Michelle Obama very nearly derailed her husband's bid for the White House on Feb. 18 when she declared that, "For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country." But her appearance on the "Tonight Show" last night spoke to the maturation of a sharp political operative.
It was literally a made-for-television event, as she came out in a canary yellow skirt and top. Leno, ever the affable host and willing straight man, asked where she had gotten the outfit.
"Actually, this is a J. Crew ensemble," replied the First Lady hopeful, firing a shot across the bow of Sarah Palin, who inexplicably still finds herself embroiled in an absurd clothing controversy.
But she then wisely flipped the script, saying she was "empathetic" to her husband's political rival.
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"A V.P. pick, it's like being shot out of a cannon. All of a sudden you're at the center of attention, and you want to look good," said Michelle Obama, adding she has never met Palin.
"You're living in your home, minding your business, and all of a sudden you're on the national stage and everyone's watching."
The talk show circuit has been a key platform for her re-introduction to Americans. From "The View" to "Ellen" and seemingly every gabfest in between, Obama's tirelessly presented herself to the voting public.
She's also begun to excel in less rehearsed settings, such as cold calls to undecided voters in Ohio.
Not long ago, Michelle Obama going off-script would have touched off a firestorm of panic on Team Obama. No longer.