Entries in First Lady (20)


First Lady Visits Children’s Hospital, First Dog in Tow

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Young patients at the Children’s National Medical Center were entertained today with Christmas festivities, including a visit from Santa Claus and a story reading from first lady Michelle Obama. The first family’s dog, Bo, also came, much to the delight of the children.

Balancing a slightly-too-large pooch on her lap, the first lady read “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” interjecting her own jokes and commentary as she went.

“Do you know the names of the reindeer?” she asked her audience. “‘Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen! On, Comet! on Cupid! On, Donner and Blitzen!’ You see, Bo?” she said, gesturing to a picture of the sled.

“As I drew in my head and was turning around, down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound,” she continued from the book. “Why do you think it was a ‘bound?’ Because St. Nick is a little hefty! Jolly, exactly.”

Michelle Obama’s visit to the hospital continues a tradition for first ladies dating to the years of Bess Truman. Her visit coincided with an appearance at a charity concert benefiting the hospital earlier this week.

After the reading, she took a few questions from the children in the audience.

The first lady reported there were 12 chimneys in the White House and the Secret Service has cleared Santa for entrance. But she was tight-lipped when asked what she was getting President Obama for the holiday, citing the press in the back of the room.

“Well, I can’t tell,” she replied. “Look, they’re going to print it in the papers tomorrow. What do you think I should get him?  Give me some ideas.”

One child suggested a new iPad Mini, after learning the president already owns the full-sized version of the tablet computer.

The first lady made no mention of the shooting deaths at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut Friday; her appearance came mere moments before her husband addressed the nation regarding the attack.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Michelle Obama Collects Toys for Tots with Marine Corps

Leon Neal/WPA POOL/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — First lady Michelle Obama volunteered with the Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots campaign Tuesday, continuing a tradition she’s made with the organization each year since entering the White House.

Toys for Tots is a volunteer organization that collects gifts for needy children. Before joining service members in sorting the toy and clothing donations into large boxes for delivery, Obama thanked the assorted volunteers, which were overwhelmingly military, for taking time for the program during the holiday season.

“As you all know, Toys for Tots started with a military family — a Marine reservist and his wife who decided that they wanted to make the holiday just a little bit better for kids in need,” she said. “And since then, so many Americans — including so many military families like all of you — have spent countless hours bringing gifts and holiday cheer and everything else that is wonderful about the holidays to children all across this country.”

The first lady said the event was an example of military families “always going that extra mile” to serve communities.

“Somehow you always are the first people to volunteer for something,” she said. “It could be as simple as the carpool, or the PTA, or a food pantry, or you’re stepping up for a neighbor or friend; family members of your own.”

The small event took place at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in the southeast of the city. Some donations came from the White House itself, including clothes from the Obama daughters, Sasha and Malia.

Also found among the gifts were boxes of K’NEX construction toys President Obama brought back from a recent visit to their factory in Pennsylvania.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


First Lady Unveils White House Holiday Decorations  

Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy(WASHINGTON) -- It took 54 live Christmas trees, 175 pounds of gingerbread, and 85 volunteers from across the country to pull it off, but the holidays have finally arrived at the White House.
First lady Michelle Obama welcomed military families to the White House Wednesday for the big reveal and to show off this year’s theme of “Joy to All.”
“It celebrates the many joys of the holiday seasons:  the joy of giving and service to others; the joy of sharing our blessings with one another; and, of course, the joy of welcoming our friends and families as guests into our homes over these next several weeks,” she told the crowd gathered in the East Room.
The first lady praised the service and sacrifice of the families gathered at the White House Wednesday, which included Gold Star and Blue Star parents, spouses and children. “This is one big, huge thank you,” she said. “I have said this many times before and I will say it again, because I can't say it enough -- our military families truly represent the very best that this country has to offer.  And I've seen it up close.  You all do so much for this country, and you do it with such amazing poise and grace.”
Several of the decorations honor the military, including red, white and blue wreaths and special ornaments decorated by families of fallen soldiers. The decor also includes a nod to holidays past, with four trees trimmed with ornaments paying tribute to the legacies of former first ladies. “They just give you a sense of what Christmas felt like in other administrations with other families and first ladies,” Mrs. Obama said.
More than 90,000 visitors will tour the decorations at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue this holiday season, which now boasts a huge 18-foot-6-inch Fraser fir in the Blue Room and a giant topiary of the Obama family dog Bo made out of 20,000 black and white pom-poms.
Other highlights include the annual White House gingerbread house, which weighs in at an impressive 300 pounds. “It even includes chandeliers that light up,” the first lady bragged. “It glows. Like Rudolph’s nose, right.”
Fun facts about this year’s decorations:

  • The official White House Christmas Tree in the Blue Room is an 18-foot-6-inch Fraser fir from the Estes Family’s Peak Farms in Jefferson, North Carolina, the winning tree farm of the National Christmas Tree Association’s National Christmas Tree Contest.
  • More than 175 pounds of gingerbread and modified gingerbread make up the White House Gingerbread House. With over 50 pounds of chocolate, the house weighs about 300 pounds. The combination of wheat, rye, and white-flour gingerbread mimics the color of the sandstone house prior to 1798, when the house was first painted white.
  • There are more than 40 “Bo-flake” ornaments throughout the White House.
  • The snowflakes at the East Entrance are made out of lightweight laminate board. Volunteers clipped and wired small boxwood bundles, dipped them in floor wax to preserve the freshness, and hot glued them to the frame. The project took approximately 25 volunteers a total of 100 hours to make.
  • The berry, pinecone, and leaf designs of the East Entrance column covers took a team of 40+ volunteers over two months to make. The column covers were constructed over a plywood base using 60,000 berries, 15,000 gold pinecone scales, and 15,000 pieces of lemon leaf. The pattern forms a three-dimensional geometric motif of “illusion cubes.”
  • The giant Bo topiary in Booksellers is made out of 18,000 one-inch black pom-poms and 2,000 white pom-poms. The pom-poms were strung on a single strand of yarn and then applied in an overlapping technique to resemble Bo’s fur. The Bo topiary took one volunteer approximately 85 hours to complete.
  • The colorful iron arches in the Lower Cross Hall are covered with over 6,000 repurposed White House ornaments. The arches took a team of 12 volunteers a total of 350 hours to make.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Meaning Behind First Lady, Ann Romney Matching Dresses

Bruce Bennett/Michael Reynolds/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Michelle Obama and Ann Romney may not agree on who should be our next president but their wardrobes were in perfect harmony Tuesday night at the second presidential debate in Hempstead, N.Y.  Both women showed up at Hofstra University sporting hot pink dresses on their husbands’ big night.

Ann Romney wore a short-sleeved sheath dress by Oscar de la Renta along with a statement-making jade-colored necklace. Sarah Haley, spokeswomen for Mrs. Romney, said she “has been very involved with breast cancer awareness this month by visiting hospitals and meeting with patients and survivors. She’s worn lots of pink as a result!”

Andrea Rader, managing director of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation, told ABC News that they noticed that the first lady and Ann Romney wore pink Tuesday night. “When women like the first lady and Mrs. Romney support breast cancer awareness, they help us to remind women of the importance of breast health and the mission to end breast cancer through treatments and community health programs. ”

According to the Obama campaign, the first lady also wore pink in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Michelle Obama was dressed in a hot pink dress with a matching collared jacket by Michael Kors. Though this pink popped on the first lady during the debate, this is not the first time that she has sported the feminine shade. She was recently seen wearing a beautiful pink Tracy Reese Dress during her Democratic National Convention speech in September.

On Oct. 3, the White House turned on pink lights and reportedly President Obama has been spotted wearing the supportive pink bracelet symbolizing support for breast cancer awareness.

The president also issued a proclamation on Oct. 1 declaring the month National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


First Lady Hosts Nation's Top Innovators at White House

Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy(WASHINGTON) -- First Lady Michelle Obama paid tribute to some of the nation’s top innovators at the White House Friday. Winners of the Smithsonian Institution’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Awards are honored annually by the Smithsonian as creative thinkers in disciplines the organization believes are critical in shaping humanistic achievements.
At a luncheon in the White House’s East Room, the first lady said it was important to put faces on the winners for their contributions to society.
“All of them have done something really good for our country and our world.  From the clothes we wear to the technologies we use to the public spaces we enjoy, their work affects just about every aspect of our lives,” she said.
The sentiment was echoed by Dr. Wayne Clough, secretary of the Smithsonian.
“We see design around us every day, in everything small and large, from the paper clip to the shuttle Discovery,” he said.  "The awards demonstrate and celebrate how design affects the quality of our life, the community, our education, and yes, our environment.”
This year’s 11 winners range in fields from biology to fashion design, and everything in between. They include names such as Scott Wilson, whose firm collaborated on the design for Microsoft’s Xbox 360 gaming platform and the iPod Nano. Also on the list: Tim Prestero, whose organization Design that Matters focuses on solutions for developing countries. One innovation they sprung: A neonatal care unit created out of spare car parts.
Richard Saul Wurman received a lifetime achievement award during the event. Wurman is the creator of the popular “TED Talks” conferences, yearly non-profit events where the world’s top thinkers and doers share their ideas.
Friday’s event was preceded by an education program for Washington high school students. The youths of the “design fair,” selected for their own unique projects, also met the winners one-on-one.
Obama said she hoped the event would inspire those young people to keep at it.
“What you guys have to understand is that these honorees weren’t born brilliant designers,” she said.  "They became brilliant designers because they worked hard.  They’re here today because they had a dream, and they put in long, hard, exhausting work -- all of that [is what] it takes to follow that dream.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


First Lady to NATO Spouses in Chicago: ‘Feels Good to Be Home’

Alex Wong/Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- As NATO leaders launched two days of summit talks, first lady Michelle Obama hosted their spouses at a youth center in the neighborhood where she grew up, saying, “It really feels good to be home.”

“I brought them here because I am so proud of where I grew up, and I wanted to show everyone some of the wonderful things that are happening here on the South Side,” the first lady told the audience at the Gary Comer Youth Center on Chicago’s South Side.

The first lady encouraged the students to work hard and aim high.

“I grew up just like you.  Same background.  My family didn’t have a lot of money growing up.  Neither of my parents had the opportunity to go to college, and most of the folks in my neighborhood didn’t get a chance to go, either,” she said.  “But I decided to just focus, to push the haters out, to kick the doubters out of my head.  And instead, what I did was I worked really hard.  I focused all my energy on working hard.

“What I want you all to know is that with every acceptance letter I received, I realized that it didn’t matter where I was from, didn’t matter how much money my family had,” she said.

The first lady and her guests, who hailed from such far-away places as Croatia, Turkey and France, toured the center’s rooftop vegetable garden and watched the children show off their culinary skills.  The students demonstrated how to prepare their original strawberry basil vinaigrette dressing.

The first ladies sampled the dressing and agreed that it was delicious, according to the pool report.

The students also showed off their moves, performing a hip hop aerobics routine to a Michael Jackson tune.  The group also took in a performance by the South Side’s Muntu Dance Theater, which did a traditional African dance accompanied by drums.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Michelle Obama on Letterman: ‘This Isn’t Oprah!’

Alex Wong/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- In her debut appearance on CBS’ Late Show, Michelle Obama had one question for host David Letterman: Where are the laughs?

In an early released clip of the interview, which aired Monday night, the first lady talked about her father’s battle with multiple sclerosis.

“I never knew him to be able to walk, but my dad worked so hard and he loved us so much, and I think from him I learned just absolute, complete unconditional love, the notion that kids really don’t need anything but to know that their parents adore them,” Obama said.

“I think that’s the greatest gift they gave us, just their constant support and, you know, stability, and that’s really what we try to instill in our girls,” she added. “I mean, you talk about raising kids, it’s just really -- you know, we had rules, we had boundaries, but there wasn’t anything my dad wouldn’t do for us, and, uh -- don’t make me cry.”

Recognizing the conversation had taken a turn for the serious, Obama exclaimed: “This isn’t Oprah!”

“It’s supposed to be ‘Letterman.’ What’s up? Where are the laughs?” she said.

“Did somebody tell you this was Oprah? Is that why you’re here?” Letterman said. “Oh my, someone misled the first lady.”

There were, of course, plenty of laughs as the first lady showcased her comedic, and sarcastic, side.

Pressing Obama about her private conversations with the president, Letterman asked, “Hypothetically speaking, at the end of the day…has your husband ever come home and said to you, ‘Oh, that John Boehner, what an idiot.’”

The first lady laughed.

“It has never happened, never, never,” she said, shaking her head. “He is always upbeat, particularly about Congress.”

“Yeah, how can you not be upbeat?” Letterman said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


White House Black History Celebration Continues; Obama Sings the Blues

Chris Kleponis/Bloomberg via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama showed off his vocal abilities once again Tuesday night, singing a few lines of “Sweet Home Chicago” during the finale of a blues concert at the White House.

“We were trying to get you to help us sing that because I heard you singing Al Green,” blues great Buddy Guy urged the president from the stage, referring to Obama’s infamous performance at the Apollo last month when he sang a few lines of “Let’s Stay Together.”

“So you’ve started something. You’ve got to keep it up,” Guy said.

A reluctant Obama ultimately obliged.

“Come on… Baby don’t you want to go,” Obama sang, mic in hand, as the crowd swayed around him and the first lady cheered him on. “Oh come on, baby don’t you want to go.”

The president then held the mic up briefly for the legendary B.B. King to sing the line “… that same old place,” before Obama brought it home, “… sweet home Chicago.”

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The president joined the band in the closing moments of a concert by music legends and young stars in the East Room that was part of the White House Concert Series.

B.B. King, “The King of Blues,” dressed to the nines in a shimmery jacket, kicked off the celebration with a rousing rendition of “Let the Good Times Roll” followed by “The Thrill Is Gone.”

The president and Michelle Obama, joined by first grandmother Marian Robinson and members of the administration and Congress, listened to the music of Trombone Shorty, Shemekia Copeland, Keb Mo and Jeff Beck, among others.

Jagger took to the stage roughly half-way through the concert and lived up to expectations, belting out “I Can’t Turn You Loose” and “Miss You.”

Tuesday night’s salute to the blues was in recognition of Black History Month.

“This is music with humble beginnings -- roots in slavery and segregation, a society that rarely treated black Americans with the dignity and respect that they deserved,” the president said.

Earlier Tuesday, first lady Michelle Obama hailed blues music as “deeply American” and “deeply human” at a workshop for several dozen middle and high school students in the State Dining Room -- an event held as part of the ongoing White House music series and in recognition of African-American history month.

“This music wraps all of our emotions -- whether it’s love and loss, joy and sorrow, heartbreak and celebration -- it wraps it all into an art form that stirs our souls and it helps us rise above all our struggles,” the first lady said.

She was joined on stage by singer-songwriter guitarist Keb Mo; vocal artist Shemekia Copeland; and trombonist Troy ‘Trombone Shorty’ Andrews. Mo has won three Grammys, while Copeland and Andrews have both been nominated.

The first lady told the young audience that the career paths of the artists and her husband, President Obama, illustrate what can be achieved through hard work.

“The President didn’t start out at the top either.  Neither did I, but let’s talk about him for a little bit since he’s not here,” she said, drawing laughter. “He had to work hard, and get a little focused -- and he wasn’t focused all the time.  It was later in life that he got a little focus, right?  So even if you mess up a little bit, you can get right on track.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


First Lady Gets Her Hands Dirty, Promotes Healthy Living in Chicago

Scott Olson/Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- The first lady looked as much fashionplate as farmhand as she toured Iron Street urban farm on Chicago’s Southside Tuesday.

There to support Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s effort to shrink “inner-city food deserts” (areas devoid of grocery stores and healthy food choices) and to advance her own agenda of healthy eating and fitness, the first lady toured the facility and learned about aquaponics, worm composting and various types of indoor agriculture, such as oyster mushroom chandeliers.

At one point standing over a compost pile, the first lady picked up a worm and said mischievously to the media, “It’s alive!”

Outside the large warehouse facility sit several greenhouses. The first lady went down rows of “curly” kale in one of them, getting guidance from farm staff tending these year-round crops.

Johnny Evans, 19, was one of them. He said he talked to the Michelle Obama about how “we grow these greens year-round in these greenhouses, all natural, no electricity. The compost keeps it warm.”

Michelle Obama looked sleek, comfortable and fashionable in black pants and a tan-and-black, nautical-striped long-sleeve jersey that gathered to a bow on her right shoulder.

At the event, the first lady joined with Emanuel to announce the opening of 36 new grocery stores across the city.

Her stop Tuesday is part of Obama’s national tour to promote her Let’s Move initiative. The campaign aims to promote healthy eating and exercise while combating childhood obesity. Earlier this month, Obama rallied with 400 children in an effort to break the world record for most people doing jumping jacks in a day, calling the National Geographic Kids-sponsored program “Let’s Jump!”

Tuesday night the first lady hosted a fundraiser for her husband in the Windy City.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


President and First Lady Visit Pentagon on Day of Remembrance

Joshua Roberts-Pool/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama made a stop at the Pentagon Sunday afternoon to remember those who died there during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The visit completes their stops at every location where the United States was attacked by terrorists 10 years ago Sunday. The day of remembrance ends with a concert at the Kennedy Center, where the president will deliver remarks.

The couple spent most of their Pentagon visit meeting with families of the victims. One hundred twenty five people inside the Pentagon and 59 passengers aboard American Airlines Flight 77 were killed at the Pentagon on 9/11.

The president laid a wreath and observed a moment of silence in remembrance of the victims. After laying the wreath, Obama crossed over a dateline on the ground there that reads “September 11, 2001 9:37 AM,” the exact moment the Pentagon was struck.

The president and first lady also made stops in New York and Pennsylvania to mark the sober anniversary.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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