Michelle Obama Says South Side is ‘Real Chicago’


via AOL

Traveling with the president in Europe, First Lady Michelle Obama caused a stir with remarks she made about her upbringing on Chicago’s south side. Mrs. Obama, who was virtually removed from the public spotlight during the presidential campaign after making several comments that got then Senator Obama into hot water, was speaking to an all-girls school in London last week about her current position. In the course of her speech, the First Lady made remarks that are reminiscent of comments that President Obama lambasted Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin for during the campaign.

“For nothing in my life ever would have predicted that I would be standing here as the first African-American First Lady. I was not raised with wealth or resources or any social standing to speak of. I was raised on the South Side of Chicago – that’s the real part of Chicago.”

Gov. Palin was forced to clarify similar remarks she made during the campaign, telling an audience that the rural parts of the country comprise the “real America.” Vice President Joe Biden responded to Palin’s remarks, saying in part, “It doesn’t matter where you live, we all love this country.” Senator George Allen was also taken to task by Democrats during the 2006 campaign for remarks he made that echoed the First Lady’s sentiment. Allen directed his comments toward a campaign worker for his Democratic opponent, Jim Webb, saying, “Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia!” Allen went on to lose his Senate seat. The White House has not seen fit to clarify the First Lady’s remarks, yet.

Whatever her upbringing, Michelle Obama has enjoyed many privileges in her life. Mrs. Obama was educated at Princeton and Harvard, and worked as a lawyer at a prestigious Chicago law firm. She has also worked for the University of Chicago as a highly-paid vice-president. The Obamas moved to Chicago’s tony Kenwood neighborhood soon after the president was elected to the Senate, purchasing a $1.65 million dollar home. Before that, they lived in a Hyde Park condominium.

Mrs. Obama’s working-class roots are a fact of her early life. But she has come a long way from the “real Chicago” she spoke about. Which is why her comments will not be received as genuine, if the media reports them as vigorously as it did those of Sen. Allen and Gov. Palin. History shows that Republicans are made to pay a political price for comments similar to those the First Lady made in London. The president, on the other hand, will likely never have to address Mrs. Obama’s gaffe.

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