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First lady: I’ve tried to deal with image that I’m an ‘angry black woman’

First lady Michelle Obama says she has tried to deal with perceptions that she's an "angry black woman" since the day her husband announced he was running for president.

In an interview with CBS, the first lady responded to criticism from a new book, The Obamas, and denied that there was friction between her and some of her husband's staffers. "It's more interesting to imagine this conflicted situation here," said Obama.

"But that's been an image that people have tried to paint of me since the day Barack announced ... that I'm some angry black woman," the first lady said in the interview with Gayle King.

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Asked how she responds to that image, Obama said, "I just try to be me. And my hope is that over time people get to know me … to judge me for me."

Obama — who said she hasn't read the book — disputed reports and impressions that she's unhappy as first lady.

"I love this job," she said. "It has been a privilege from day one."

At the same time she added, "there are challenges... being a mother and trying to keep your kids sane."


In the interview, she denied that there was ever friction with her husband's former chief of staff Rahm Emanuel.

"Rahm and Amy, his wife, are some of our dearest friends," she said, adding that she and Rahm have "never had a cross word.”

"I don't have conversations with my husband's staff," Obama said. "I can count the number of times I go over to the West Wing, period."

The first lady did not dispute an anecdote in the book in which former press secretary Robert Gibbs cursed her in a room full of aides.

Instead, she said Gibbs was "a trusted adviser and remains so.”

"People stumble, people make mistakes ... they say things they don't mean sometimes," she said. "That's why I don't read these books. Who can write about how I feel?"