Michelle Obama’s hugs — once the source of a minor diplomatic scandal when she embraced the Queen of England — are now the keystone of her campaign, Jodi Kantor, the first couple’s biographer, wrote in the New York Times.
Although the first lady is known to deliver “scathing critiques of Republicans” in private, Kantor writes, her advisers think “she is most potent when she does not appear overtly political and that she comes across best as a gracious noncombatant in the red-and-blue wars.” Translation: Obama is hugging her way out of the “angry black woman” stereotype, which, coincidentally, the first lady thought Kantor’s biography of her propagated. Obama’s aides say the hug is not a political tactic, but an attempt to “narrow the gap” — both in literal height and stature — between her and the voters, Olympic athletes, and schoolchildren whom she’s embracing.
“Who can be opposed to a hug from a tall, beautiful woman?” said Kati Marton, author of “Hidden Power,” about presidential marriages. “In this divisive climate, to be the hugger in chief is all that our first lady can do.”
Ironically, some radicals think that the “highly educated professional partnership” the Obamas have, which is obscured by the first lady’s “hugs not ideas” campaign, is actually appealing to voters and will be highlighted by the first lady's speech at the Democratic National Convention tonight. Politico says her speech will not be as moony-eyed as Ann Romney's. “[Ann] Romney’s message was a message that seemed to reflect an old-fashioned domestic bliss time of white picket fences,” Ruth Mandel, director of the Eagleton Institute told Politico. “I would be surprised if her speech appealed to women who are swing voters, working women, single heads of households.”
Perhaps the Obama campaign could exploit this gap in what people want from a first lady for fund-raising purposes: Donate $10,000 and Michelle Obama will not only hug you, she’ll tell you what she really thinks of Mitt Romney.
Most Viewed Stories
How Angelina Jolie Won the First Big Battle in Her Divorce
25 Famous Women on Being Alone
It’s Time to Get Over Your White Feelings and Start Taking Action for Black Lives
22 Intimate Lost Photos of Marilyn Monroe
Everything We Know About Brad Pitt’s Plane Incident
Jaden Smith on the Many Subtle Flavors of Water
Taylor Swift’s Squad Begged Kim Kardashian for Mercy
The National Nightmare Is Over: Kim Kardashian Will Vote for Hillary
Adam Levine and Behati Prinsloo Unveiled Their Baby on Instagram
The 6 Best Denim Shops on Etsy
From Our Partners
powered by PubExchange
The Cut’s Latest Love and War FeaturesAva DuVernay on Hollywood Racism, Modern-Day Slavery, and Why She’s Still an Optimist
The director, whose new documentary The 13th chronicles America’s history of racial subjugation, talks to Rebecca Traister about Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich, and the modern criminal-justice system.What No One Tells Couples Trying to Conceive
It helps to be rich.The Hidden Black Women Who Helped Win the Space Race
A segregated unit of mathematicians born of desperation during World War II became the secret to NASA’s success.Slut-Shaming Squids Are Everywhere
The “Bermuda Square” comic strip is back.Santigold’s New Video Is the Result of a Spontaneous Run-in With Kara Walker
The collaboration that dreams are made of.Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield Spotted Together Again, Love Might Be Real
They could be back together ahh!Teen, Forced to Go on Vacation With Her Family, Calls 911
The logical decision.Report: Hearst Fired Seventeen EIC Michelle Tan During Her Maternity Leave
Tan had been at the magazine for about two years.Good Morning America Host Amy Robach Apologizes for Saying ‘Colored People’ on Air
She quickly apologized.Unknown NFL Player Tries to Get Attention by Asking Aly Raisman Out in Video
That’s one way to do it.
Marissa Cooper is poised for a comeback ... maybe.California Votes to Remove Time Limit on Prosecuting Rape Cases
In light of the Bill Cosby case.Beyoncé’s Behind-the-Scenes Lemonade Photos Belong in a Museum
She had the "Boycott Beyoncé" sign already in formation on set.The Rise of the Male Celebrity Full-Frontal
An ex-publicist explains.Gabby Douglas Will Be a Miss America Judge
The gold-medal gymnast will help choose the 2017 pageant winner.Camille Becerra’s Photo Diary of Rockaway Beach
An ideal trip to add and cross off your summer bucket list.Sorry Nerds, Ian McKellen Won’t Officiate Your Expensive Lord of the Rings–Themed Wedding
Not even for $1.5 million.Miles Teller Is Still Upset About Being Called a Dick
He wants to set the record straight.Why Parents Shouldn’t Talk About Weight With Their Teens
New guidelines seek to banish weight talk.UVA Student Assaulted at Knifepoint During Orientation Weekend
But some students weren't notified until 24 hours later.