The U.S. should elect a female president "as soon as possible," first lady Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaAl Sharpton: Royal wedding shows white supremacy is β€˜on its last breath' Meghan Markle's pre-royal 'finishing lessons' and an etiquette of equality Place your royal wedding bets: Website offers odds on surprise American guests MORE said Monday.

"You know, I think this country is ready β€” this country is ready for anyone who can do that job," the first lady said while speaking at a working families summit in Washington.

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Obama said the country had learned a president didn't need to have a particular race, gender, or background.

"The person who should do the job is the person who is most qualified β€” and we have some options, don't we?" Obama said, drawing loud applause.

While the first lady's comments fell short of an endorsement, they're sure to be read as a a nod toward the Democratic presidential primary, where former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump Jr. met with Gulf adviser who offered help to win election: report Voters Dems need aren't impressed by anti-waterboarding showboating After year of investigation, Trump can rightly claim some vindication MORE is widely considered the frontrunner for the nomination.

The White House has steadfastly refused to wade into speculation about the 2016 presidential race, with Vice President Joe BidenJoseph (Joe) Robinette BidenBiden says 'enough is enough' after Santa Fe school shooting Zinke provided restricted site tours to friends: report Democrat wins Philadelphia-area state House seat for the first time in decades MORE also likely to compete for the nomination.

Last month, President Obama said Clinton would be a "very effective" president if she were to run β€” but also made a point to mention his vice president.

"I know that if she were to run for president, I think she'd be very effective at that," he during an appearance on "Live with Kelly and Michael." "I've been blessed to have some people around me like her, and Vice President Biden, and my chief of staff who are just great, hardworking effective people and I love them to death."

But the first lady says she knows one person who won't be on the ballot in 2016: herself.

Asked about her post-presidential plans, Obama said whatever she decided to do "definitely will not be" political in nature.

"It will be mission-based and it will be service focused," Obama said.