First lady denies conflict with White House advisers

Carolyn Kaster/AP

First Lady Michelle Obama denied that she has clashed with White House advisers in an interview broadcast by CBS News' This Morning on Wednesday. "I guess it's more interesting to imagine this conflicted situation here," Obama said. "But that's been an image that people have tried to paint of me since the day Barack announced -- that I'm some angry black woman." The first lady was reacting to a new book, 'The Obamas' by Jodi Kantor, in which first lady is characterized as a forceful presence in the White House who often had friction with some of the President's aides, including former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and former press secretary Robert Gibbs. The book also alleges that Michelle Obama had trouble adapting to the constraints of her new role. Obama told CBS News that she had "never had a cross word" with Emanuel or Gibbs, and that both men are good friends. "I don't have conversations with my husband's staff. I don't go to the meetings," Obama said. "Our staffs work together really well. If there's communication that needs to happen, it happens between staffs. My chief of staff talks to his chief of staff. If there were ever an issue it would go through that channel anyway. I can count the number of times I go over to the west wing, period," she said. "That's not to say that we don't have discussions and conversations," Obama said of her relationship with the president. "That's not to say that my husband doesn't know how I feel." She described herself as President Obama's biggest ally and closest confidante. The first lady said that she has not read Kantor's book. "I never read these books," she said, later adding, "who can write about how I feel? Who? What third person can tell me how I feel? Or anybody, for that matter." "I love this job," Obama said of her role as first lady. "It has been a privilege from day one." Obama said that any anxiety she feels as first lady comes out of her concern for her daughters, and their experience growing up in the White House.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.