First Lady Michelle Obama is dramatically raising her profile, begging the question of whether she is planning to run for the Senate.
In recent weeks – and especially in recent days – Mrs. Obama has been ubiquitous, and her schedule suggests she will continue to be.
The timing and circumstances for Senate campaign by Mrs. Obama couldn’t be better.
An Illinois Senate seat will be up for grabs in 2016, which would allow her to mostly complete her tenure as first lady before plunging into politics. The seat is currently held by a Republican, Mark Kirk, so there wouldn’t be anyone’s Democratic shoes to step on. And it is not clear whether Kirk, who is ailing as the result of a stroke, will run for reelection.
Mrs. Obama has said she “not interested in politics.” But she has three years to change her mind, and anyone who watched her effectively campaign for her husband during the 2012 campaign may beg to differ. So might those who have noticed the publicity blitz she is currently staging.
Last month, in a strange move for someone not interested in politics, she recorded a video announcing the launch of the grass roots, political arm of the White House, Organizing for Action, providing her exposure to millions of activists.
On February 7, she appeared with President Obama at the National Prayer Breakfast. She jetted out to Chicago February 9 to attend the funeral of a girl who had been killed by a gun after participating in President Obama’s inauguration. On February 13 she hosted “an interactive student workshop” in the State Dining Room with the cast and crew of the film “Beasts of the Southern Wild.”
And now, Michelle’s profile is really ratcheting up.
Last night, she handed out an Oscar – not just any Oscar, the one for best picture. This morning she is delivering remarks at the White House to the National Governors’ Association.
Mrs. Obama has shifted her temporarily abandoned Let’s Move campaign back up to full throttle.
She recently taped two public service announcements promoting the initiative with Big Bird.
Friday she was in New York making appearances on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, The Dr. Oz Show, and on Good Morning America with Obama-friendly anchor Robin Roberts.
Wednesday she’ll will join TV personality Rachael Ray in Clinton, Mississippi for a cooking competition that will be broadcast on The Rachael Ray Show March 11.
Thursday she will be back in Chicago for a major Let’s Move-related extravaganza featuring Mayor Rahm Emanuel and all sorts of high-profile athletes. Later the same day she will be in Springfield, Missouri for an appearance at a Walmart store.
On Monday, March 4, Michelle will host a Google+ “hangout” from the White House, and Wednesday, March 6 she’ll be answering questions on Twitter.
Michelle traveled to Illinois pretty rarely during President Obama’s first term. Note that she is heading back to Chicago twice this month.
If you start to see more appearances by the first lady in Illinois – whatever the pretext – you can start placing bets she’ll be on the ballot in 2016.