Book Reveals Clashes between First Lady, Aides

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First lady Michelle Obama has had her share of run-ins with White House aides. And she has sometimes been a reluctant participant in the agenda on Pennsylvania Avenue, according to a new book released this week.

An excerpt from New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor's new book, "The Obamas," was released in the Times this weekend.

The book portrays the first lady as feeling confined by the White House agenda and critical of some of the presidential staff. That account doesn't square with what she said in a recent interview with ABC's Barbara Walters.

"Someone asked me a question about whether I feel confined or trapped in some way. That couldn't be further from the truth," Mrs. Obama responded.

The book claims that at first, Mrs. Obama didn't want her husband to run for president, fearing a loss of the family's privacy.

When he was elected, she even considered keeping the kids in school in Chicago rather than moving to Washington.

Author Jodi Kantor also writes that former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs cursed the first lady behind her back after she reportedly told French President Nicolas Sarkozy's wife that life in the White House was "hell."

Mrs. Obama also wanted changes in the president's leadership team, including the departure of Gibbs and former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. Some aides were concerned about her glitzy lifestyle. But Washington insiders say influence by first ladies is a given.

"Every first lady has been involved in her husband's administration. She is the person who has his interests at heart rather than anybody else's interests," noted ABC News contributor Cokie Roberts.

The White House is downplaying the impact of the book and the Obamas refused to give interviews for it. But Kantor claims to have interviewed 30 current and former White House staffers. The Obamas is set to go on sale this week.

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John Waage

John Waage

CBN News Sr. Editor

John Waage has covered politics and analyzed elections for CBN News since 1980, including primaries, conventions, and general elections. 

He also analyzes the convulsive politics of the Middle East.