“I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN AND WILL PROBABLY ALWAYS BE A WORKING MOM.”

There’s been a lot of talk of Michelle Obama toning down her feisty, activist timbre in recent weeks, and indeed, in her speech today at the National Partnership for Women and Families luncheon, she somewhat eschewed the “two for the price of one” model by choosing to downplay talk of specific policies in favor of broad empathizing with overburdened, working class moms:

The mother struggling to make ends meet because her salary isn’t keeping up with the cost of groceries for her children, but if she takes a second job, she can’t afford the babysitter. … Women across this country who earn less than men in similar jobs and believe me, when we’re paid less, we know. … [Military] families who welcome their loved ones home with full hearts but with very little support from their government.

Michelle actually sounded eerily like Hillary Clinton at times, which made sense at an event that was, in part, designed to reintroduce the Obamas to feminist Clinton supporters. But Michelle didn’t speak about pre-k, or education at all, or child care, though she did mention universal health care.

She did get a truly great line in, one that says she’ll continue to poke at conservative sensibilities of what a first lady should be. “I have always been and will probably always be in some way, shape, or form, a working mom,” Michelle affirmed, saying her daughters have always taken for granted two parents who worked both at home and in the outside world. “My kids don’t care where I am,” she joked, “as long as we’re back in time for bed time they could care less where we are.”

--Dana Goldstein

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