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An intimate portrait of the first marriage

"The Obamas" by Jodi Kantor.

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How does being the United States president test a marriage? Veteran New York Times reporter Jodi Cantor answers that question in her new book, “The Obamas.” Cantor chronicles their relationship from their newlywed days to their rise in the White House. She details how Mrs. Obama shaped her husband’s leadership, from his time in the senate to the oval office. But every marriage has its ups and downs. When Barack Obama joined the senate in 2004, she stayed behind in Chicago with their two young daughters – Malia and Sasha – because she wanted to protect them from the all-too-disillusioning world of politics in Washington. This put a strain on their marriage because she was alone most of the time with her children. After his 2008 election, she was apprehensive about the family’s inevitable move to the nation’s capital, but eventually agreed to it, and reluctantly adapted to her changed role as the first lady.


What influence does Michelle Obama have over her husband’s leadership? How did their relationship change after Obama became president? How does President Obama balance marriage and family life with his presidency? How did they grapple with their new roles? How does Michelle Obama adapt to a life of limited freedom and intense media scrutiny? What is the reality of political life and how livable can it be?


Jodi Cantor, author of The Obamas (Little, Brown and Co). Cantor has been covering the Obamas since 2007 and is a Washington correspondent for the newspaper.