In the upcoming biography, “Michelle Obama: A Life,” author Peter Slevin claims the West Wing is blocking release of a video Michelle Obama recorded of herself commenting on the January 8, 2011, shooting of Gabby Giffords.
The video was allegedly made by Michelle because “she saw a role for herself as a mother who had a platform,” yet “her husband’s office wouldn’t release it publicly.”
According to the NY Daily News, Slevin says “The West Wing preferred the President to take the lead, and to be seen as taking it.” So Michelle appeared in a supporting role four days after the shooting, attending with her husband at the University of Arizona as he addressed the heinous attack.
And on January 13—the day after Obama spoke—Michelle released an open letter to parents encouraging them to talk to their children about the bravery of those “who risked their lives that day to save others,” about how Americans “embrace” and “support” each other “in times of crisis,” and of “the value of tolerance,” among other things.
Slevin paints a picture of Michelle as one who “has played a powerful role” in her husband’s political career. Suggesting, at some points, that it might have been too powerful, especially in 2008. “Then-campaign adviser Forrest Claypool” commented on that time by saying, “No one wanted to inform Mrs. Obama that she might want to change her approach because they feared they were ‘going to be shot.'”
The NY Daily News does not report whether the video of Michelle’s comments on the Giffords’s shooting still exists.
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