Book: Michelle Obama said life at the White House is 'hell'
Does Michelle Obama hate her life at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue? An unauthorized biography of France’s first lady says so.
The book claims that when French first lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy asked Obama about life in the White House, she said: “Don’t ask. It’s hell. I can’t stand it.”
Michelle Obama’s spokeswoman Thursday said Obama “never made the remarks,” and the French Embassy said Bruni-Sarkozy “distances herself completely” from the book, “Carla and the Ambitious,” by Michael Darmon and Yves Derai.
Whether Obama, 46, made the remark on not, one thing’s for sure there’s more pressure on first ladies than many realize.
“There’s a lot of expectation of this person to be the ideal symbol of American womanhood, and that’s incredibly tough,” said University of Missouri politics professor Betty Winfield, an expert on first ladies.
“It’s a lot of pressure to be in a glass box viewed all the time and always having to be on,” she said.
Some first ladies have fared better than others. Bess Truman couldn’t stand the life and spent much of her time away from the White House, whereas Dolly Madison and Eleanor Roosevelt used it to advance causes.
Political consultant Evan Stavinsky said speculated that the alleged comments might by used against the president by his enemies.
“It’s gonna get trapped in the Washington echo chamber,” he said. “People who hate the president will exploit it, and the people who love the president will denounce.”
Hank Sheinkopf, also a political consultant, said Americans don’t like to hear griping from the first couple..
“The first lady and the president are American royalty living in the American palace, and people don’t like to hear them complaining,” he said. “If it’s true, they’ll like her less, which means they’ll like him less.”
Some New Yorkers agree.
“It just shows they’re out of touch with the average American,” said Michael Kanotr, 43, of Midtown. “They’re living this luxurious lifestyle, and all they can do is complain about it.”
Others understood why she might feel that way.
“Living in the White House could be overwhelming, especially compared to how she was living before,” said Katie Bassham, 26, of the Lower East Side.