The Daily Mail examines Michelle Obama’s “working class” roots in Chicago’s South Side, and finds a pretty solid middle-class background which ought to provide little basis for complaint. The working class heroine act seems even thinner when contrasted with the reality of the Obamas’ situation today.
Michelle is very much like Cherie Blair. She is a middle-class girl who has discovered that money is nice and doesn’t see that as a contradiction with having radical beliefs,” he said.
Chicago’s veteran political consultant and pundit Joe Novak agrees, saying: “She [Michelle] is now motivated more by personal gain than by social consciousness.
“She saw her opportunities, and she took them.”
The rewards have been significant. Despite the image she projects on the Newsweek cover, Michelle owns an impressive collection of diamond jewellery, designer outfits and Â£400-a-pair Jimmy Choo shoes.
When she is wooing working-class voters, however, she favours austere black skirts and white blouses. “Our lives are so close to normal, if there is such a thing when you’re running for president,” she declared during a campaign stop in Delaware, shortly before her husband’s latest victories were announced.
“When I’m off the road, I’m going to Target [a U.S. chain store] to get the toilet paper.”
She did not bother to mention, however, that the paper, like the rest of the family shopping, is taken to an Â£825,000 three-storey red-brick Georgian revival mansion, set amid beautifully manicured lawns in one of Chicago’s most affluent districts.
Even the house became a source of controversy when it emerged that the wife of a Chicago slum landlord, Tony Rezko, helped them buy land to enlarge its grounds.
Renowned for leaving tenants of one of his squalid buildings without heat in the city’s brutal winter, Rezko now is facing federal corruption charges.
More contentious still was Michelle’s appointment as the Â£150,000-a-year vice-president of external affairs at the University of Chicago hospital in 2005.
It came only two months after Barack was sworn in as a U.S. senator, and was attacked by critics as a blatant attempt, critics claim, by the hospital’s hierarchy to curry favour with her husband, in an era when some politicians want to rein in the vast profits of America’s medical system. …
In their most recently publicised tax returns, for 2005, the Obamas earned Â£800,000.
This included royalties from the senator’s autobiography Dreams From My Father, and his Â£82,600 Senate salary.
Under a three-book deal which he subsequently-signed, he stands to earn at least Â£1million.
To Joe Novak, this only goes to prove that Michelle is distorting reality when she attempts to depict herself as a champion of the masses.
“For the past year (she and Barack) have jetted around the country with Oprah Winfrey and Robert De Niro, enjoying penthouse parties and living the high life,” he said.
Perhaps, when she contrasts her current red-carpet lifestyle with the unassuming world of South Euclid Avenue, she genuinely may think that her childhood was impoverished. And the one thing that is certain about the incredible Mrs O is that she never intends to have to live that way again.