WASHINGTON — First lady Michelle Obama said Monday she has no interest in running for political office, with her answer coming as yet another round of groundless rumors surfaced recently that she has an eye on a U.S. Senate seat from Illinois. Showing a bit of her hand, Mrs. Obama said her next chapter will include some kind of “service focused” work.
Mrs. Obama spoke about her future in an interview with ABC’s Robin Roberts, booked in connection with the White House Working Family Summit held on Monday.
Through the years, Mrs. Obama has been mentioned as a potential candidate for a U.S. Senate seat from Illinois with a new book just published even going so far as to assert she had taken steps towards a 2016 contest. Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., is running for re-election in 2016. So far, no major Illinois Democrat is seriously moving towards a 2016 Senate contest. That void makes it easier for wanton speculation about Mrs. Obama running for political office. Earlier this month, I wrote “8 reasons” why Mrs. Obama is not running for a U.S. Senate seat.
Roberts asked Mrs. Obama, “There are many people that are wondering what’s your next act? Will it be political?”
To that Mrs. Obama replied, “Me?”
Roberts said, “Yes, you.”
Laughing Mrs. Obama said, “No, it will not be political.”
“No?” said Roberts.
Offering some rare information about what’s next, Mrs. Obama added, “Yes, no, it definitely will not be. It will be mission-based, it will be service-focused.”
Roberts, wrapping up, asked Mrs. Obama about a political future again.
“You sure you’re not getting into politics?”
Said Mrs. Obama, “I am positive.”
In other news about the First Family:
Mrs. Obama said she wants her daughters to have jobs.
“I don’t care. Just a job that pays them. It really doesn’t matter what it is. I think the whole point is that they learn how to roll up their sleeves and work hard and understand what the vast majority of folks in this country have to do to earn a living, and that’s it’s not glamorous, and that it’s not fun all the time, and there are people who get up every day for their entire lives and go to a job that’s not fun, and they do it to put food on the table.”
Malia Obama is working with Steve Spielberg’s movie making company in California, though the White House will not confirm it. Malia flew out west with her family earlier this month.
1. She has given every signal that she is not interested in running for office through the years.
2. She values her high approval ratings. Running for office is rough and would threaten to damage her valuable brand, and could serve to limit her other options after leaving the White House.
3. She would be one of 100 in the Senate. She tends more to the executive.
4. She rarely comes back to Illinois and when she does, it is just to Chicago. Downstaters have not seen her for years. Anyway, she does not like Chicago’s winters.
5. President Barack Obama and the first lady have not even committed to returning to Chicago after they leave the White House.
6. When Hillary Clinton was first lady, she began her “listening tour” around New York state more than a year before the 2000 election. Illinois has an early March 2016 primary — petitions to get on the ballot would be due in 2015. So she’d have to give up a lot of her final year at the White House to do this.
7. She values her flexibility. Becoming a senator would tie her down to one job and would keep her anchored to Illinois.
8. She is used to picking and choosing her shots and being in control of her time, which you can’t do as a member of Congress.