FILE - In this Dec. 9, 2007 file photo, Michelle Obama, left, wife of Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. and Oprah Winfrey sit together during a rally in Manchester, N.H. Sunday, Dec. 9, 2007.(AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
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Nearing a milestone birthday, Michelle Obama exuberantly describes herself as "50 and fabulous".On Saturday, she'll be toasted at a White House party where guests have been advised to come ready to dance, and to eat before they come.Second presidential terms can be freeing for first ladies, just as they are for presidents, because there is no next election to fret over. But while Mrs. Obama is over the hump of her first lady tenure, with just three years remaining, it's unclear if she will take on new or different roles.Like all first ladies, Mrs. Obama's every move and fashion choices have been closely watched -- and mercilessly critiqued. Still, the more of the public views Mrs. Obama favorably, 59 percent, than her husband, 46 percent, in an Associated Press-GfK poll conducted last month. Mrs. Obama planted a vegetable garden on a patch of the South Lawn, the first one there in decades.Mrs. Obama wrote a best-selling book, "American Grown," about the garden and makes time to advocate for the arts, holding regular music and film workshops at the White House.The new health care law being one exception, Mrs. Obama rarely makes an overt push for her husband's policies. Robert Watson, who studies first ladies at Florida's Lynn University, said Mrs. Obama probably wants to do more but is reluctant to step out too far because of public distaste for active, assertive first ladies.
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