Michelle Obama says she's tired of being portrayed as some kind of angry black woman.
The first lady told CBS This Morning anchor Gayle King she hasn't read Jodi Kantor's new book, The Obamas, which describes tensions between her and her husband's staff. But she still took offense to reports she clashed with White House top brass as well as grew frustrated with the constraints of being a president's wife.
I guess it's just more interesting to imagine this conflicted situation here, she told King. That's been an image people have tried to paint of me since the day Barack announced, that I'm some kind of angry black woman.
Obama called the job a privilege from a day one, but did admit that there were challenges.
If there's any anxiety that I feel, it's because I want to make sure my girls (Malia and Sasha) come out of this on the other end whole, she said.
The Obamas describes Michelle as a major behind-the-scenes force who did not get along with former chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and former press secretary Robert Gibbs. In a preview article published by Kantor in The New York Times, she writes Obama had wanted to stay in Chicago longer before moving to the White House, fumed at decisions made by West Wing staff and mistrusted political thinking.
Obama said she never had a cross word with Emanuel and called Gibbs a good friend, and remains so. She said although she is one of her husband's biggest confidants, she doesn't sit in on meetings or is directly involved in policy making.
Soon after excerpts of the book leaked online, the White House released a statement disputing its accuracy.
The book, an overdramatization of old news, is about a relationship between two people whom the author has not spoken to in years, White House spokesman Eric Shultz said, according to Politico.
Both President Obama and the first lady declined to be interviewed by Kantor, but she interviewed many top aides and close friends.
Kantor stood by her reporting on the Today show Monday, saying the White House has not called her out on any specific facts she wrote about.
The White House has not pushed back on the specific reporting in the book, Kantor said. They have not disputed any of the facts. And the book is clear about the fact that it's based on interviews with people closest to the Obamas.