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Michelle Obama: I'm his wife, not adviser

Posted: Tuesday, May 22, 2007
WAUKEE, Iowa (AP) -- Michelle Obama said Monday she's not her husband's closest adviser and that the Democratic presidential candidate makes his own decisions.

"We have very separate professional relationships, which is I think healthy," Michelle Obama said during her fourth visit to Iowa. "There is so much work we need to do as a family and as a couple. We talk about our work, we talk about what we do but he makes his decisions on his own and I try to be supportive."

On this campaign trip for her husband, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, Michelle Obama talked with people at a suburban coffee shop and toured a residential program for women being treated for substance abuse.

Candidates such as Democrat John Edwards and Republican Rudy Giuliani have described their wives as close advisers. But asked if she considered herself her husband's chief adviser, Obama replied, "No, I consider myself his wife."

A Harvard-trained lawyer like her husband, Obama said her main role in the campaign would be to offer a personal view of her husband.

"I'm really trying to make sure people understand who Barack is from the person who knows him best, giving people a sense of who we are," she said.

She noted that the couple has young children, ages 8 and 5, who limit her campaign activity.

"We've got two little kids, so I'm focused on them as well," she said.

Obama said she and her husband have outgoing personalities that mesh well with campaigning in key early states, where grassroots and up-close appearances are key.

"I love coming to Iowa and New Hampshire," she said. "We have the kind of personalities where we really enjoy meeting people and connecting with people."

She acknowledged, though, that the race is in its early phase.

"It hasn't really been stressful for me yet because I really enjoy it," she said. "Who knows how, when this thing really speeds up, how I'll feel."

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