Expectations were high for a different kind of first lady, and in many ways Michelle Obama has lived up to them, maintaining the kind of high public profile that was widely anticipated when she and her husband came to Washington.
At the same time, she has been a victim of those expectations, disappointing some in Washington who hoped she would be a more expansive social presence, and eliciting the familiar criticism of recent first ladies that she keeps too much to herself. (See: Michelle Obama: No longer a ‘caricature’)
In a new book on the presidency, “Revival: The Struggle for Survival Inside the Obama White House,” Richard Wolffe writes that because of the constant pressure of the past 22 months the president’s circle of friends and confidants “shrank rather than expanded.”
Interviews with the spouses of administration officials and members of Congress as well as Washington social observers suggest that the same thing is true of his wife as well.