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Michelle Obama addresses popularity, husband's past drug use

May 30, 2012|By Morgan Little
  • First Lady Michelle Obama responds to questions from host Jon Stewart during a taping of "The Daily Show" in New York.
First Lady Michelle Obama responds to questions from host Jon Stewart during… (Frank Franklin II / Associated…)

Following her appearance Tuesday night on “The Daily Show,” a new Gallup poll shows First Lady Michelle Obama remains more popular than her husband by a sizable margin.

The first lady, as part of a media blitz to promote her new book “American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America,” addressed not only fruits and vegetables Tuesday, but also remarked on excerpts released from an upcoming biography of the president that detail his history with drugs. Without directly mentioning the antics of Obama and his so-called choom gang covered in David Maraniss’ upcoming “Barack Obama: The Story,” Michelle Obama offered some perspective on how her husband went from “intercepting” marijuana to sitting in the White House.

“By the time he was in college, like so many young people, he realized that he could do more with his life,” she told host Jon Stewart. “He had a mother that was always saying, 'You're so gifted, you're so talented,' slapping him on the back of the head saying, 'Get yourself together.' "

Specifying that the events happened before she met her future husband, Michelle Obama elaborated.

"When he lost his father, that was one of those click-in moments. And he really buckled down; he transferred schools, went to Columbia, and thought about how to use his life to the fullest,” she said.

The first lady was also perfectly aware of the popularity lead she holds over the president.

Stewart said, “Your approval rating is like, you're ice cream. Your husband's approval rating, it’s like astronaut ice cream."

“He's vegetables,” she replied.

But at least, for the president’s sake, Obama told Stewart that though she is aware that she’s more popular than her husband, she doesn’t “wield it over him.”

Though her favorable rating is lower than its peak of 72% early in 2009, 66% of Americans have consistently approved of the first lady, even as President Obama’s poll numbers have moved up and down. Michelle Obama currently holds a 14-point lead over her husband in favorability ratings, a gap that’s even more pronounced among Republicans. Just 14% of those on the right have a favorable view of the president, but 38% are favorable toward the first lady.

Gallup’s poll was conducted May 10-13 among a random sample of 1,012 adults with a quota of 400 cellphone and 600 land-line respondents, and a margin of error of plus or minus 4%.

morgan.little@latimes.com

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