First lady: Obama should have been an architect

September 20, 2013
irst lady Michelle Obama (R) and U.S. President Barack Obama (L) greet people while visiting section 60 at Arlington Cemetery, May 27, 2013 in Arlington, Virginia. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama at Arlington Cemetery in  May  2013.(Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

During a White House event celebrating achievements in design Friday, Michelle Obama revealed her husband's secret life-long ambition: He would have been an architect  if he only had the skills.

Speaking at the Cooper-Hewitt Design Awards ceremony in the East Room, the first lady explained why "the president is so jealous right now" that she got to host the event."And every year, when I’m going over my briefing, he’s like, 'You’re doing that again?' " she said, prompting laughter from the crowd. "He’s like, 'Well, who’s there?'  Because really, deep down, he would have been an architect had he been as talented and creative as all of you."

"So from the president to you, he loves you all, he loves your work, he loves everything about every ounce of who you are, and so it is a delight to have you here," she added.

One can only imagine how different the world would be right now if Barack Obama had decided to devote his life to architecture rather than politics. Given that several cities have started holding exhibits about buildings that were never constructed, such as last year's Unbuilt Washington, Obama's future presidential library could establish an entire wing to buildings he might have designed.

Juliet Eilperin is a White House correspondent for The Washington Post, covering domestic and foreign policy as well as the culture of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. She is the author of two books—one on sharks, and another on Congress, not to be confused with each other—and has worked for the Post since 1998.
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Aaron Blake · September 20, 2013