Nothin' But a G20 Thang

With their European road trip almost over, President Obama and the first lady are clearly a huge hit around the world and the Europeans are going to have to deal with it.


The condensed history of the Western world goes something like this: Achilles slays Hector, Charlemagne conquers Saxony, Anne Boleyn, Martin Luther, Waterloo, May Day, Versailles, The Beatles on Ed Sullivan, and Queen Elizabeth II hugs Michelle Obama. 

Can you say “road trip”? 

Halfway through their trip to the G20 summit, NATO and beyond, it’s safe to say that President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle are still a hit around the world even if the president’s policy approach for the damaged global economy is not. 

For Obama, all it took was the frank but subtle concession that yes, “some of this contagion did start on Wall Street,” to reassert that the United States would be leading a “strong, coordinated response to growth.” Between his remarks and some off-the-cuff banter with India’s Times reporter Simrat Ghuman, Obama left them “still walking on air.” 

Everyone was amazed by Mrs. Obama’s in-flight wardrobe flip, but if people do everything from brush their teeth to, well, uh—you know—in those cramped lavatories on a Southwest flight, wouldn’t you expect the first lady to use the private cabin on her husband’s fully loaded jet to freshen up before a London touch down? 

With an apt Lady Di comparison, The Daily Beast’s Tina Brown calls it for Michelle over France’s Carla Bruni as the American first lady’s personal narrative and bold, chic style came together Thursday thrilling a group of school girls in London, with the declaration: “If you want to know the reason why I’m standing here, it’s because of education.” All of this while breaking news with some fashion-forward argyle by someone named Junya Watanabe. 

Perhaps all the reporters on the trip secretly covet gigs at E! because so far we’ve been more than thoroughly briefed on how J. Crew sold out of another Jackie O. Color ensemble immediately after Michelle rocked one of their cardigans around London. Reports are a tad less comprehensive with respect to what actually got done at the G20 meetings.