- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 2, 2013

First lady Michelle Obama spoke of the power and the prestige — and prison feel — of the White House during a visit with African wives in Tanzania on Tuesday.

Being first lady has “prisonlike elements,” she said, as the Weekly Standard reported. She made the comments seated next to former first lady Laura Bush.

Specifically, she said: Presidents’ wives “have probably the best job in the world because while our husbands … have to react and respond to crises on a minute-to-minute basis, we got to work on what we’re passionate about. I have just found it a very freeing and liberating opportunity … there are prisonlike elements, but it’s a really nice prison. You can’t complain. There are confining elements.”

Mrs. Obama also spoke of the need to overcome the media and public focus on her appearance to push an agenda that’s important to her.

“While people are sorting through our shoes and our hair, whether we cut it or not. … We take our bangs and we stand in front of important things the world needs to see,” she said. “And eventually people stop looking at the bangs and start looking at the things we’re standing in front of. That’s the power of our role.”

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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