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Michelle Obama: 'Prison-Like Elements' to Being First Lady, 'But It's a Really Nice Prison'

"We take our bangs and we stand in front of important things the world needs to see."

7:55 AM, Jul 2, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
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In Tanzania, Michelle Obama joked about the "prison-like elements" of being first lady. "[B]ut it's a really nice prison," she said. "You can't complain."

Seat with Laura Bush, Michelle Obama said that wives of presidents "have probably the best job in the world, because while our husbands ... have to react and respond to crises on a minute-to-minute basis, we got to work on what we're passionate about. ... I have just found it a very freeing and liberating opportunity. ... [Laughing] There are prison-like elements, but it's a really nice prison. You can't complain. There are confining elements ... While people are sorting through our shoes and our hair ... whether we cut it or not ... We take our bangs and we stand in front of important things the world needs to see. And eventually people stop looking at the bangs, and start looking at the things we're standing in front of. That's the power of our role," according to quotations provided by Mike Allen.

Michelle Obama added:

Mrs. Obama dished a bit on the president: "I love my husband. But sometimes when he has five things to do, it's funny to watch - 'You don't know where your jacket is right now.'" She joked about offering a shoe to "Mr. President." She said his daughters aren't afraid to goad their Dad: "There times when Malia [who will be 15 on Thu.] is like: "SOOOO, what about climate change? What about the tigers?"

Turning serious, Mrs. Obama talked about the fleeting nature of the role: "You get your teetch into the issues, and it's time to go." So she said she describes her issues as "a forever proposition": "We are not going to end the epidemic of childhood obesity in eight years. ... There is still power in the position as a former first lady. ... We are always role models, particularly in the eyes of young girls. ... There are girls around the world ... watching us for decades to come."

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