Friday, October 31, 2008

A Hug from Michelle Obama

I was waiting for a PDF to generate when I clicked play on the video of Michelle Obama's interview with Jay Leno. As I was watching I flashed back to an episode of Seinfeld in which Elaine interviews for the editor job at Doubleday which had formerly (and famously) been held by First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis - Jackie O.

Shockingly I couldn't find a clip online so here are a few lines from the script I found at Seinfeld Scripts.

LANDIS: Of course, Jackie O. was a great lady. Those are going to be some tough shoes to fill. Everyone loved her. She had such...grace.

ELAINE (gushing): Yes! Grace!

LANDIS: Not many people have grace.

ELAINE: Well, you know, grace is a tough one. I like to think I have a little grace...not as much as Jackie -

LANDIS: You can't have "a little grace." You either have grace, or you...don't.

Michelle O. has grace. In the interview she also proved she has humor and intelligence. It was then I decided to close the work computer and drive to that bastion of Colorado conservatism, Colorado Springs (home of the zealous Focus on the Family) to see Michelle O. speak at the Early Vote for Change Rally.

Colorado Springs is an hour south of Denver. I arrived 15 minutes before the doors were to open and walked around the building to the end of the line. It wasn't looking good for our entrance to the indoor Colorado Springs City Auditorium but the excitement was invigorating and those of us on the line bonded in our hope to make it.

By the time we passed the McCain supporters, laughed at the 9/11 conspirator, feared the anti-choice protesters, and got to the front door of the auditorium, the doors were shut.

Don't worry. There are speakers in the parking lot and you can listen to the rally there.


But we walked our excitement over to the parking lot and stood at the waist-high barricades, listening to the local politicians and volunteers, and watching the news trucks setup a microphone and dais. I just hoped that when Michelle spoke she would give a shout out to those of us who couldn't get in.

As I stood listening to the wife of a soldier who had devoted herself to electing Barack Obama, and Jan Martin, Republican Colorado Springs City Council Member who has endorsed Obama, I glanced over to the other side of the parking lot and watched a woman walking towards us, flanked by three men in dark suits. As the woman got closer, I grabbed the arm of my line friend and said, "There's Michelle O." At that point, others had noticed her also and the cheering became cacophonous. Michelle walked up to the microphone and her first words that night were, "And this is just the overflow?" The crowd went wild.

Michelle thanks us for being there and said she had to get inside but she wanted to go around and shake some hands - which is exactly what she did. Having been 20 people from the beginning of the parking lot line I had an excellent spot holding on to the barricade.

Michelle walked down the line, shaking hands with some and hugging others. She got to my line friend and said, "Thank you very much." Then she looked at me and before she could say anything I said, No, Michelle. Thank you very much.

Maybe it was my tee shirt adorned with a huge picture of her husband. Or maybe it was the I Voted sticker that was stuck on it. Or maybe she just liked what I said but she stopped and hugged me before moving on down the line.

The woman behind me grabbed my shoulder and said, She just hugged you. I gulped and nodded my head.

Oh, I wish she had hugged me, she said.

Quick, hug me. You can have a Michelle hug by proxy.

And we hugged each other which excited her to no end. And me? I'll never wash that Obama shirt again - not that I've washed it in a long time. Since I early voted and put that sticker on, the shirt hasn't seen the inside of a washing machine.

Michelle O.: a graceful successor who is sure (fingers crossed) to be the next First Lady of our United States of America. You go, girl!


  1. I didn't get a hug, but I did get to see Barack O. and it was electrifying too! This is such an exciting time! Let's all keep the champagne chilled but still do not be complacent! Make sure you get out and VOTE OBAMA!!

  2. You'll get a hug from me soon enough, little sister. And to all the readers, today is the last day - get out and vote!!