Tales from the Trail

What’s it like to be the most powerful woman in the world? Michelle knows

Michelle Obama is the most powerful woman in the world. So says Forbes magazine.

Does it mean she can leap tall buildings in a single bound? We’re not sure. But she did jump over women with a decade more experience (an assumption based on age) in the top 5 – Kraft Foods Chief Executive Irene Rosenfeld, talk show host Oprah Winfrey,  German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. OBAMA/

Has the designation changed anything in her household, given that her husband is the leader of the free world? We asked her office, but they wouldn’t bite.

But no one at the White House is disputing the title (we assume they wouldn’t dare).

Our White House correspondent Caren Bohan tells us that White House spokesman Robert Gibbs commented: ”It’s a more accurate Forbes story than the last cover.”

We have deduced (OK so we went online to find it) that Gibbs was referring to the “How Obama Thinks” cover story in the Sept. 27 issue about the Most Powerful Woman’s husband.

Obamas seek shrimp as rain lets up on Martha’s Vineyard

The First Family took advantage of a break in the rainy weather on Martha’s Vineyard Wednesday to escape their holiday farm and make their first public foray together.

They wound up at Nancy’s seafood restaurant on the waterfront in the town of Oak Bluffs.
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First Lady Michelle Obama commiserated with the crowd after three solid days of driving rain that had kept holiday-makers, including the Obamas, holed up playing board games and reading books to make the most of their summer vacation.

“How you guys doing? Drying off? Finally,” she asked restaurant guests, after shepherding her daughters Malia and Sasha into the restaurant for a late lunch with friends.

Admission by worried little girl may boost immigration reform

The admission by a worried little girl to first lady Michelle Obama humanized and provided a need lift to stalled efforts to fix the United States’ “broken immigration system.”

At least that’s the way one key U.S. lawmaker sees it.

USA-MEXICO/“She synthesized for all of us what the call for reform is all about,” said Representative Luis Gutierrez, chairman of the immigration task force of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

“It’s about family. It’s about a child. It’s about the love of that child for her mother and the fear of that child that she may lose her mother,”  Gutierrez told Reuters in an interview on Thursday.

Second-grader puts Michelle Obama on the spot

As her husband made his case for sweeping immigration reform in the White House Rose Garden, first lady Michelle Obama got a first-hand peek at the human face of the debate as she visited an elementary school in Silver Spring, Maryland, with Mexico’s first lady Margarita Zavala.

Obama answered questions from a group of second graders who wanted to know things like what’s the president’s favorite sport and whether her daughters exercise. But one little girl asked about immigration.

The school did not identify the little girl who posed the question. Montgomery County schools spokesman Dana Tofig said schools are barred by law from asking about students’ immigration status or providing such information to others, The Washington Post reported.

A Date weekend for Michelle and Barack Obama

Barack and Michelle Obama left the kids in Washington and escaped to Asheville, North Carolina, for a quiet weekend at the grand old Grove Park Inn.

OBAMA/Upon landing aboard Air Force One, the Obamas’ motorcade made a beeline for 12 Bones Smokehouse, a popular barbecue place with signs on the wall such as, “We proudly serve pork and pork products,” and “Baby, every time I wake up next to you is an excuse to drink.”

The Obamas chatted with the lunchtime local crowd then ordered up heaping plates of ribs, greens, baked beans, corn pudding, macaroni and cheese and cornbread, all washed down with sweet tea.

White House becomes playground for annual Easter Egg Roll

Never mind nuclear arms treaties, unemployment figures, or healthcare debates. The big news at the White House on Monday was the Easter Egg Roll.

OBAMA/President Barack Obama and his family joined scores of kids and camera-toting parents for the annual event, which, in addition to the ritual tossing of eggs with spoons, featured soccer, tennis and basketball games as part of first lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign to fight childhood obesity.

“Today we have transformed the South Lawn into a playground,” Mrs. Obama told the crowd before joining the festivities.

Honored, humbled and a bit embarrassed, first lady consigns her gown to history

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Michelle Obama acknowledged having mixed feelings Tuesday as she consigned her 2009 Inaugural Ball gown to posterity and a glass case at the Smithsonian.

“So, here we are. It’s the dress,” she laughed at a ceremony in the National Museum of American History to mark the addition of her one-shouldered, floor-length, white silk chiffon gown to a permanent exhibit on first ladies.

She was joined by the gown’s 26-year-old Taiwan-born designer, Jason Wu.

“To be honest, I am very honored and very humbled, but I have to say that I’m also a little embarrassed by all the fuss,” she added. “Like many of you, I’m not used to people wanting to put things I’ve worn on display.”

What does Michelle Obama think of Sarah Palin? We may never find out…

It’s pretty clear what defeated Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin thinks of President Barack Obama, but did you ever wonder what first lady Michelle Obama thinks of Palin?

Don’t count on finding out anytime soon.

OBAMA/Asked for her “read” on Palin during a round of television interviews Tuesday, Obama was frustratingly diplomatic.

“You know, I don’t have a read,” she told CNN’s “Larry King Live” program. “I mean I try not to make or set opinions about people that I haven’t had any … substantive interaction with.”

Presidential choices: Avatar and “resisting pie”

President Barack Obama’s favorite movie is the blockbuster “Avatar” and he also likes “Away We Go.” USA/

And while first lady Michelle Obama is able to keep her iPod current with music from Grammy nominee Ledisi, the president has found it difficult to keep his selections updated.

“My iPod is kind of stuck. I just haven’t had time to sit down at a computer,” Barack Obama says in an interview with People magazine about the First Couple’s first year that will appear in the Jan. 25 issue.

Obama Christmas Day sighting: handshakes and greetings to military families

“Hey everybody, Merry Christmas.”

That was how President Barack Obama greeted military families in the NCO Mess at Marine Corps Base Hawaii on Christmas Day. OBAMA/

It was his second visit of the day to the base which is near the first family’s Hawaiian holiday home in Kailua on the island of Oahu, a 30-minute drive from Honolulu.

In the early morning hours, the president and first lady went to the gym on the base to exercise, and then they returned in late afternoon to give handshakes and hugs to Marines and their families having a Christmas day meal.