The other night, Steve Kroft interviewed Barack and Michelle Obama on 60 minutes. He asked the two of them about their “personal transition” to the White House. Right towards the very end of the segment, this question really jumped out at me as being particularly condescending:
Kroft: I know you’ve said that your first priority is to be mom in chief.
Michelle Obama: Yes.
Kroft:You’re a Harvard Law School grad yourself. And a Princeton grad. You were a high-powered executive. How long do you give her, knocking around that big house, before she starts to want to imprint on the job of being first lady?
What the hell is that? First of all, don’t dare ask Michelle how long she thinks it will take before she decides that she wants to start acting officially in the office of First Lady. Let’s ask Barack! Secondly, how long do you give her? Knocking around that big house? If you watch the video (around 12:50), you’ll see that Kroft has this little grin on his face that says “women, eh? Oh, them and their opinions!” I have to say I’m annoyed that Barack laughs as well. In contrast, Michelle kind of clenches her lips and lets out a stifled, forced laugh. Third, why the suggestion — while simultaneously pointing out how smart she is — that Michelle is making a poor decision and doesn’t know what she wants? If Michelle decides in the end that she’d prefer to focus her efforts on policy, then she’ll do that, and she doesn’t need Steve Kroft to tell her as much.
And no, I’m not willing to give Kroft the benefit of the doubt, seeing as how just a few minutes later, Barack had to call him out on comparing Michelle’s mother to the Obamas’ future dog.
The good news is that Michelle, in the beginning of her response to Kroft’s stupid question (to Barack!), got in a good dig at the nature of the inquiry:
Michelle Obama: Well, the thing we’ve learned, you know, as we’ve watched this campaign, is that people, women, are capable of doing more than one thing well at the same time.
Crazy concept, isn’t it?