Michelle Obama is the “most fascinating person of 2009”


Michelle Obama is all over the place this week, much as she’s been all over the place this year. While her husband’s poll numbers take a tumble, Michelle’s approval ratings have been steadily in the 50 to 70% range most of the year – America loves their new first lady. We love to talk about her clothes, her White House garden, her speeches, and her hair. So it’s not really surprising that Barbara Walters chose the First Lady as her “Most Fascinating Person of 2009”. Frankly, I’m only surprised that Barbara chose so wisely. She could have picked the Gosselins, for God’s sake. Here’s more:

Michelle Obama is Barbara Walters’ Most Fascinating Person of 2009.

Almost a year since the Obama family moved to Washington, D.C., the first lady reflected on the transition to the White House.

“It has been a whirlwind. But it’s been amazing,” she told Walters. “I mean, if you think about this year, I had to get these two beautiful girls settled into a new city, into a new home, into a new school. We got a dog. I visited eight countries with my husband. I planted a garden. I’ve started a mentoring program. It has been everything. And now, here we are at our first Christmas in the White House.”

During her tenure as first lady, Obama has promoted healthy living and taken steps to combat childhood obesity — creating a vegetable garden on the White House lawn and holding health fairs with exercise stations for kids.

“I think I’ve begun to lay the foundation to a conversation about the health of our kids — particularly when we’re looking at statistics that say that one in three kids in this country are obese, and those numbers increase if you’re African-American or Hispanic,” she said. “So we’re going to spend a lot more time on that issue in the years to come.”

The first African-American first lady is also one of the fittest. Wearing a sleeveless dress in her official White House portrait, Obama’s toned arms have become part of her signature style — and the envy of many. Obama, who often joins her husband in the White House gym, told Walters that her workout regimen began after the birth of their first daughter, Malia.

“My personal routine hasn’t changed much in the past 11 years,” she said. “I really started right after I had Malia, our oldest, and some of that was, you know, in all honesty it was a little sort of revenge because I’m married to a man who has worked out all of his life. And regardless of how busy he is, he finds the time to work out. And there was a point at which I got a little resentful of that.”

“[Malia] was still waking up for that four o’clock feeding and I’d get up because I’d be the first one to hear her, and he’d be asleep,” she added. “And I thought, ‘I’m up, I might as well go to the gym. And if I get to the gym, then he’ll have to wake up and do that feeding.’ I get a workout in and everyone will be happy. So you know, if there’s anything that I can attribute these arms to, it’s probably just determination.”

The Obamas who have been married for 17 years have had their share of ups and downs. Michelle Obama told Walters that despite her confidence in her husband’s natural ability, at a certain point, the grueling demands of politics bothered her.

“I had always had this dilemma,” she said. “It wasn’t that I didn’t believe in my husband as a phenomenal leader. I mean, that was always the pull — because I always thought, ‘Well, if I wanted somebody as my state senator, or as my U.S. senator, or as my president, I would want Barack Obama.’ And the only reason he wouldn’t do it is if I said no.”

When asked by Walters if the president would have stopped pursuing politics if she really put her foot down, the first lady said, “He would have.”

[From ABC News]

In addition to the “Most Fascinating” honor (which isn’t that big of a deal, honestly), the First Lady and the President are participating in a holiday special with Oprah, “Christmas at the White House: An Oprah Primetime Special”. It airs on December 13 at 10 p.m. on ABC. The “Most Fascinating” thing is on ABC too, so it looks like ABC got custody of the Obamas for the holidays, and NBC will probably take them back in the new year.

In one other piece of Michelle Obama-related news, the designer Douglas Hannat (who?) tried to pull an Oscar de la Renta and publicly disrespected Michelle and her clothes. Sort of. The original published comment came via Page Six, where they reported Hannat’s comment as “Everyone compares her to Jackie O–she is not the next Jackie O.” Hannat then got his publicist to e-mail the Huffington Post with this comment from Hannat: “I did say ‘Michelle Obama is not another Jackie Kennedy and I do not consider to be a style icon.’ But in addition, I also said ‘She has so much more to her and has mass appeal. I admire her as a role model and think she will achieve great things in her position as First Lady.’ And by the way, I voted for Obama.” Crisis averted!

Photos courtesy of Entertainment Tonight & ABC, photographs by Pete Souza @ the White House.


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51 Responses to “Michelle Obama is the “most fascinating person of 2009””

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  1. Popcorny says:

    I love Michelle Obama, she’s great.
    Barbara Walters on the other hand -a complete joke. Her lame list of “fascinating people” reads more like “z-listers desperate enough to show up”.

  2. J.D.M.J. says:

    Excellent choice!

  3. dude says:

    sorry babwa i disagree!

  4. angie says:

    What exactly is so fascinating about her? I hear a comment about her arms being so toned. We can get Madge for that. MO doesn’t have half the class or fashion sense of any former first lady.

  5. Ursula says:

    Best choice, who would have thunk it? Honestly, Michelle Obama has more to her than a fashion icon. Hopefully, we can tap into her intelligence with time.

  6. Firestarter says:

    Thank you for removing that comment.

  7. snowball says:

    You’re absolutely right, angie. Michelle’s got nothing on Eleanor Roosevelt’s fashion sense. What’s classless about her though? Did she do something particularly heinous?

    Baba WaWa’s “most fascinating” list has become less and less relevant every year. Maybe the really interesting people don’t want to have anything to do with her so she just has someone pick names out of a hat.

  8. lucy2 says:

    I don’t know that I’d call her the “Most Fascinating”, especially since she seems pretty low key, but I do like her.
    And I do think she’s classy and stylish. Most stylish First Lady ever will always be Jackie O, but Michelle always looks good.

  9. Shelly says:

    Why is she the most fascinating of 2009? I’m sure she works hard to keep her arms in top shape like that but must she always show them? I don’t think she’ll ever rank anywhere near Jackie O in the fashion world but at least she’s dressing better now than when BO first took office.

  10. voodoobetty says:

    Must have been a boring year

  11. Anastasia says:

    I don’t find her fascinating, but I do think she’s pretty classy.

    I think the former First Lady was pretty classy, too, though I questioned her taste in men, LOL!

    But yeah, the first lady really has a pretty easy time having higher approval ratings than her husband, since she typically doesn’t have to make difficult, unpopular (at least with some of the population) decisions. That applies to all of them, not just this one.

  12. Praise St. Angie! says:

    I like her too. she seems down to earth, a good mom, and a classy lady.

    BUT…”most fascinating of 2009″? not exactly.

  13. Just a Poster says:

    Well.. I was shocked by how much Michele seemed normal. I liked her in this interview. (yes I know total fluff interview) It really softened her IMO.

    And after watching, I remembered why I haven’t watched in a long time. I guess I am just too old and remember that this show used to be good.

  14. Lantana says:

    I didn’t vote for the Obama’s but I have come to like Michelle Obama this past year. She seems to handle everything with aplomb and class.

  15. Tess says:

    BaBa, what happened to woo?

  16. Xx says:

    The media will never tire of kissing their asses.

  17. Bob says:

    Love her! She’s so much smarter than her husband. She needs to start making all the decisions just like Hillary did for Bill.

  18. MSat says:

    I love this woman! I wish she could be president. To those who have a problem with her being “Fascinating”: what, would you rather see Miley Cyrus, Paris Hilton, Britney Spears or any other garden variety celebutwat at the top of this list? Ugh. Finally we have a fit, smart, strong woman who’s a good mom and you want to crap all over that? What. Ever.

    I read that she gets up at 4:30 a.m. every day to work out and have some alone time before her kids get up for school. Man, that is discipline. I wish I could do it. She’s a go getter and I love that.

  19. Feebee says:

    Babs’ list should be renamed the Mildly Interesting or Publicity Stunter of the Year.

    Having said that Babs finally made a good choice for the #1, though fascinating may be a little strong, Mrs Obama would certainly be one of the more interesting people to talk to.

  20. Jess says:

    I love Michelle Obama. I think she’s fantastic – and I can relate to her as a working mom. I also love how she started exercising to get some revenge on her husband – who always had time to work out and didn’t get up with the baby. I should have done that (and maybe I’ll start now)!

  21. dude says:

    Msat: No one said it had to be a popstar, but what does michelle obama do that any other mother doesnt do? Work out in the morning, take care of her kids while her husband works. I think Hillary is a pretty fascinating woman, she was the first woman to run for president!! Hello!!

  22. Peach says:

    Um. Word.
    How is Michelle Obama NOT facinating? That’s what I’m wondering. Here is a well educated, funny, classy, cute, and halarius woman. One of the first in the White House that has actual affection for her husband. One of the first who isn’t afraid to crack jokes and treat her husband like a real person. Oh and also the first black woman. Which is a big effing deal.

    She is a role model for every single young woman out there. Black, White, Asian, Latino, Arab, mixed.

    I mean, I loves me some Gaga, but on a list of women I’d absolutly freak my freak over if I got a chance to meet, Michelle Obama would be #1 on that list.

    Plus she reminds me a lot of Clair Huxtable. Sweet, but you don’t cross her. And I adore me some Clair Huxtable.

  23. hatsumomo says:

    Msat, its called jealousy dear. When you have a message board of primarily women who prolly aren’t half as great as she (or educated), you going to get some vehement hatred of a woman none of us has ever met. Its just the way women are.

    And I think she is absolutely lovely. I don’t think mush of Walter’s list but Michelle Obama IS fascinating. Every thing she wears, what she does, how she raises two beautiful daughters, her impressive resume of education, her choice of men!

  24. Bros says:

    agreed hatsumomo and msat

  25. birdie says:

    @ MSAT – you said it best, all I can say is ditto!

    People forget where she pulled herself up from, and what she has achieved in her lifetime. I have nothing but respect and admiration for our first lady. She’s got it going on…

  26. wow says:

    YAY! She’d be my pick. BW just messes up that awesome picture of Michelle.

    Loving the picture of The Obama’s with Lady “O” though.

    Michelle, Michelle, Michelle. Smart, beautiful, had her own thing going on even before meeting her hot husband, can handle her business with or without him being around. I agree with some of the others here. I love what she stands for and how she carries herself. Love her.

    But for the CB record, if it ever turns out that Pres. Obama is cheating on Michelle with Oprah, then I’m done with all three of them. 😉 Lol. Sorry, I couldn’t resist 😛

  27. lucy2 says:

    If the only choice is between Michelle Obama and a Britney/Paris/Gaga/Miley, then of course Michelle wins hands down! Thank goodness those aren’t the only choices.
    Of all the people on Baba Wawa’s list, Michelle is by far the most fascinating. Of all the people in the world to choose from? I don’t know. Hillary Clinton might have been my choice instead if only for the varying roles she’s been in for the past year, or someone outside of politics. But when we’re debating BW’s views and reality, it’s apples and oranges anyway!

    I totally agree that Michelle is someone I’d love to talk to, and that she is a good role model. Extremely well educated and smart, but down to earth and not at all pretentious.

    I never cared for Laura Bush until the very end, and since then have found her to be very gracious. God only knows what that woman has put up with all these years!

  28. Shelly says:

    Peach, if Michelle Obama is your role model in the education field, please try to follow in her footsteps and learn to spell correctly. Your post was painful.

    While I loathe her husband’s policies as “president” (I don’t think he’s a horrible person and I am NOT racist just because I don’t agree with him before anyone takes it there!), I do agree with whomever said that Michelle should start giving him tips on how to run the country because God knows she’d do a much better job than BHO. I didn’t say she didn’t deserve to be on the list because any spouse of a politician has to be strong, IMO, I don’t know that she should have been #1. I didn’t watch the show, though, so I don’t know who the others were.

  29. Jerry says:

    Are U kidding Me, oh yea Barrack won the Nobel Peace prize. What a joke.

  30. pickelhaube says:

    Don’t like her, but I hate the hype around her and her husband even more. It’s like the media wants to shove them down our throats until we worship and exalt them like gods or something, which is just creating an even bigger backlash than they normally would have gotten. But they don’t see this, which is good for us evil right-wingers, because it’s helping us. Besides, Michelle looks like a cross between a Klingon and the Predator, so all the gushing over how “beautiful, stylish and classy” she is is perplexing to me. I dressed up my dearly departed Boxer as MO for Halloween, and my Boxer was classier, prettier and more stylish than this woman could ever hope to be. Not a good sign….

  31. pickelhaube says:


    Look up the Nobel Peace Prize and why it was founded (the inventor of TNT created it out of guilt, he killed his own brother with his fun new invention…it’s a guilt thing, pure and simple). It’s a joke prize that means nothing and so I don’t get mad when they give it to a joke who doesn’t deserve it. Because it’s all political, and propaganda, so whatever. Besides, we should have known it was a joke when Jimmy f*cking CARTER of all people won it. Ughh…

  32. Cat says:

    @dude- Hilary wasn’t the first woman to run for president! Elizabeth Dole ran in 2000, and Victoria Woodhull ran as the Equal Rights candidate in 1872.

    Michelle does seem to be a fine person but compared to other first ladies in history, she really hasn’t done much yet.

  33. ccoop says:

    Fascinating? I dunno. I do think she looks fabulous in that purple dress, with none of her famous plastic belts to get in the way.

    But BARBARA looks terrible! Hon, buy yourself a Raquel Welch wig or something, you are a hot mess.

  34. Goddess711 says:

    Admirable, definitely – Michelle is an admirable role model. Fascinating? Nah -her daily mom routine sounds a little bit too much like my own. It’s a lot of things but “fascinating” isn’t one of them. She does her thing in the White House, big deal – there are women doing just the same all over the world, with less money and less help; THOSE are the fascinating women.

  35. pickelhaube says:


    Of COURSE you’re racist for not falling into line and slobbering over this guy! I mean, what else could it possibly be? I’m assuming you’re white, so that right there makes you a racist NO MATTER WHAT. It also makes you unable to voice your opinion (unless it’s the PC, approved popular opinion being touted by the MSM) without being shouted down as a racist/bigot/etc. And the cool part of this? Well, it’s not just applicable to black people, any “minority” group can use it! So, basically you can never disagree with anyone unless they look exactly like you (or if you’re a minority, you can disagree with whites and when they respond…you win because they’re automatically racist because they have white skin! Yay!) Yep, with THIS foolproof system in place, I’m sure this country will be on the road to recovery, racial harmony, and prosperity in no time flat! HAHAHAA…

    And I’m sure my Klingon/Predator comment will be called “racist”, but that’s OK. Because, NO MATTER WHAT I SAY, it will be racist, so I might as well say what I damn well mean, right? And since people always cry racism, I just stopped caring if people think I’m racist (they will, because I happen to have white skin). So whatever…don’t care LOL.

  36. Shelly says:


    I’m sorry about your boxer.

  37. dizzybenny says:

    to me it’s Katie Holmes.How is she still with Tom Cruise…now THAT fascinating!!

  38. Alarmjaguar says:

    pickelhaube how about just f*cking annoying?

  39. Kim says:

    pickelhaube, you made absolutely no sense, so I can understand why someone might misinterpret your comments.

  40. artsyfartsy says:

    I think they have foursomes with Oprah and Gayle –

  41. Goddess711 says:

    Picklehaube=Twinkletoes. Ooooozing racism. Isn’t CB supposed to be monitoring this board for shitheads?

  42. WTF?!? says:

    Oh, please, she is the most fascinating person of 2009 as much as her husband deserved the Nobel Prize.

    This is just yet another desperate attempt by Walters to remain relevant and current, which is why she revealed a few months back that she sexed up a married black senator (who is still living, btw) back in the ’70s.

    It only served to make Babs look like another slut who screwed her way to the top, when it’s common knowledge it was Daddy’s connections that got her where she is.

    As an aside, I’m surprised the camera lens didn’t crack when the header pic was taken– those are two of the least attractive females I have ever, ever seen.

    Michelle Obama’s arms– most fascinating limbs of 2009.

  43. morgs says:


    where is there racism in her post?
    The racism card has lost all strength.

    Keep on keeping on Picklehaub.

    Couldn’t stand George Bush, but I liked Laura a lot.

    Babs could’ve chosen a single, working mother from NYC and I would find her story more “fascinating”.

    The entire White House army needs to have some of the smugness wiped off their faces. I hope the whole State Dinner debacle taught them that their sh*t does in fact have an odor.

    And NBC loaned out the Obama’s. As the President and all his men are clearly in bed with Jeff Imelt. Not to mention Andy Stern and Saul Alinsky. Just keeps getting better…

  44. Wonkette says:

    Yeah, Laura Bush was a real icon! *eyeroll*

    Upper middle class white woman kills classmate, becomes librarian, marries local rich drunk, has kids, becomes first lady.

    Sorry less interesting and less admirable than Michelle’s story.

  45. Cat says:

    I love you picklehaub 🙂 Way to fight when you know you have an unpopular opinion!

    And I’ve heard all kinds of people call Michelle a Predator/Klingon. How is it racist? Unkind maybe, but racist is a serious accusation. You’re implying pickle doesn’t like any members of a minority becasue of skin color alone. It would be more accurate to say she’s Obamaist, not racist.

  46. Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

    I don’t really know how to say it without being somewhat crass, though it’s not what I intend. It’s just that it seems to me that Jackie O. was First Lady almost 50 years ago, and outside of what she was wearing or whose money she was spending there isn’t a ton of discussion addressing her own tenure at the White House.

    I don’t understand what drives the pill box hat hagiography surrounding her, or how wardrobe seemingly renders one woman sacrosanct while for the other it acts as a reflection of her character flaws.

    Maybe (from what see of her), she isn’t the most *fascinating* person, but she’s is in the centre of a HUGE shift in world politics. She’s in a unique position because she’s in the centre of the whole enterprise but is also a civilian observing the change. I think that’s pretty interesting. Evidently, that’s not as interesting as oil tycoons.

    I’d be smug if I were the first black First Lady, it’s been a long time coming.

  47. pickelhaube says:


    So, simply because I dislike a PARTICULAR person of color (and I dislike MO because I don’t find her likable, not because of her being black), I’m a racist? Are you f*cking kidding me? Way to completely prove my point. Also, I am not TwinkleToes, you can ask a moderator to confirm that if you wish. And I find it pitiable that when confronted with an opinion that differs from yours, you cannot engage in a reasonable dialogue, but resort to calling me a sh*thead and a racist. Thanks, but I’ll continue to be a “racist sh*thead”, since it’s infinitely preferable to being an uncivilized name-caller who cannot accept that there are people out there who hold opinions that differ from yours. And please, by all means feel free to NOT respond to me. In fact, I fervently hope you just ignore me from now on, since you’re so much more civilized and enlightened than I am. Don’t even waste your precious time on me, because you cannot guilt me, cow me or name-call me into shutting up….so just don’t bother. The “racist!” invective just won’t work. Sorry to disappoint you….

    Thank you Shelly…I miss her every day. And thanks to #45 (my screen is f*cked so I can’t see your name, just your #) and morgs.

  48. Praise St. Angie! says:

    calling her a “Klingon/Predator” may not be racist, but it’s not very nice.

    no better than calling the previous president a “chimp”.

    that’s what’s called an ad hominem attack.

    you clearly don’t like the Obamas, and you’re entitled to your opinion, but you don’t seem to have much of a reason for disliking them. at least, you didn’t articulate it very well. You just keep saying you don’t like them but that it has nothing to do with race. I believe that, but unless you state a reason, that’s how it’s going to look. The whole “I’m not racist, I have a black friend” and “methinks thou dost protest too much”, etc… If you don’t like the president’s policies, that’s a totally legit reason; just state that and people won’t assume things.

    I don’t agree that the media is “shoving them down our throats” or trying to force us to “worship” them.

    like them or not, his election to the Presidency IS historical, and I think that’s why the media has such a fascination with them. is that the Obamas’ fault? no. If you have an issue with how they’re portrayed in the media, that’s the MEDIA’S fault, not theirs.

    “The entire White House army needs to have some of the smugness wiped off their faces. I hope the whole State Dinner debacle taught them that their sh*t does in fact have an odor.”

    except that that “debacle” had ZERO to do with the “White House army” and everything to do with a few select Secret Service agents who weren’t as alert as they should have been. to blame the Obamas or the WH in any way isn’t really accurate.

  49. lucy2 says:

    Good post, Praise St. Angie, I agree with a lot of your points.
    Reading some of these posts, I have to bring up another point because I’ve seen a lot of similar things in various places and am talking in general terms here – assuming that everyone will call you a racist for not liking Obama is also prejudicial, isn’t it? Most people I know are capable of understanding the concept that people have different opinions, especially when it comes to politics. To assume that everyone will instantly think or feel one way is a very broad, and unfair, generalization.
    I know there are some people out there who cry racism at the slightest thing, which is not only wrong but detrimental to combating true racism. But those people are not everyone, in fact I’d imagine they’re few and far between.
    Wanting people to listen to and accept your opinions is good, but I feel like the same courtesy should be extended back to them.

  50. morgs says:

    The President’s social secretary Desiree Rodgers had no fault in that national security clusterf*ck? Is that why she’s claiming executive privilege so she doesn’t have to testify before Congress how her actions, coupled with the Secret Serv. could have allowed for one of the greatest national security blunders of all time?

    So I think my comment regarding the “White House army” is actually pretty spot on. And I would include the Secret Service, especially those attatched to the WH as part of the WH army.

  51. Praise St. Angie! says:

    I don’t see her at fault, no. from what I’ve read, she made it clear to them that they shouldn’t show up without an invitation and yet they did anyway. even if what she says isn’t true, ONE person is hardly “the White House army”. (I know, semantics and all, I understand…)

    also, the Secret Service has taken full blame for this, stating that they “did not follow security protocol”.

    and, for the record, I didn’t find any record of her “claiming executive privilege so she doesn’t have to testify”.

    according to a Fox News story, “White House social secretary Desiree Rogers will likely not testify after the committee rejected an effort by its top Republican, Rep. Peter King of New York, to subpoena her.” The chair of the committee doesn’t see it as necessary because the Secret Service is in charge of security.

    so, if you have some record of her claiming “executive privilege”, please post it.

    to lucy2:

    “assuming that everyone will call you a racist for not liking Obama is also prejudicial, isn’t it? Most people I know are capable of understanding the concept that people have different opinions, especially when it comes to politics. To assume that everyone will instantly think or feel one way is a very broad, and unfair, generalization.”

    I agree…which is kind of where I was going with that “methinks thou dost protest too much” thing. It’s like prefacing a derogatory comment with “I’m not a racist, but…”

    also agree with your comment on how people cry racism at just about anything these days. Of course racism does still exist in today’s society, but claiming it where it doesn’t exist IS detrimental to true cases of racism.