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Mrs Obama denies being 'angry'

US First lady Michelle Obama is challenging claims she has forcefully imposed her will on White House aides and says people have wrongly tried to portray her as "some kind of angry black woman."

Mrs Obama said she has not read a new book that characterises her as a behind-the-scenes force, whose strong views often draw her into conflict with President Barack Obama's top advisers.

"I never read these books," she told CBS's Gayle King in an interview. "So I've just gotten in the habit of not reading other people's impressions of people."

In the book, Mrs Obama is said to have occasionally bristled at some of the demands and constraints of life in the White House. In the interview, Mrs Obama said, "I love this job. It has been a privilege from day one."

"Now there are challenges," she added. "If there's any anxiety that I feel, it's because I want to make sure that my girls (Malia and Sasha) come out of this on the other end whole."

The book by journalist Jodi Kantor portrays a White House where tensions developed between Mrs Obama and former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and former press secretary and presidential adviser Robert Gibbs. The book, titled "The Obamas," describes Mrs Obama as having gone through an evolution from struggle to fulfilment in her role at the White House, while labelling her an "unrecognised force" in pursuing the president's goals. Neither the president nor his wife agreed to be interviewed for the book.

"I do care deeply about my husband," Mrs Obama said. "I am one of his biggest allies. I am one of his biggest confidants." But she sought to put aside "this notion that I sit in meetings."

"I guess it's just more interesting to imagine this conflicted situation here," she said. "That's been an image people have tried to paint of me since the day Barack announced, that I'm some kind of angry black woman."

"There will always be people who don't like me," Mrs Obama added, and said she could live with that. Mrs Obama said that she's "just trying to be me, and I just hope that over time, that people get to know me."

Mrs Obama said that when questions or conflicts arise involving her and the White House staff, her East Wing staff resolves the issue with her husband's staff in the West Wing. "If there's communication that needs to happen, it's between staffs," she said. "I don't have conversations with my husband's staff."


From Belfast Telegraph