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Bonnie Fuller

Bonnie Fuller

Posted: April 29, 2009 09:57 AM

Michelle's Big Mistake: The Doozie That Derailed Her Near-Perfect First 100 Days


President Obama isn't the only O on the line after the first 100 days in office. It's also time to review the performance of the First Lady — did she make the grade in the first few months in her new role? There were some highs — her stunning bare-armed appearance and warm hugs at her husband's speech to the joint session of Congress — and some lows — did she REALLY get touchy-feely with the Queen? So just how did Michelle average out? Let's examine her record.

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INAUGURATION DAY: OVERALL A

No Question: Michelle gave an A+ performance along with her husband, walking down Pennsylvania Ave. before his swearing in. Her marks - A for the warm, genuine smiles and hand-waving, A for the jade Jimmy Choo shoes with a walking heel height, A for choosing a talented but underrated American designer, Isabel Toledo, to design her day outfit. But B for the design itself. The chartreuse color stood out boldly however the heavy fabric did make Michelle resemble a walking couch.

As for her daughters: A++ for the bright, adorable J. Crew outfits which had moms and girls swooning all over the country. Not too stuffy or preppy, which would have shouted "elitist" like the Bushies.


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INAUGURAL NIGHT: OVERALL B++

Presidential PDA: who ever would have expected it? But there, you had it. The First lady and her hubby of 16 years, acting like they were on a first date. A+ to Michelle for being such a close, loving marital partner that Barack couldn't keep his hands and lips off her through eight inaugural balls and in front of millions of viewers. A+ to the couple for setting a new high standard for Presidential marriages and inspiring couples across the land.

However, a big B for the wedding cake ballgown which only emphasized Michelle's pear shape and made her look this time, like a walking confection.


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FIRST DAYS IN THE WHITE HOUSE: A+

There wasn't one misstep to be even the tiniest bit critical about. Michelle's first order of business — two days after the inauguration, Mrs. O threw her premiere First Lady bash, making it a showcase for inclusiveness. She invited the entire White House staff — all 90 of them, from cleaning staff to top aides — to an East Room get together. A++

On the personal front, more As. A for moving her mom into the White House to be the first grandma-in-chief, bringing stability and continuity into her daughters' lives as well as publicly standing up for the importance of having a close knit family.

A for announcing that "Just Like Us" she'd be using affordable Pottery Barn in her White House renovations — no trolling for donations to buy thousands of dollars worth of new fancy china per Nancy Reagan — and A for letting it be known that in these trying times she'd be using the Obamas' own money to redecorate, not dipping into public funds.


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HUGGER IN CHIEF: A+

Nothing says I'm a First Lady who cares about the American people more than a big, warm hug. Michelle delivered them to military families at Fort Bragg, Ty'Sheoma Bethea, the 14 year-old school girl from South Carolina who wrote to the president about the appalling disrepair of her school, a White House usher and many more.


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MAKING MILITARY FAMILIES HER MISSION: A+

This move just demonstrates how A+ smart Michelle is. It's counterintuitive for a Democrat to take up what's supposedly a Republican cause AND it's such a wonderful and worthy thing to do. A+ for not just meeting with many military families but for publicizing how a military wife had to use food stamps to get by while her husband was on high-risk deployments. "That's not right or fair," Michelle pointed out. Amen!


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BARING HER BEAUTIFUL ARMS: A

Michelle gets a gold star here for the multiple points she made with this repeated move; #1) She's inspired millions of women to get off their couches, into the gyms and to start their bicep curls. With 66% of American adults overweight, that's a good deed. #2) She's helped re-orient our beauty ideals — you don't have to be a stick thin, 20-something blonde to be considered the most trend-inspiring and attractive woman in the country. #3) With her choices of sophisticated, grownup woman clothes — sometimes inexpensive — from a variety of American designers, she's given a much needed lift to the beleaguered fashion industry.

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WAITING TOO LONG TO WEAR AN AFRICAN-AMERICAN DESIGNER: C

She should have known that NOT wearing clothes by an African-American designer would be a sore point. She shouldn't have waited for over a month until the Feb. 25 issue of People to finally wear a beautiful pink sheath by African American Tracy Reese.


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ORGANIC GARDENING: A

Simple, smart idea to make the points that Michelle's a gardener like average folks, and like many parents is worried about pesticides and toxins in her family's food. Really clever photo op.

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HER EUROPEAN TOUR: B+

This should have been a no-brainer run of A++'s. Instead it was marred by a few unfortunate fashion choices — skirts that emphasized her wide, womanly hips too much, a head-scratching form-shortening bust belt and a too-casual funereal black outfit to meet the Queen. But the only D on the First Lady's 100 day report card — putting her arm around the Queen. It wasn't a booboo as in bad manners to touch the Queen. If anything, it was wonderful of her to be so enthusiastically American. The D was for distraction. Just by doing it, Michelle became a distraction in the press at a time when her husband and other leaders had way more important issues to focus on.


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THE FIRST DOG: A

For not disappointing her girls a big A. During Bo's first photo op, the President looked like he'd rather be dealing with a nuclear standoff. Clearly it was mom who made that dog happen. On behalf of dog loving Americans — thanks Michelle!

GRADE MICHELLE YOURSELF: DID MICHELLE SCORE As IN HER FIRST 100 DAYS?

For more on Michelle Obama follow Bonnie Fuller on twitter.com/bonniefuller.

All photos AP except People cover

Follow Bonnie Fuller on Twitter: www.twitter.com/bonniefuller