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Pool Report

Pool Report

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Published by Becket Adams

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Published by: Becket Adams on Jul 02, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Office of the First Lady
For Immediate Release July 2, 2013
Serena Hotel
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
9:56 A.M. SAT
MS. ROBERTS: What a great occasion, and what a tremendoushonor for me to be here. Thank you so very, very much forinviting me to come to Tanzania. And thank you, Mrs. Kikwete,for hosting this. This is very -- it's important to do.
President Obama said in South Africa on Sunday, quoting thebest possible source -- his mother -- (laughter) -- he said that
you can measure how well a country does by how it treats itswomen. And, of course, President Obama's mother said that longbefore we had the data -- and we now have tons and tons of datato show that the single two biggest factors in development arethe education of girls and the economic empowerment of women.And for all the reasons that you've just delineated, Mrs.Bush -- the importance of the education of girls and theempowerment of women. So my hat's off to all of you, andespecially the first ladies of Africa -- who are wearingwonderful hats, by the way -- because you work on these issuesevery day in your countries, pushing and prodding the powersthat be -- and yes, your husbands -- to do the right things; tohelp your countries by helping the women and girls in yourcountries. So congratulations to you.And this is a session where we are going to have somecongratulations and also some learning. And in that spirit, Iwas going to start by saying, why can't the guys get togetherlike this, but now they are getting together. (Laughter.)They're getting together this morning; I think they've probablytaken their example from you.
MRS. OBAMA: They're learning from us as women.(Laughter.)MS. ROBERTS: Exactly. But you know, this question of"First Lady" has always been somewhat fraught. You quoted Mrs.Johnson, Mrs. Bush, but it really -- particularly, I know in theUnited States, Americans have always been a little bit waryabout first ladies -- they're not elected, and they can't befired -- (laughter) -- and they have a whole lot of power. Butit can also be a little confining, I think is a fair way to putit.Martha Washington, our first First Lady, wrote in the firstyear that she was First Lady, she wrote to her niece that she
felt like a "Chief State Prisoner." (Laughter.) But she wasable to do good -- she lobbied for all of those veterans thatshe had been to camp with through the Revolutionary War. Andpeop
le don’t realize that first ladies have been doing that kind
of thing from Martha Washington --MRS. OBAMA: Absolutely.
MS. ROBERTS: And, Mrs. Obama, you talked about -- you'vetalked about, wherever you go, there's a light that shines, andthat you're able to shine that light on something that needs
attention that wouldn’t otherwise get it.
Talk about that alittle bit.MRS. OBAMA:
That’s absolutely true. I always joke that we
have probably the best jobs in the world because, unlike ourhusbands who have to react and respond to crisis on a minute-by-minute basis -- they come into office with a wonderful, profoundagenda, and then they're faced with the reality. (Laughter.)On the other hand, we get to work on what we're passionateabout.
And I think that that’s something that I would encourage
all first ladies to never lose sight of. You have anopportunity to speak to your passions and to really design andbe very strategic about the issues you care most about. And Ijust found it just a very freeing and liberating opportunity.
MS. ROBERTS: No state prisoner? (Laughter.)MRS. OBAMA: No, there are prison elements to it.(Laughter.) But it's a really nice prison, so --MRS. BUSH: But with a chef. (Laughter.)

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