Obama's Wife No Mere Coat Holder

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The Associated Press
Monday, May 28, 2007; 7:23 PM

CONWAY, N.H. -- Illinois Sen. Barack Obama handed his jacket to wife Michelle at one point during a steamy rally Sunday in a school gym, but it was clear she's more than a coat-holder for the Democratic presidential candidate.

When someone in the audience asked Michelle Obama why voters should vote for her husband, she walked confidently onto the stage, took the microphone and smoothly answered.

"He's a man who has put his values before his profit," she said. "He's not running for president because he wants to be president. That's sort of the irony in it. He's running for president because he believes we can do better as a country."

The line brought a standing ovation.

"I think maybe we should stop there," Barack Obama said.

But he took another question: How would Michelle Obama serve as first lady?

Returning to the stage and the microphone, she was a little less reverent.

"You may sit down," she told her husband.

Roars of laughter from the crowd.

"I come to this with a lot of interesting talents, but I think it would be unfair of me to say today what I would do in a couple of years," she continued. "I need to be prepared to do what the country needs me to do at the time.

"Whether that's baking cookies or serving as a wonderful hostess, that's my job. I have to be prepared to do what's necessary. And we won't know what that's going to be until we get there. I will be staunchly invested. It is a joint project."

At an "ice cream social" later in Berlin, N.H., the couple's daughters made their own appearance _ sort of.

As Obama and his wife walked toward the cameras and the crowds, their two young daughters took off from the RV they arrived in, making a straight line to the bins of ice cream arrayed around the town square.

"This is a wonderful vacation for us," Michelle Obama said afterward, standing under red, white and blue bunting on a wooden gazebo. "We try to turn campaigning into a family event. The only reason the girls came is because they heard about this ice cream social and they've been talking about it since we mentioned it a week ago. They got their ice cream and they're gone."


© 2007 The Associated Press

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