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A 300 lbs gingerbread replica of the White House was the centrepiece of the White House Christmas decorations, unveiled Wednesday by First Lady Michelle Obama.
The impressive structure, which features a marzipan version of the kitchen garden and an oversized model of First Dog Bo, was pride of place in the State Dining Room.
Michelle Obama presented this year’s decorations before an appreciative crowd of military families Wednesday, then spent some time doing holiday crafts with military kids.
The theme for this year’s decorations is Joy to All, but First Dog Bo seems to steals the show.
There are 40 Bo-flake ornaments throughout the White House that feature cutout images of the dog.
There’s a life-size replica of the dog, with a string of lights in his mouth, in the East Garden Room.
And there’s an outsized statue of the Portuguese water dog next to the 300-pound gingerbread house in the State Dining Room.
Michelle Obama said that reflects Bo’s high standing at the White House.
“He’s almost as big as the house,” she declared.
“He is such a huge personality.”
A 300 lbs gingerbread replica of the White House was the centrepiece of the White House Christmas decorations, unveiled Wednesday by First Lady Michelle Obama
Visitors also will get a Bo bookmark that sends them on a scavenger hunt for Bo-ornaments stashed in eight rooms.
Bo himself made an appearance during Wednesday’s festivities, sporting a jingle bell collar, and was quickly swarmed by young guests.
This year’s decorations include lots of handmade items that could easily be done at home, including patriotic wreaths and ornaments wrapped in red, white and blue yarn to fit with Michelle Obama’s emphasis on supporting military families.
The gargantuan gingerbread house, however, is not a feat for amateurs to attempt: It contains more than 175 pounds of gingerbread and modified gingerbread and more than 50 pounds of chocolate.
Pastry chef Bill Yosses mixed up a combination of wheat, rye and white-flour gingerbread that mimics the color of the sandstone house prior to 1798, when the house was first painted white.
More than 90,000 visitors are expected to pass through the White House this holiday season.
Executive chef Cristeta Comerford said she’s drawing on the recipes in Michelle Obama’s gardening book, American Grown, as she prepares food for all the guests.
The treats will include sweet potato quick bread, green beans with almonds and a winter salad featuring fennel.
The massive decorating job – there are 54 live Christmas trees in the White House – comes together in just five days, with the help of 85 volunteers from around the country.
This year’s volunteers included Nellie Funk, a military wife from Carlisle, Pennsylvania, who was working beside retired homicide detective Tracy Jacobson from Southern California.
Asked which job was more fun – detective or decorator – Tracy Jacobson deadpanned: “This has been much more fun.”
First Lady Michelle Obama has kicked off the holiday season by welcoming the White House Christmas Tree to her home – a 19-foot Fraser fir from Peak Farms in Jefferson, North Carolina.
Michelle Obama’s daughters, Malia and Sasha, and the first dog Bo were also in attendance for the presentation of the giant tree, which arrived on a horse-drawn carriage on Friday morning.
As the carriage, driven by two men in dapper top hats and red bow ties, pulled up outside 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue as the Marine Band played Oh Christmas Tree.
With Malia and Sasha smiling and petting Bo, Michelle Obama gave the “thumbs up” after inspecting the tree, which she called “perfect”.
“I think we’ll take it!” Michelle Obama laughed.
“We can have Christmas now.”
Yet the inspection was merely a formality as the tree was selected by White House staffers in early October and harvested this month.
First Lady Michelle Obama has kicked off the holiday season by welcoming the White House Christmas Tree to her home
The tree will be placed on display in the Blue Room, where it will become the centerpiece of the White House Christmas decorations.
It came from Rusty and Beau Estes, this year’s grand champion winners of the National Christmas Tree Association, which has provided the White House tree each year since 1966.
Trees from Cool Springs Nursery in Banner Elk, North Carolina were chosen for the vice president’s home.
“This is the first time the White House tree and vice president’s tree have come from the same state,” said North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler.
“It speaks volumes about the quality of trees available in North Carolina.”
North Carolina ranks second in the nation in Christmas tree production, after Oregon, and more than 5 million trees are harvested there each year.
Last year’s White House tree, an 18-and-a-half-ft balsam fir, came from Neshkoro, Wisconsin.
The official Christmas tree for the Capitol will arrive on Monday and will be lit by House Speaker John A. Boehner on December 4.
The 65-foot Engelmann spruce is stopping in 28 different communities on its journey across the country from the White River National Forest in Colorado to Washington.
It will be decorated with around 5,000 ornaments handcrafted by Coloradans to celebrate this year’s theme, Celebrating Our Great Outdoors.
In the weeks since election night, the emerging styles of the Obama daughters, and especially Malia, has taken center stage – the 14-year-old blossoming from the President’s wide-eyed “baby” into a self-assured young woman who has inherited her mother’s confidence, bold fashion sense and looks.
Wearing a shiny blue full skirt from ASOS with a neon pink Zara belt, and J. Crew flats, Malia Obama proved she has inherited her mother’s classic but bold sensibility on election night – seamlessly following in her well-heeled footsteps.
“The torch has been passed,” said the designer Gregory Parkinson, who sent out a press release after a recent sighting of the White House’s resident teenager.
Lucky magazine’s executive fashion director, Alexis Bryan Morgan, told USA Today: “I’m hard pressed to think of anyone, period, who had such great style potential at 14.
“She has all the elements that make a great fashionista. It’s really exceptional.”
Malia Obama, standing nearly as tall as her 5-foot-11 mother, now carries herself with confidence, striding alongside her mother like two-peas-in-a-poised-pod.
Unlike many teens unused to their new height, she shows no trace of awkwardness or embarrassment, instead, she embraces her lean figure with smart, yet bang-on-trend, wardrobe choices.
Seventeen fashion director Gina Kelly explained: “How her mother dresses is obviously rubbing off on Malia.
“It’s very pretty and feminine. It’s a little bit preppy-classic, but it’s never boring.”
And recent appearances throughout Washington D.C. have proven Malia Obama can certainly hold her own in the style stakes, mixing and matching bold colors and layers like a pro.
Lucky‘s Alexis Bryan Morgan added: “She’s smart in that she seems to be aware so many eyes are on her.
“[But] her style seems very genuine. It doesn’t look like somebody just put something on her on election night. She’s adding her own twist and having fun. You can’t really have style unless you’re being true to herself.”
Since turning 14 on Independence Day, Malia Obama has slowly started to tick off some age-appropriate milestones – like her first mobile phone.
Michelle Obama admitted in June that she “scared the heck” out of Malia with “days of lectures” on the dangers of talking to strangers before handing the device over.
Malia Obama proved she has inherited her mother’s classic seamlessly following in her well-heeled footsteps
And although Malia Obama, and her younger sister Sasha, 11, are forbidden from using Facebook until they are 17, Malia seems to be growing up like any other teenager, taking her first daughter responsibilities in her stride.
Since becoming the White House’s resident teenager last Independence Day, Malia Obama has slowly started to tick off some age-appropriate milestones – like her first mobile phone.
President Barack Obama, who often talks highly of both Malia, and his younger daughter Sasha, says they are kind, respectful, responsible and well-behaved girls.
Malia Obama has started to wear make-up too – with her mother’s wise counsel to guide her.
In an appearance on The View last year, Michelle Obama revealed: “We do a lot of talking. Sometimes it’s too much.
“After our… military families tour, I came in, it was 10.30 at night – we were beat, we did four cities in two days, and Malia’s like, <<Ma, I need to talk to you>>.
“And it was 10.30 and we talked. And we talked, and we talked. We talked about make-up, actually.”
In fact, it seems the only person struggling with Malia Obama’s coming-of-age is the President himself.
Barack Obama admitted in an interview last year, before her two-inch growth spurt: “Even though she’s 5ft 9in, she’s still my baby. And she just got braces, which is good, because she looks like a kid and she was getting … she’s starting to look too old for me.”
One occasion in particular came as a shock, as Michelle Obama revealed on The View.
She said: “He says he’s cool, but you know… The first time Malia went out for a party and she was dressed, she had her hair done and she’s tall, she had on a pretty dress, you could see him, he was sort of like… gulp. And I was like, <<Easy dad>>.”
President Barack Obama often talks highly of his two children, saying they are kind, respectful, responsible and well-behaved girls.
“I could not ask for better kids,” he told ABC News in June.
“I’m not anticipating complete mayhem for the next four, five years. But I understand teenage-hood is complicated. I should also point out that I have men with guns that surround them often.”
Barack Obama wasted little time on Wednesday as he headed back to Washington hours after celebrating his election victory in Chicago and securing a second term in the White House.
Fresh challenges lie ahead for the president as the stock market tumbled in response to his triumph at the polls over Mitt Romney and sabre-rattling from Republicans who demanded that he make good on his promise to work with both sides of the political aisle in the next four years.
Barack Obama was joined by First Lady Michelle Obama and their children Malia and Sasha as they departed the Windy City on Air Force One. They arrived in Washington at about 6:30 p.m. and returned to White House which has been their home for the last four years – and where they will remain for the next four.
Tuesday night, Barack Obama called for unity and set out an optimistic vision of America’s future this morning in a rousing acceptance speech.
He promised “the best is yet to come” and said the fierce battle with Mitt Romney had made him a better president, vowing: “I will return to the White House more determined and inspired than ever.”
In a speech that saw a return to the soaring rhetoric he has become known for since his election in 2008, Barack Obama said he had “listened and learned’ from the American people during his campaign.
With his voice going hoarse at times, he said that “progress comes in fits and starts” and the road is littered with “difficult compromises”. But he said he enters the next four years with an “economy recovering, a decade of war ending and a long campaign is over”.
Barack Obama wasted little time on Wednesday as he headed back to Washington hours after celebrating his election victory in Chicago and securing a second term in the White House
Barack Obama paid tribute to his opponent and hopes they can “work together in the coming weeks”.
The GOP has indicated that they will hold him to it.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell was frosty in his post-election remarks.
“The voters have not endorsed the failures or excesses of the president’s first term,” Mitch McConnell said.
“Now it’s time for the president to propose solutions that actually have a chance of passing the Republican-controlled House, and deliver in a way that he did not in his first four years in office.”
Republican House Speaker John Boehner added speaking to reporters on Wednesday morning: “Mr. President, this is your moment. We want you to lead… Let’s find the common ground that has eluded us.”
A package of huge tax hikes and spending cuts – known as the “fiscal cliff” – is scheduled to take effect in the new year if the parties cannot come to a compromise.
So far, Republicans have adamantly refused to raise taxes, even on America’s richest people, as part of a deficit-reduction package. Barack Obama and other Democrats maintain that such tax hikes must be part of the deal.
The president’s administration is optimistic about an agreement.
Vice President Joe Biden told reporters on Wednesday that he and Barack Obama are anxious to move forward on a bipartisan solution to the “fiscal cliff”, but a compromise will hinge on Republicans.
“What is the takeaway going to be on the part of our Republican colleagues? What judgment are they going to make?” Joe Biden told reporters on Air Force Two, as he flew from Chicago, where he watched election returns Tuesday night, to his home in Delaware.
“I know it takes a little time to kind of digest what’s going on. But I think people know we’ve got to get down to work and I think they’re ready to move,” Joe Biden said.
Joe Biden said he believes there are at least six Republican senators who are prepared to compromise on fiscal issues, adding that Democrats “are going to have to compromise too. It’s not like we’re going to go in and say: <<This is our deal. Take it or leave it>>.”
Another challenge for Barack Obama lies in the stock market, as the Dow Jones industrial average plummeted 200 points within minutes after the opening bell and it continued falling, down 354 points two hours later.
In late afternoon trading, it was down 323 points, or 2.5%, while index futures also plunged after the European Union slashed its growth forecast for next year.
Barack Obama won re-election to the White House tonight with a landslide victory over Mitt Romney, according to projections from most of the television networks.
Broadcast networks called the 2012 presidential election for Barack Obama as he swept the map with wins in the swings states of Ohio, Iowa, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and Virginia while Florida still hung in the balance.
Barack Obama seemed poised for a resounding electoral college win – despite predictions of one of the tightest finishes in history and the dogged insistence of Mitt Romney advisers that they were making gains all over the political battlefield.
Despite unemployment standing at 7.9% and Barack Obama performing very poorly during the first presidential debate, Mitt Romney was crushed nationally, though he might finish only just behind in the popular vote.
Barack Obama won re-election to the White House tonight with a landslide victory over Mitt Romney
Minutes after his victory was announced, Barack Obama tweeted: “We’re all in this together. That’s how we campaigned, and that’s who we are. Thank you.”
He also posted a picture of himself embracing his wife Michelle Obama – and the post rapidly became the most popular tweet of all time.
Mitt Romney called Barack Obama to concede defeat shortly before 1:00 a.m., a few minutes before he was set to take the stage at his Boston headquarters to deliver his concession speech.
If President Barack Obama will be out of a job in 48 hours, First Lady Michelle Obama could step into a new career as a chat show host.
TV executives believe Michelle Obama would be a natural to become a talk show host.
Michelle Obama has even been compared to Oprah Winfrey, the queen of chat show hosts and one of the most recognizable names in show business.
“Personally I would like to see her in the White House,” said Hilary Estey McLoughlin., president of syndication company behind the Ellen DeGeneres show.
“But if she were not going to be in the White House, I’d love to see her as the host of a show. She’s amazing.”
And former CNN president Jon Klein agreed that Michelle Obama would be snapped up by TV chiefs if her husband does not win a second term in office.
“Daytime syndicators are desperate for a new voice and she is tailor made for it,” he told TV Guide magazine.
“She’s thoughtful. She’s committed. She’s a working mom. She’d be a strong voice on issues important to her.”
If President Barack Obama will be out of a job in 48 hours, First Lady Michelle Obama could step into a new career as a chat show host
Since moving into the White House Michelle Obama has been one of the most visible of First Ladies with more TV appearances than any other.
Michelle Obama has regularly appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
Even The View has been graced by Michelle Obama while her appearance on the Dr. Oz show helped her promote her campaign for healthy eating.
Michelle Obama became the first president’s wife to appear on a reality show when she took part in the Iron Chef series with ingredients from the White House garden being used in food preparation.
Hilary Estey McLoughlin, whose Telepictures Productions syndicates the Ellen DeGeneres show, even talks about Michelle Obama as someone to take over Oprah Winfrey’s crown as chat show queen.
“She reminds me of Oprah Winfrey as someone who has the ability to make people understand complex things in a simple way.”
First Lady Michelle Obama made her get-out-the vote campaign personal on Thursday night when she sneaked into Jimmy Kimmel’s bedroom with an air horn to roust him out of bed at 5:30 a.m.
The humorous skit featuring Michelle Obama aired on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on ABC. It is part of a last-minute push by the Obamas to win over skeptical voters a week and a half before Election Day.
President Barack Obama cracked wise on NBC’s The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on Wednesday night.
Michelle Obama was pushing her campaign to encourage supporters to take advantage of early voting when Jimmy Kimmel asked: “But what if I forget to vote?”
And the pre-taped skit rolled on cue: It began with Michelle Obama creeping into Jimmy Kimmel’s bedroom before 5:30 a.m. on election day.
Suddenly she begins blowing an air born and shouting into a bullhorn: “Get up and vote! Get up and vote! Get out of bed!”
Michelle Obama chases a shocked Jimmy Kimmel around his bedroom shouting at him to head to the polls until he finally runs out the door.
“Get out! Go vote!” she shouts.
“And eat some carrots!” Michelle Obama says as she slams the door behind him.
Michelle Obama made her get-out-the vote campaign personal on Thursday night when she sneaked into Jimmy Kimmel’s bedroom
The carrots comment was a reference to the First Lady’s campaign to promote healthier eating habits.
The skit ends with Guillermo, Jimmy Kimmel’s parking lot attendant, who has a permanent role one the show, sliding out from beneath Kimmel’s bed.
“Did you vote, Guillermo?” the First Lady asks.
“Yes, I did,” Guillermo responds in his characteristic broken English.
“Goodnight Mrs. Obama,” he adds.
“Goodnight, Guillermo,” she says.
Michelle Obama appeared on the Los Angeles-based show after attending a high-dollar fundraiser at the home of Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, which cost $2,500 to $45,000 a plate.
Hollywood fundraisers brought in $13 million for the Obama campaign in October.
President Barack Obama casts his vote later in Chicago as his campaign seeks to boost early ballots in a neck-and-neck election race.
Barack Obama will be the first president to vote early, as part of a two-day campaign marathon across eight states.
His Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, is in Ohio, a swing state which could hold the key to the White House.
A new Associated Press poll suggests Mitt Romney has eked out a slight national edge over Barack Obama, by 47% to 45%.
The survey also showed that Mitt Romney had erased some of the president’s lead among women, although Barack Obama had sliced into his rival’s lead with male voters.
The president’s ballot casting on Thursday is part of the Obama campaign’s wider effort to encourage early voting, with many states holding open in-person polls this week.
First Lady Michelle Obama voted by absentee ballot on 15 October.
Because the US election is a state-by-state contest, a presidential candidate must win key battlegrounds like Ohio, Virginia and Florida, which do not reliably vote for either party. No Republican has ever won the White House without taking Ohio.
The Obama campaign recently won a court ruling to keep Ohio’s early voting open through the weekend before the election.
Mitt Romney makes three stops across the Mid-Western state on Thursday, while his running mate Paul Ryan is spending the day in Virginia.
But they have been distracted by the fall-out from a fellow Republican candidate’s remarks on Tuesday night that pregnancy from rape was part of God’s plan.
Barack Obama will be the first president to vote early, as part of a two-day campaign marathon across eight states
The campaign has said it disagreed with the comments by anti-abortion Indiana Senate hopeful Richard Mourdock, although it did not withdraw support from him.
“We disagree on the policy regarding exceptions for rape and incest, but still support him,” a campaign spokeswoman said.
Republicans running in tight contests elsewhere have repudiated Richard Mourdock’s remarks.
Barack Obama criticized Richard Mourdock on a US late-night talk show on Wednesday.
“I don’t know how these guys come up with these ideas… rape is rape. It is a crime,” Barack Obama said on Jay Leno show, adding that politicians had no business making decisions for women about their bodies and health choices.
On Thursday, the president makes campaign stops in Florida, Virginia and Ohio. On Monday, he will appear for the first time at a campaign event this election cycle with former President Bill Clinton.
In an interview with the Des Moines Register, Barack Obama indicated what issues would be his priority in a second term, including a budget deal to reduce the US debt, as well as immigration.
Barack Obama received a boost from former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who endorsed President Obama on Thursday.
Colin Powell, who also backed Barack Obama in 2008, cited recent improvements in the economy and the president’s guidance of the US military as reasons for his renewed support.
“I also saw the president get us out of one war, start to get us out of a second war and did not get us into any new wars,” Colin Powell said.
“I think that the actions he’s taken with respect to protecting us from terrorism have been very, very solid.”
First Lady Michelle Obama and Ann Romney both appeared to be going after the women’s vote at the second presidential debate with an obvious fashion choice.
Michelle Obama wore a coat-style, hot pink dress while Ann Romney wore a shift with capped sleeves in exactly the same shade.
The wives of the presidential candidates took their seats as their husbands appeared on stage at Hofstra University in New York on Tuesday.
Twitter users suggested that both wives had chosen the color to honor Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
While Ann Romney wore a necklace made of several strands of glass beads, the First Lady favored a single row of pearls.
Michelle Obama and Ann Romney wear identical hot pink outfits at presidential debate
Barack Obama’s biggest task last night in the second presidential debate was to woo back “waitress moms” so crucial to his re-election, after a poll showed Mitt Romney has stole their votes in the first showdown and they are now neck and neck among women voters.
According to a Gallup/USA Today poll of 12 swing states, Mitt Romney leads Barack Obama by 12 points among men.
President Barack Obama has marked the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, saying the US emerged “even stronger” from that day’s death and horror.
In New York, relatives are reading out the names of those killed when hijacked jets were crashed at the World Trade Center, Washington and Pennsylvania.
Barack Obama laid a wreath at the Pentagon and Vice-President Joe Biden is expected to speak at Shanksville.
For the first time, politicians will not address the ceremony in New York.
At the Pentagon, Barack Obama addressed survivors of the attacks and relatives of those killed. He told them their loved ones would never be forgotten, and that the dead had “helped us make the America we are today”.
“The true legacy of 9/11 will not be one of fear or hate or division,” Barack Obama said.
“It will be a safer world, a stronger nation, and a people more united than ever before.”
The National September 11 Memorial and Museum announced in July that this year’s ceremony at Ground Zero would include only relatives reading victims’ names.
The National September 11 Memorial and Museum announced in July that this year's ceremony at Ground Zero would include only relatives reading victims' names
Memorial President Joe Daniels said that, in an election year, it was “honoring the victims and their families in a way free of politics”.
Charles Wolf, whose wife Katherine was killed at the World Trade Center, said the absence of elected officials would make the event more intimate for the families.
“We’ve gone past that deep, collective public grief,” he said.
Tuesday dawned with a clear blue sky over Washington and New York, jogging memories of a similar September morning 11 years ago.
Nearly 3,000 people were killed that day in attacks by al-Qaeda members who had hijacked four airliners.
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama observed a moment of silence at the White House at 08:45.
They then headed to the Pentagon to attend a memorial ceremony there, where one of the jets crashed, and then visit wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
With a US election looming in November, President Obama and his Republican rival Mitt Romney have set aside campaigning for the day and will not run negative advertisements.
Mitt Romney was due to visit Reno, Nevada, to address a National Guard unit whose members were deployed as part of the US response to the attacks.
“On this most sombre day, those who would attack us should know that we are united, one nation under God, in our determination to stop them and to stand tall for peace and freedom at home and across the world,” Mitt Romney said in a written statement.
Vice-President Joe Biden and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar were due to speak at the Flight 93 National Memorial, near Shanksville, where one of the jets crashed as passengers attempted to overpower the hijackers.
A 9/11 museum in New York was due to have been completed for the 11th anniversary but has been plagued by setbacks.
Officials say it will take at least another year to finish.
A new building – the $3.9 billion One World Trade Center – is due to open in 2014 on the north-west corner of Ground Zero.
Last year an outdoor memorial was opened at the site and has since been visited by almost 4.5 million people.
In the aftermath of the 2001 attacks, the US launched a campaign to destroy the al-Qaeda network headed by Osama Bin Laden.
A team of elite US troops killed the al-Qaeda chief in a raid on his Pakistani compound last year.
First Lady Michelle Obama has made an impassioned speech backing her husband, President Barack Obama, for another four-year White House term.
Closing the first night of the Democratic convention in North Carolina, Michelle Obama spoke of the couple’s shared background in struggling families.
She said it was “extraordinary privilege” to serve as first lady.
President Barack Obama will formally accept the nomination on Thursday, and face Republican Mitt Romney in November.
A recent opinion poll shows Michelle Obama maintains a thin lead over Mitt Romney.
But an ABC News/Washington Post poll released as the convention got under way in Charlotte, North Carolina, showed Barack Obama with the lowest pre-convention favorability for an incumbent president since the 1980s.
The president is aiming to recapture the political spotlight over the next few days, after last week’s Republican convention.
Michelle Obama said that four years ago she “believed deeply” in her husband’s “vision for this country” but worried about how a run for president would change their life and the life of their daughters.
First Lady Michelle Obama has made an impassioned speech backing her husband, President Barack Obama, for another four-year White House term
In a speech roundly welcomed by a hyped-up crowd, she shared memories from their 23-year relationship, and noted that she had found a “kindred spirit” in a man whose values were similar to hers.
“Barack and I were both raised by families who didn’t have much in the way of money or material possessions but who had given us something far more valuable – their unconditional love, their unflinching sacrifice, and the chance to go places they had never imagined for themselves.”
The first lady’s speech connected their shared background to the values she said guided Barack Obama as president.
“As president, you can get all kinds of advice from all kinds of people,” she said.
“But at the end of the day, when it comes time to make that decision, as president, all you have to guide you are your values and your vision and the life experiences that make you who you are.”
She said Barack Obama was inspired by his own background when advocating for laws involving fair pay for women, healthcare and student debt.
He had not been changed by the White House, she said, and was “still the same man I fell in love with all those years ago”.
“He’s the same man who started his career by turning down high-paying jobs and instead working in struggling neighborhoods where a steel plant had shut down, fighting to rebuild those communities.”
In the toughest moments, Michelle Obama added, “he just keeps getting up and moving forward… with patience and wisdom, and courage and grace.”
Earlier, the chair of the Democratic National Committee, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, brought the gala into session with a strike of the gavel at 17:00 EDT.
Shortly after the convention opened, delegates cheered their backing for the party’s new platform in a open voice vote.
Among the changes found in the text of the party’s 2012 platform was the removal of language from the Middle East section referring to Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
That message was replaced with a passage referring to the party’s “unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security” and Barack Obama’s “steadfast opposition to any attempt to delegitimize Israel”.
The change prompted criticism from Republicans and Mitt Romney, who accuse Barack Obama of “selling out” a key US ally.
Tuesday’s first session saw a series of Democratic governors, members of Congress, mayors and electoral candidates speak in support of Barack Obama and his policies, most notably his much-criticized healthcare reform law.
A video tribute to the late Senator Edward Kennedy included clips from his 1994 Senate debate with Mitt Romney, and independent Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee argued that his former party – the Republicans – had lost their way and had forfeited the label of conservative.
Former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said the next president would set the tone for the next 40 years.
“It will be the president’s leadership that determines how we as a nation meet the challenges that face the middle class. It is the president’s values that shape a future in which the middle class has hope,” he said.
Julian Castro, the Latino Mayor of San Antonio, Texas, gave the keynote address immediately before Michelle Obama.
The Democratic gathering will see Barack Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden formally re-nominated as the party’s presidential and vice-presidential candidates on Wednesday.
Later that evening, there will be speeches from Elizabeth Warren, who is fighting Republican incumbent Scott Brown in a high-profile race for a Massachusetts Senate seat, and former President Bill Clinton.
The convention culminates on Thursday with speeches from Barack Obama and Joe Biden.
Republican nominee Mitt Romney is expected to spend the week preparing for a series of debates with Barack Obama.
The gala also offers the Democrats the chance to make a high-profile pitch to voters in North Carolina, a state that narrowly voted for Barack Obama in 2008, but is now firmly up for grabs.
As they did four years ago, the Democrats will take the event outside the convention centre for the president’s prime-time speech, taking over a 74,000-seater stadium in Charlotte for the final night of speeches – despite a poor weather forecast.
Michelle Obama has launched yet another incentive to try to slim down the U.S. as part of her Let’s Move campaign.
Tips from the First Lady and healthy living fanatic include to “steer clear of the cookie, snack and soda aisle” in a “supermarket shopping 101” cheat sheet on the letsmove.gov website.
Michelle Obama offers suggestions on the best times to shop, how to work your way around a store and a five-night meal plan with downloadable recipes.
“By always heading to the essential areas of the store first, you’ll train yourself to form a shopping pattern that’s healthier, and, in time, will get you in and out of the store faster,” Michelle Obama writes.
Michelle Obama has launched yet another incentive to try to slim down the US as part of her Let's Move campaign
She warns: “Whenever you decide to shop, just don’t do it on an empty stomach, hunger pangs will tempt you to stray from your shopping list.”
But if you can’t resist a snack, the First Lady has a few options for healthy treats to satisfy the craving, giving the green light to plain popcorn, frozen edamame, nuts, dried fruit, low-fat yogurt, hummus and raw veggies or salsa and baked tortilla chips.
Michelle Obama recommends buying in bulk, taking advantage of sales and keeping an eye on what’s in season.
Shoppers are also advised to opt for packaged food with short ingredient lists, paying close attention to exactly what is in it.
Michelle Obama’s shopping guidance appeared among a series of articles published on ivillage.com when she was guest editor.
She shared her personal experiences of being the primary shopper in her family before they moved to the White House, crediting a “flexible work schedule” for allowing her to seek out the best stores for healthy bargains.
“I am an absolute list person,” she said.
“And I actually enjoy the efficiency of the list because it also keeps me from buying stuff that we didn’t need. I had my path through the grocery store and I would make my list based on the path that I took.”
Michelle Obama continued: “I would start in the frozen -no, I would go over to the far right aisle in Dominick’s and work my way up.
“And the last thing I would do was the produce section and get all the vegetables and fruits and all that, and then get right into the line. And I stayed on the outer aisle.”
“And if you stay at the outer aisles you try to avoid going in and getting the processed, packaged foods.”
First Lady Michelle Obama had no defence against Olympic wrestler Elena Pirozhkova who decided to pick her up and parade her in front of her fellow athletes.
There was no coercion involved in the hilarious encounter as Michelle Obama was happy to let Elena Pirozhkova show off her strength at the meet-and-greet on Friday.
However, the experienced globe-trotter did seem “nervous” when she was being held by the Olympic hopeful, according to Elena Pirozhkova.
Michelle Obama had no defence against Olympic wrestler Elena Pirozhkova who decided to pick her up and parade her in front of her fellow athletes
Michelle Obama met the wrestlers along with other members of Team USA during a visit to the team’s training camp ahead of the opening ceremony.
During the event at the University of East London, she spoke to 25-year-old Elena Pirozhkova – who had an unusual request for her.
“Even before she made the rounds I thought I can’t just hug her like everybody else,” she said, according to USA Today.
“I hugged her, and then I asked her if I could pick her up. I think she was nervous. I went slow. I just picked her up.
“I wanted to ask her permission. There was security all around. And she gave it. I will only meet her once. I wanted to do something different.”
Her teammate Clarissa Chun captured a photograph of the heart-warming moment and tweeted it with the caption: “Elena picked up the First Lady.”
Elena Pirozhkova, who is 5 foot 5 and around 138 lbs, was born in Russia but moved to Massachusetts at the age of three.
The highlight of her career so far came in the land of her birth, where she won a silver medal at the 2010 World Championships.
First Lady Michelle Obama arrived in London this morning and she has already showed off two very patriotic wardrobe choices as she helps motivate Team USA.
Leaving President Barack Obama at home in Washington, the First Lady is in the UK to lead the US Presidential Delegation to the Olympic Games.
After a breakfast with Team USA at their training facility in the University of East London, where she wore a bold red and white striped jacket and black tailored trousers, her whirlwind schedule took her to an event to help promote her Let’s Move campaign.
At Michelle Obama’s breakfast stop, she greeted athletes with a rousing speech as her bold wardrobe choice also spoke volumes.
The red and white pattern on the jacket was a surprise choice for the normally impeccably dressed 48-year old, as she started to blend in with the America flags behind her.
At the following event, held at Winfield House in Regent’s Park where U.S. Ambassador Louis Susman now resides, mingled with David Beckham among other sporting stars.
Wearing another patriotic ensemble, Michelle Obama wore a sporty blue T-shirt, paired with white pants and a smart white and blue blazer that featured navy piping.
The event attracted around 1,000 American Military children as well as American and British students who couldn’t get enough of the event’s visiting host.
Michelle Obama jogged to a stage to the sound of a marching band that played the University of Florida flight song.
She told the crowd: “I’m so excited. I am thrilled to be here on London for the 2012 Olympic games. I am proud to be leading the U.S. delegation to the opening ceremony.”
Olympic gold-medal sprinter Carl Lewis signed autographs at the event while ex-NBA star Dikembe Mutombo offered basketball tips to the awed group of children.
David Beckham stood behind Michelle Obama, watching on as she addressed the crowd.
But soon, it was time for the games to begin and the blazer was shrugged off to allow the First Lady to show off THOSE famous arms as she played football and other sports with children on the lawn.
There was no doubting her passion for her country and team as she was seen getting active with her adoring fans.
First Lady Michelle Obama arrived in London this morning and she has already showed off two very patriotic wardrobe choices as she helps motivate Team USA
Michelle Obama proved an equally-inspiring presence earlier this morning at the breakfast event.
There, she had chosen an on trend pillar box red peplum shell top to wear underneath the nipped in jacket, which also featured cut-away collar detail and optical illusion panels.
During her address Michelle Obama urged America’s athletes to “have fun, breathe a bit, but also win”.
She said: “Wow, I’m going to be saying that a lot over the next few days. Wow, wow!
“I can’t believe I am here, I am beyond proud.
“I can’t begin to tell you how amazing it is for me to be leading the delegation.”
Michelle Obama spoke of her fond memories of the Olympics.
“Some of my fantastic memories growing up, and even as an adult, involved watching the Olympics on TV.
“I was just in awe of these athletes and my family, we would sit together for hours watching these men and women perform feats of endurance, speed and grace that would have us cheering at the top of our lungs.”
The First Lady said she and her brother hoped that they would one day achieve something “just as great” for themselves.
Michelle Obama also told the athletes the Olympics were particularly special to her family because of her father’s battle with multiple sclerosis, she said: “My father contracted MS in the prime of his life, but he retained the love of sports, and the Olympics was a special time for him.”
Talking about her drive to get America fit, Michelle Obama urged the athletes to think about the children that will be watching them across the Atlantic.
She said: “You just never know who you are going to inspire, you just never know.
“You are certainly inspiring me every day. I still have those same feelings of pride, excitement and wonder, so being here is other-worldly for me.
“I am still so inspired by all of you.
“This summer, people across America are going to be supporting Team USA and not just by cheering you on from our living rooms, but by striving to live up to the example that you have set.”
Michelle Obama is a passionate advocate of healthy living and later on this morning will be hosting a Let’s Move event for British and American school children alongside David Beckham.
And her day of events will conclude with a reception at Buckingham Palace for heads of state and then a visit to East London and the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games.
The style conscious First Lady is a walking advertisement for good eating and exercise and takes every opportunity to showcase her gym honed arms in demure but sleeveless outfits.
And fashion fans are hoping she will take this opportunity to showcases some of her signature preppy looks.
On a recent promotional jaunt for her gardening book American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America, Michelle Obama changed outfit three times in one afternoon.
Speaking of her visit to the Olympics and her continuing ant-obesity campaigning Michelle Obama has said: “Olympians and Paralympians are true American heroes and role models for all of us, especially our young people.
“And I know that this delegation will help inspire a generation of young people to get into the Olympic spirit by getting active and healthy so they can reach their fullest potential and reach their dreams.”
It appears that President Barack Obama made a rude joke about First Lady Michelle Obama and oral sex at a Beverly Hills fundraiser for the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Leadership Council.
Talking to some 600 supporters at the event on Wednesday night, Barack Obama referred to Ellen DeGeneres, the stand-up comedian and television host and a lesbian.
“I want to thank my wonderful friend who accepts a little bit of teasing about Michelle beating her in push-ups but I think she claims Michelle didn’t go all the way down,” he said.
The crowd erupted into what the Los Angeles Times described as “bawdy laughter”.
In the pool report of the event, Todd Gillman of the Dallas Morning News, wrote that this was a line that Barack Obama “let hang, naughtily, provoking laughter from the crowd”.
It remained unclear, however, whether Barack Obama uttered a deliberate double entendre about his wife having oral sex with a lesbian or whether he simply stumbled into using a phrase that was misinterpreted.
Barack Obama made a rude joke about First Lady Michelle Obama and oral sex at a Beverly Hills fundraiser for the LGBT Leadership Council
The LA Times plumped for the latter interpretation, reporting that “the president seemed briefly caught off-stride when the audience interpreted as off-color a joke he made about a push-up competition between DeGeneres and his wife, initiated by the talk show host in February”.
After the bawdy laughter, the newspaper continued: “Obama kept a straight face. <<That’s what I heard>>, he added. <<I just want to set the record straight. Michelle outdoes me in push-ups as well. You shouldn’t feel bad>>.”
Political reporters immediately picked up on the obscene reference.
“I hope @MichelleObama yells at @BarackObama tonight. Or at least withholds pushups,” twteeted Meredith Shiner, a reporter for Roll Call.
Barack Obama was very much amongst friends at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel event, part of a two-day fundraising swing through California and Nevada during which he is expected to raise more than $15 million for his re-election bid.
At a similar event in New York this year Barack Obama was heckled by people shouting: “Marriage!”
After recently coming out in favor of gay marriage, however, this time he was greeted with chants of: “Four more years!”
Ellen DeGeneres, whose decision to come out of the closet in 1997 prompted headlines and predictions that her career was over, introduced Barack Obama at what was a who’s who of gay Hollywood and those whose work had taken gay themes into the mainstream.
Max Mutchnik, creator of Will and Grace was a co-host. Lance Black, Oscar-winning screenwriter of Milk and the singer Cher attended.
Barack Obama spoke for 30 minutes and highlighted measures that have been applauded by the gay lobby, including his repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” rule banning open homosexuality.
He equated gay rights with civil rights struggles for equality of treatment based on sex and race, stating that his achievements had been part of “this constant progression to include more and more people in the possibility of the America dream”.
Media giant Walt Disney has decided to ban junk food commercials on its TV, radio and online programmes.
Walt Disney Company, which also runs famous theme parks, said it was setting new nutrition standards to tackle America’s growing problem of child obesity.
US First Lady Michelle Obama described the initiative as a “game changer”.
However, the new rules will not come into effect until 2015, and much will depend on how Disney defines junk food.
Makers of junk food and sugary drinks spend about $1 billion a year on commercials directed at children under 12 years.
Walt Disney has decided to ban junk food commercials on its TV, radio and online programmes
Disney said that any cereals with 10 grams or more of sugar per serving or a full meal with more than 600 calories would not be advertised.
Sugary drinks and high sodium products would also be off the air, the company said.
CEO Bob Iger acknowledged there might be a short-term dip in advertising revenue, but added that the company would adjust and create new products that meet standards.
Michelle Obama, an active campaigner to curb child obesity, welcomed the plan.
“Just a few years ago if you had told me or any other mom or dad in America that our kids wouldn’t see a single ad for junk food while they watched their favorite cartoons on a major TV network, we wouldn’t have believed you,” Michelle Obama was quoted as saying by the Associated Press news agency.
Recent studies have shown that almost a third of America’s children are overweight or obese.
Inevitably, there is skepticism about Disney’s move.
Still, it is all part of a growing campaign to fight obesity.
Last week, in the first move of its kind by an American city, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed to ban sales of super-sized sugary drinks in restaurants, delis, cinemas and sports arenas.
Edward Klein’s book, The Amateur, claims that Michelle Obama prepared divorce papers to separate from Barack Obama in 2000 following his disastrous attempt to win a House seat in Chicago.
When Barack Obama lost miserably, the future First Lady was supposedly disgusted that her husband had ignored her warnings not to take on the four term incumbent Bobby Rush.
Their marriage – in its eighth year at the time – was “on the rocks” with Barack Obama so depressed some of his friends feared he was suicidal.
The claims mark the second time the Obamas have faced allegations they were on the verge of divorce after reports in 2010 suggested they were having difficulties.
Michelle and Barack Obama admitted that in the past they did go through a rough patch but that they patched things up and grew closer together.
The Obamas have now been married for 21 years and have two children, Malia, 13, and Sasha, nine.
In The Amateur, Edward Klein’s unauthorized account of Barack Obama’s life and first term in office, it is claimed that the future president was over ambitious in his attempt to take on House member Bobby Rush for the black South Side seat in Chicago.
In a crushing blow, Barack Obama lost by two votes to one prompting claims from Bobby Rush that he was an “educated fool”.
Edward Klein writes: “After Obama’s humiliating defeat he was broke and deeply in debt and it looked as though he might be finished in public life.
“During the dark days that followed his defeat, he turned to Michelle for comfort. But she was in no mood to offer him sympathy.
“After all he had refused to listen to her warnings about taking on the formidable Bobby Rush. He had put his family in a precarious financial position. And he had dashed Michelle’s hopes of creating a stable and secure future.
“As a result their marriage was on the rocks, and Obama confided to friends that he and Michelle were talking about divorce.
“Michelle actually had divorce papers drawn up, one of her friends told me.”
Michelle Obama prepared divorce papers to separate from Barack Obama in 2000 following his disastrous attempt to win a House seat in Chicago
In desperation Barack Obama begged friends to help him open an office to stay in politics – but did not tell his wife for fear of her wrath if she found out.
The couple appear to have worked out their differences, however – Barack Obama ran for a Senate seat in Illinois and won it in, assuming office in 2005 and restoring his wife’s faith in him.
The Amateur also includes a number of other claims about Barack Obama, including an interview with his former pastor Jeremiah Wright which could ignite the debate about his religion.
During the “birther” row about where Barack Obama was born he faced repeated accusations that not only was he born in Kenya, he was in fact a Muslim and not a Christian as he claims to be.
Asked by Edward Klein if he converted Barack Obama from Islam to Christianity, Jeremiah Wright said: “That’s hard to tell.
“I think I convinced him that it was okay for him to make a choice in terms of who he believed Jesus is. And I told him it was really okay and not a put down of the Muslim part of his family or his Muslim friends.”
Barack Obama was supposedly known as “Black Jesus” by his former senior campaign adviser David Axelrod because of his messiah complex, Edward Klein writes.
He also had a run-in with Steven Rogers, a wealthy businessman who became the Gund Family Distinguished Professor of Entrepreneurship at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.
Early in his campaign for the U.S. Senate he gave Barack Obama $3,000 and arranged for thousands more dollars to be donated to him on one condition: he come and speak at the school when he got elected.
After becoming a Senator Barack Obama is said to have gone back on his offer because he was too busy and told Steven Rogers: “Come on man, you should know better when politicians make promises.”
In a furious tirade Steven Rogers screamed at him: “You’re a dirty rotten m*****f*****. What kind of s*** are you trying to pull? F*** you, you big-eared m*****f*****.”
A year later, Barack Obama finally showed up but by then Steven Rogers’ had all but written him off as a friend.
In extracts which had already been made public Edward Klein claims that Michelle Obama is so jealous of her husband receiving female attention she orders women who are close to him in the White House to be watched.
The First Lady is supposedly paranoid Barack Obama will cheat on her as John F. Kennedy did to his wife.
In the book, Edward Klein adds more detail and claims when Barack Obama was studying at Harvard as a law student she would fly into jealous rages when she saw him with other women.
She was supposedly so territorial that she “drove a lot of Barack’s friends away”, Edward Klein writes.
The only reason they got married at all was that Michelle Obama “insisted” upon it – because she wanted to “remake him” as she wanted and not let him have an easy life.
The book claims that once her husband assumed office Michelle Obama began to wield power behind the scenes to such an extent that Barack Obama shares a “co-presidency” with her.
Edward Klein also alleges that Barack Obama twice snubbed Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of former U.S. President John F. Kennedy, and that he and Michelle privately made disparaging comments about her family – and even their clothes.
He writes: “Caroline heard there was a lot of nasty s**** being said about the Kennedys by the president and Michelle.
“There were catty remarks about how badly the Kennedy women dressed and how their houses were shabby and threadbare.
“Caroline got the impression that most of this negativity was coming from Michelle, who didn’t want the Kennedys to be part of the administration for fear that they would have too much influence over the president.”
Among others who were also shut out of the White House were Oprah Winfrey who Edward Klein claims was given the cold shoulder for being too fat.
The title of the book comes from a supposed outburst last August by former U.S. President Bill Clinton who branded Barack Obama “an amateur”.
He also urged his wife Hillary to quit her post as U.S. Secretary of State and challenge Barack Obama for the Democratic ticket in this year’s elections, telling her: “Your country needs you! Your country needs us!”
The White House has denounced the book and said that Edward Klein has a record for making things up.
Bill Clinton has also denied he insulted the President.
Edward Klein’s new book claims that First Lady Michelle Obama orders women close to the president to be watched in case he cheats on her like John F. Kennedy did to his wife.
Michelle Obama is supposedly “unusually jealous” and has so little trust in Barack Obama that she turns up unannounced during the day to see what he is doing.
The First Lady also objected to her husband’s close relationship to U.S. chat show queen Oprah Winfrey – and shunned her because she “hates fat people”.
The explosive claims are likely to feed the image of Michelle Obama as an “angry black woman”, a label she herself dismissed earlier this year.
They could also reopen questions about the Obama’s marriage of 20 years as in the past they reportedly rowed a lot and came close to splitting up.
In his book, The Amateur, journalist Edward Klein claims that Michelle Obama’s “obsessive” behavior is the talk of the White House.
Michelle Obama objected to her husband’s close relationship to Oprah Winfrey, claims Edward Klein in his new book, The Amateur
Portions of the book that were released to The New York Post tells of quotes from a source close to Oprah Winfrey as saying: “Michelle is very jealous, I would say unusually so.
“Most people after years of marriage have trust and don’t follow their husbands around and check on them.
“Michelle doesn’t seem to trust Barack at all. She insists on knowing his every movement and drops in on him at all kinds of odd times.
“Michelle makes it clear to her inner circle…that she wants women around Barack watched and wants info about who he has an eye for and gets touchy with.
“The thing is, she knows, like everybody, about JFK’s shenanigans, and she thinks, hey, JFK was young and good looking like my guy.”
In The Amateur, Edward Klein claims that relations between Oprah Winfrey and Michelle Obama took a nosedive over the chat show host’s close relationship with Barack Obama.
The book claims that in the weeks after the 2008 U.S. election victory Barack Obama gave Oprah Winfrey’s advice “priority over Michelle’s”.
Edward Klein writes: “When she [Oprah Winfrey] phoned, he dropped everything and took her call. They huddled over strategy. Of all of Obama’s unofficial White House advisers, Oprah had unparalleled access, input, influence, and power.”
The author quotes a White House insider who says that Michelle Obama was “furious” about her husband’s late night phone calls to Oprah Winfrey and that he should be turning to her for advice instead.
Another sticking point was that Michelle Obama thought that Oprah Winfrey had urged Hillary Clinton to run in the election against her husband.
When she grew sick of being rejected, specifically in her offer to help with Michelle Obama’s campaign against obesity, Oprah Winfrey is supposed to have screamed out to a friend: “Michelle hates fat people and doesn’t want me waddling around the White House!”
In extracts already made public Edward Klein’s book also claims that former U.S. President Bill Clinton once branded Barack Obama “an amateur” and too incompetent to hold office.
Bill Clinton has strongly denied the claims.
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