ideas, attitudes matter to the country? To you?Guests:

From Washington, we're joined by Liza Mundy, staff writer for The Washington Post Magazine and author of “Michelle: A Biography."

Joining us from New York is Margo Jefferson. A longtime cultural critic for The New York Times, she's a professor of writing at the New School and Columbia University, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for criticism in 1995, and author of “On Michael Jackson.” A few of her thoughts on Michelle Obama appeared in last week’s issue of New York magazine in a collection of essays, "Regarding Michelle Obama."

Also from New York is David Samuels, contributing editor at Harper's Magazine and a contributor to The Atlantic and The New Yorker.  He also wrote an essay on Michelle Obama for last week's issue of New York. He's the author of “Only Love Can Break Your Heart" and “The Runner: A True Account of the Amazing Lies and Fantastical Adventures of the Ivy League Impostor James Hogue.”

This program aired on March 24, 2009.

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