Need the lowdown on the Democratic National Convention? Crikey has pulled together some of the best commentary and profiles of the principal speakers at the DNC in Denver, Colorado.

DAY ONE — Monday 25 August 2008 — “One Nation”

MICHELLE OBAMA

Michelle Obama, African American feminist power icon/supermum? She’s proved that a black girl from working class Chicago can go Ivy League and big time academic before posing in pearls and a twin set for Vanity Fair as the wife of a presidential candidate, and with a couple of kids tucked under her arm. But commentators seems to be confused about who Obama really is and what she represents…

Michelle Obama: Campaigning her way. Spend a few minutes with Michelle Obama and it quickly becomes clear that nobody tells her what to say. Her husband, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, is a top contender for the Democratic presidential nomination, but in an interview with USA TODAY, she admits she hasn’t thought much about what she’d do as first lady. “I survive this stuff by not getting too far ahead,” she says. Most presidential candidates and their spouses are wary of blunt talk because they fear saying something that might alienate voters or blow up into a damaging news story. — USA Today

The Other Obama. If Michelle Obama’s husband succeeds in garnering the Democratic nomination and then in winning the general election in November, she will be not only the first black First Lady of the United States but also one of the youngest since Jackie Kennedy. Yet, for a potential revolutionary, Michelle Obama is deeply conventional. — The New Yorker 

Barack’s Rock. Direct and plain-spoken, with an edgy sense of humor uncommon in a political spouse, Michelle Obama complements her husband’s more grandiose style. She can be tough, and even a little steely, an attitude that stems, at least in part, from wanting to live up to the high expectations her father set for her. She wants to change the world, but she also wants to win this thing now that they’re so deeply invested. — News Week

Wife Lessons. It is impossible not to be at least a little awed by Michelle Obama. It’s not just the height (5’11”), the style (among Vanity Fair’s best-dressed on the planet), and the air of supreme confidence (the woman sports sleeveless tops at major photo ops). There is also her up-by-the-bootstraps backstory as a South Side of Chicago girl gone double Ivy (Princeton and Harvard Law, thank you very much), followed by her years spent juggling a successful legal career while raising two daughters. — The New Republic

First Lady in Waiting. Mrs. Obama has a long history of speaking out about the ways in which men’s choices—particularly their professional ambitions—often leave their wives to pick up the slack, even when they have their own careers. “What I notice about men, all men, is that their order is me, my family, God is in there somewhere, but me is first,” she told the Chicago Tribune in 2004. “And for women, me is fourth, and that’s not healthy.” — Women’s Issues

See Michelle Obama speaking to DNC’s Gay & Lesbian Leadership Council here.

Peter Fray

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