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Michelle Obama set to become most televised First Lady

Washington, Mon, 23 Apr 2012 ANI

Washington, Apr 23 (ANI): Michelle Obama has already outpaced former first ladies, such as Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton, in a number of TV appearances she's made over the first four years of a president's term.

In a recent interview, Stephen Colbert asked first lady Michelle Obama which show "has more gravitas as a broadcaster" - The Colbert Report or iCarly, Fox News reported.

The funny man wasn't just fishing for compliments. He was indicating that the first lady is just about everywhere, from Comedy Central to Nickelodeon.

These days, Michelle Obama is not a stranger to television entertainment.

Dan Gainor, of the Media Research Center, insisted that Michelle Obama really is "off the charts" in the number of times she's appeared in entertainment television cameos, even more so "than I dare say many big name actors and actresses."

In only the last four months, viewers have seen Obama do push-ups with Ellen DeGeneres, play tug o' war with Jimmy Fallon, laugh along with Jay Leno and David Letterman, dance on Disney's "iCarly," work out with "The Biggest Loser" contestants at the White House, appear at the BET Honors, smile on "Sesame Street" and chat about healthy school lunches with Rachael Ray.

Whether the appearances are sincere or just political is up for discussion. Democratic political strategist Doug Schoen suggested that they were a little bit of both.

"I think they have a great asset and they're using it," Schoen said.

"At its core, there is an election in seven months and it helps."

Between 2001 and 2004, Laura Bush appeared in about 12 television shows - including "The Barbara Walters Summer Special," "Larry King Live," "The Tonight Show," "Fox and Friends," "The O'Reilly Factor," "LIVE! with Kelly," and "Sesame Street."

Since President Obama took office in 2009, Michelle Obama has appeared on television nearly 44 times, and that number continues to grow.

Schoen, who was a researcher and strategic consultant for former President Bill Clinton, asserted that Hillary Clinton was not really on the campaign trail in 1996, but instead maintained a low profile while she published her book "It Takes a Village."

Hillary Clinton made about 19 television appearances from 1993 to 1996, but most of them were for events like The Kennedy Center Honors or non-fiction television series not geared toward her husband's reelection.

She also appeared on "Sesame Street" in 1993.

Obama's appearances are working for her, Schoen said.

"I think Michelle Obama is a terrific asset for the president," he said.

Michelle Obama gains "an overwhelmingly amount of positive coverage" from being on these shows, said Gainor, who also added that these appearances facilitate her to campaign for her husband.

"What she's doing is political," said Gainor.

"She's getting her face out there because it's an election year."

During these appearances, Obama is not loaded by questions about unemployment or health care - many of the issues that stir controversy for the White House.

Instead, she focuses on her initiatives like "Joining Forces," which is designed to honor U.S. troops, and "Let's Move," which attempts at educating people on the risk of childhood obesity.

While the rise in the first lady's television appearances may have something to do with the increase in television shows and networks, Gainor added that Hollywood celebrities give "overwhelmingly to Democrats" and Republican first ladies, like Laura Bush, "would get nowhere near the Hollywood support" or popularity as Michelle Obama. (ANI)

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