April 13, 2010

Michelle Powers into Haiti


(photo: antha Appleton/White House. caption: First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden tour earthquake damage in Port Au-Prince, Haiti, along with Haitian President Rene Preval, and Elisabeth Delatour Preval, the First Lady of Haiti, April 13, 2010. The damaged presidential palace is seen in the background. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)linked photo: Eduardo Munoz/Reuters.)

As the Administration’s key “hope agent,” Mrs. Obama — walking not with Mrs. Preval or Mrs. Biden, but with the Haitian President — conveys a weight and authority here that extends far beyond “the First Mom.” Further boosting the impact, this White House photo was taken on the presidential grounds where part of the palace — Haiti’s crippled White House — met the wrecking ball a few days ago.

It’s not just the first Obama visit to Haiti since the earthquake, but also a symbolic plug for the Preval and Haitian empowerment. (It’s also the first photo I’ve seen of the President in months — of the very few that have appeared in U.S. media, at all — and the first one I’ve ever seen of Preval smiling … the emotion only lending more weight, of course, to the personality of the First Lady.

(By the way, here’s the Reuters shot that was up top this afternoon showing Mrs. Obama with the situation well in hand.)

(Revised: 9:45 pm PST)

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Michael Shaw
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