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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Marriage to Admire

From the New York Times:
"The couple now spend more time together than at nearly any other point since their early years together. On many days, they see Malia and Sasha off to school, exercise together and do not begin their public schedules until 9 or even 10 o’clock. They recently finished redecorating the White House residence, the first lady requesting an outdoor rocking chair for her husband to read in, the president scrutinizing colors and patterns, said the White House social secretary. The pair recently began playing tennis. (He wins, she admitted; for now, he added.) This summer, the first lady surprised her husband for his birthday by gathering his old basketball buddies for a weekend at Camp David.

Barack and Michelle Obama are also a more fully fused political team than ever before, with no other jobs to distract them, no doubts about the worthiness of the pursuit dogging them. Theirs is by no means a co-presidency; aides say the first lady has little engagement with banking reform, nuclear disarmament or most of the other issues that dominate her husband’s days. But their goals are increasingly intertwined, with Michelle Obama speaking out on healthcare, privately mulling over Supreme Court nominees with the president and serving as his consultant on personnel and public opinion. When they lounge on the Truman Balcony or sit inside at their round dining table, she describes how she believes his initiatives are perceived outside Washington; later, say advisers, the president quotes the first lady in Oval Office meetings.

If winning the White House represents a resolution of the Obamas’ struggles, it also means a new, higher-stakes confrontation with some of the vexing issues that fed those tensions. Their marriage is more vulnerable than ever to the corrosions of politics: partisan attacks, disappointments of failed initiatives, a temptation to market what was once wholly private. Some of the methods the Obamas devised for keeping their relationship strong — speaking frankly in public, maintaining separate careers, even date nights — are no longer as easily available to them. Like every other modern presidential couple, the Obamas have watched their world contract to one building and a narrow zone beyond, and yet their partnership expand to encompass a staff and two wings of the White House. And while the presidency tends to bring couples closer, historians say, it also tends to thrust them back to more traditionbound behavior."

2 comments:

remas haytham said...
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Meiqing Xu said...
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