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First ladies chat: Michelle gripes over prison-like life

michelle obama laura bush
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In a rare joint appearance, former first lady Laura Bush joined Michelle Obama in Tanzania where they discussed, among other things, the role of being the first lady.

It’s no secret Obama has occasionally lamented life in the White House, and now, speaking from Africa, she said there are “prison like elements” to being first lady.

“There are prison-like elements, but it’s a really nice prison. You can’t complain,” Obama said, according to the Weekly Standard.

According to the Washington Post:

At one point Obama observed that she and other first ladies do their best to bring the public’s attention to meaningful topics “while people are sort of sorting through our shoes and our hair, whether we cut it or not …” at which point Bush interrupted, saying, “Whether we have bangs.”

Obama said she was surprised by the “press coverage” over her bangs, but she said, “We take our bangs and we stand in front of important things the world needs to see.”

“And eventually people stop looking at the bangs, and start looking at the things we’re standing in front of. That’s the power of our role,” The Weekly Standard reported Obama added.

The Hill reported other questions the first ladies have been asked:

“I constantly get asked, especially in the first term, are you more like Laura Bush, or are you more like Hillary Clinton?  And I’m like, is that it?,” Obama said.

Bush noted she got similar questions: “Are you Hillary Clinton or Barbara Bush?  And I always just said, well, I think I’ll be Laura Bush; I do Laura Bush pretty well, having grown up as her.”

The two women spoke about the issues they are most passionate about at the “African First Ladies Summit” Tuesday evening.

Obama told the audience “she agreed to serve on a panel with Laura Bush because ‘I like this woman’ and it helps to discuss their common experience,” the Post reported.

“It’s sort of a club, a sorority, I guess,” Bush added.


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