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by Nia-Malika Henderson

What a difference a year makes. In 2009, Forbes magazine ranked First Lady Michelle Obama the 40th most powerful woman in the world. But this year she grabbed the top spot.

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To get there, Obama leapfrogged over her billionaire pal Oprah Winfrey; took out Beyoncé, who sang for the Obamas' first dance at the inaugural ball; and bested Lady Gaga and her high-fashion meat dress.

How to explain Obama's power surge?

Forbes says that she essentially wrote and filled her own job description by striking a balance between the low-key but highly admired Laura Bush, the co-presidency approach of Hillary Rodham Clinton and the fashion sense of Jackie Kennedy. All the while, Obama has managed to kept her street cred: Name another first lady who has taken shovel passes in New Orleans from ex-NFLer Eddie George and described dancer Judith Jamison as "fly."

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Here are five first-lady power moves, key moments that help explain her rise to the top:

Read the rest of this article at The Washington Post.