First Coupling

Obamas Talk 'Bumps' of Marriage

Barack Obama likes his date nights with Michelle and doesn’t like when they become a political issue. He teases his wife by calling her “Flotus” (First Lady of the United States). He quotes Michelle in Oval Office meetings. Friends have spied them making out in the White House halls. But things weren’t always so picture perfect, Jodi Kantor reports in this week’s cover story for The New York Times magazine. When Barack first turned to politics, Michelle felt abandoned. “The bumps happen to everybody all the time,” Michelle said. “She was in a lot of ways a single mom,” a friend said of Michelle’s life when Barack first became a state senator, “and that was not her plan.” If their biographies more resemble those of Bill and Hilary Clinton than any other First Couple, their personalities often work in the opposite way. “She is really Bill,” a friend told The Times, “and he is really Hillary.”