Could Michelle Obama run for President?

Michelle Obama may be the only US political figure to appear more likeable now than when she emerged on the scene.

A mid-October WSJ/NBC poll found Americans look more favourably upon the First Lady than any major politician in the country right now.

She scored the highest positive rating at 59 per cent, and the lowest negative rating at 25 per cent.

Her husband Barack came in second place, at 51 per cent positive and 39 per cent negative. Hillary Clinton was further down the list with a 40 per cent positive and 50 per cent negative vote.

Donald Trump scored the lowest on the poll, at 29 per cent positive and 62 per cent negative.

Of course, the big difference is Michelle is not an elected official, and therefore she's not inherently subject to the criticism and constant scrutiny that politicians are.

But it goes without saying that she's one of the most popular First Ladies of all time, with growing calls on social media for her to run for President.

WHY MICHELLE OBAMA IS SO POPULAR

A 2014 survey of 242 historians and political scientists ranked Michelle Obama the fifth greatest First Lady in US history. Eleanor Roosevelt ranked in first place, with Hillary Clinton coming in sixth.

Reuters summarised her ranking saying: "Current first lady Michelle Obama scored particularly high in the categories of "being her own woman" and "value to the president." Her weakest area was seen to be in her capacity of "being the White House steward."

Throughout her time in the White House, she's remained distant enough from politics to avoid being associated with the establishment, while addressing social issues - from healthy eating to girls' education - that have shown her as a strong and likeable figure.

First lady Michelle Obama speaks during a campaign rally for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Photo / AP
First lady Michelle Obama speaks during a campaign rally for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Photo / AP


Throughout the presidential campaign, Michelle Obama has been seen as having a unique role to play for the Democrats, in keeping women, minority groups and young people engaged.

She resonates with the American public in a lot of ways that Hillary Clinton does not - with the latter figure associated with scandal, mistrust and, above all, the Washington establishment.

In an opinion piece published earlier this month, the Washington Post said Michelle Obama is the "perfect foil" for Donald Trump, because she's one high-profile woman he'll never go after in response.

The First Lady has been credited with giving the two best speeches of the 2016 presidential campaign - both of which hit out at the Republican candidate.

Her address at the Democratic National Convention, in which she gave a personal reflection on life raising two African-American girls in the White House, was touted by the media as the "speech of a lifetime".

Most notably, she drew widespread praise for condemning hateful language from public figures, saying: "Our motto is, when they go low, we go high".

Last week, Michelle launched a direct attack on the Republican candidate in response to the now-infamous 2005 recording of his lewd comments about women.

"I can't stop thinking about this. It has shaken to me to my core in a way that I couldn't have predicted," she told a campaign rally in New Hampshire.

"So while I would love nothing more than pretend that this isn't happening and come out here and do my normal campaign speech, it would be dishonest and disingenuous to just move onto the next thing like this was all a bad dream. This is not something we can ignore."

Even Trump supporters were singing her praises for her words, with radio show Glenn Beck said Michelle's speech was "the most effective 'political speech' (he has) seen since perhaps Reagan".

"Whether you like her or not, whether you even believe her or not, the words she spoke were true and this is what happens when the truth based deep eternal principles is spoken," he wrote on Facebook.

Despite the enormous public reaction to both speeches, Trump did not hit back. To the contrary, he told The Hollywood Reporter: "I thought her delivery was excellent. I thought she did a very good job. I liked her speech."

WOULD MICHELLE EVER RUN FOR PRESIDENT?

The short answer is no. Not likely.

The speculation over whether Michelle would go for the top job dates back at least four years, but she has said several times she has no desire to run for the position.

In April 2012, Obama was asked by a child whether she plans to run for president, during a White House event.

"Absolutely not," she said. "Being president is a really hard job and it's an important job. And when my husband is running for president, we're right in there; we're serving, too. And I think that once his terms are over, we'll go on to do other important things because there are so many ways that you can help this country and the world, even if you're not president of the United States."

In March this year, she reiterated that statement. "I will not run for president. No, nope, not going to do it," she told a crowd at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas.

Officials close to the First Lady - including her husband - have similarly said it would never happen.

"There are three things that are certain in life ... death, taxes, and Michelle is not running for president," Barack Obama said earlier this year.

According to Kate Andersen Brower, a former White House correspondent and author of First Women: The Grace and Power of America's Modern First Ladies, it's just not one of Michelle's ambitions.

"She doesn't want to," she told Fortune. "She is a reluctant First Lady.

"She doesn't like politics in general. She doesn't like the games that are played in Washington."

Instead, Bowers suggested it's likely Michelle will end up releasing a best-selling book. She suggested the First Lady will be more likely to speak out about signature issues like gun control and women's education.

Two years ago, Michelle said her plans post-White House "definitely will not be" political, but will be "mission-based" and "service-focused".

Whatever it is, she'll no doubt be missed.

- news.com.au

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