The White House just released an expansive photo-feature of First Lady Michelle Obama giving people hugs, highlighting the personal warm side of the presidency and debuting an official #HuggerInChief hashtag.
“President Obama may be the Commander-in-chief. But clearly his wife–First Lady Michelle Obama is the hugger-in-chief,” writes White House photographer Pete Souza in a blog post, noting that “she’s been hugging people nonstop since Day 1.”
“I’ve always been a big hugger that’s just how I am and it’s always my first instinct when I meet someone,” the First Lady told Souza, adding that giving hugs are “how I show warmth and make folks feel at home.”
The White House hug feature includes 28 photos of Michelle Obama hugging people, including TV celebrities such as Ellen DeGeneres and Oprah Winfrey.
Hugs, she explains, allow her to connect with people at the same level, without letting them be intimidated by her position in the White House.
“I think it puts folks at ease and shows them that while I might happen to have a fancy title, I’m just Michelle,” she continued. “I’m myself and I want to know who they are, I want them to feel comfortable telling me their story.”