Politics

Vogue profile gushes over first lady as Michelle Obama appears on cover, again

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The wait is over, First Lady Michelle Obama’s second Vogue cover is out… and she is sleeveless.

The cover story “Leading by Example: First Lady Michelle Obama” by Jonathan Van Meter offers readers a predictably fawning profile of the first lady and her family.

Even photographer Annie Leibovitz gushes in the piece.

“There’s a lot of huggin’ going on,” Leibovitz is quoted as she poses the pair, who are holding hands at this point. “You’re a very different kind of president and First Lady.”

The profile delves into the first couple as “exemplars of a new paradigm—the super-involved parenting team for whom being equally engaged in the minutiae of their children’s lives is paramount.”

Valerie Jarrett, former senior advisor David Axelrod, and former White House communications director Anita Dunn all speak highly in the piece of the first family as a model of good parenting.

“He is a dad,” the piece quotes Jarrett, “and a husband, and he enjoys being with his children and his wife. He doesn’t have a father. He’s trying really hard to be a good dad.”

Axelrod reminds Van Meter that Obama is home every night at 6:30 for dinner.

“Our job is, first and foremost, to make sure our family is whole,” the first lady explained when asked about her husband’s reputation for being “antisocial”. “You know, we have small kids; they’re growing every day. But I think we were both pretty straightforward when we said, ‘Our number-one priority is making sure that our family is whole.’”

Van Meter eventually settles on the title “Dad-in-Chief” to describe the president.

Between examining the first family’s parenting skills, their ascent to the public eye, and the first couple’s relationship — “There’s no doubt I’m a better man having spent time with Michelle” — the piece touches on some political issues of the day, namely that “liberal-dream issues like gun control, immigration reform, and marriage equality have dominated the outset of Obama’s second term.”

Axelrod explains that the president has opportunities this term to accomplish some big tasks.

“There’s no question about it,” he tells Van Meter. “We have a chance now to get immigration done, whereas we didn’t have that chance in the last four years. The awareness of the gaping holes in our gun laws is much greater now as a result of the tragedy in Newtown. But you have to grab that moment. That’s how progress is made. And the longer you serve in the presidency, the more you learn that.”

The profile even offers a Jarrett’s account of how the president sees his former Democratic primary opponent and later his secretary of state, Hillary Clinton.

“I love her,” Jarrett quotes Obama.

And of course, for the so-called fashion Bible, the first lady advises outfits that offer confidence.

“I always say that women should wear whatever makes them feel good about themselves. That’s what I always try to do. . . . I also believe that if you’re comfortable in your clothes it’s easy to connect with people and make them feel comfortable as well,” the first lady is quoted. “In every interaction that I have with people, I always want to show them my most authentic self.”

April has been the fashion magazine’s “Shape issue” for the last ten years — aiming to focus on the “beauty and well-being of women’s bodies.” The first lady’s cover follows in the footsteps of the likes of Brooke Shields, Scarlett Johansson, and Gisele Bündchen.

Photographer Leibovitz shot the first lady and President Barack Obama for the issue’s photo spread. She also provided the photography for Michelle Obama’s first Vogue cover in March 2009.

Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour was a major campaign fundraiser for Obama’s reelection and even floated at one time as a possible ambassador.

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