A newly found photo that appears to have been taken by the White House itself shows that Michelle Obama last month conducted a sweaty workout session in the East Room as part of an appearance she will make on TV’s “The Biggest Loser.”
The ornate and historic East Room is a national treasure that has been used for events like presidential press conferences, command performances by the world’s greatest musicians, the signing of historic legislation like the 1964 Civil Rights Act, shimmering White House parties, presidential awards of military and civilian honors, and the funeral of Abraham Lincoln.
The White House may be trying to quash the photo, either because officials realized the it might look like Michelle was trivializing the White House or because they don’t want to preempt the show by advertising Michelle’s presence on it.
According to one of our readers – Janice, who videoblogs at Granny Jan and Jihad Kitty and who provided White House Dossier with the shot – the photo was on the White House Fickr photostream, from which she downloaded it. It’s now gone.
The photo is almost certainly by the White House. Its background coding includes the name “Herbert,” which likely refers to Sonya Herbert, the first lady’s official photographer. And it has not been widely circulated, which it would have been if news photographers had been allowed into the workout session to shoot it.
Michelle has held other events of questionable taste amidst hallowed White House backdrops. All, like the appearance on The Biggest Loser, were to promote her “Let’s Move” fitness and healthy eating initiative.
In January, she staged a potato sac race with comedian Jimmy Fallon in the East Room.
Notice the famous Lansdowne portrait of George Washington – saved in 1812 by Dolley Madison before the British torched the White House. He appears to be gesturing as if to say, “What the heck is going on here?”
Michelle and Fallon were also photographed having a tug of war in the Diplomatic Reception Room beneath another portrait of Washington.
Michelle’s appearance on The Biggest Loser, taped in February, reportedly will be aired in April.