First Lady's Anti-Obesity Push Gets Unlikely Assist


By Jason Horowitz and Nia-Malika Henderson

Republicans eager to knock Sarah Palin from her presumed perch at the head of the cluttered 2012 presidential primary field have found an unlikely wedge issue that includes an unlikely ally:

The first lady and flab.

In an odd turn of events, some conservatives have taken to defending Michelle Obama's anti-obesity initiative from the salvos of Palin, and suggesting that she has gone too far by seeming to mock the first lady in a recent broadcast of "Sarah's Palin's Alaska."


In the reality show, the former governor and high school basketball player prepared s'mores (ingredients: marshmallows, Hershey bars, graham crackers) and said the treat was "in honor of Michelle Obama, who said the other day we should not have dessert."

In fact, Obama has never suggested that sweets be banned from the dinner table, cafeteria or campground. She says that she tells her kids, Sasha and Malia, that "dessert is not a right" and that meals should be balanced with fruits and veggies.

In a recent interview with conservative radio host Laura Ingraham to promote her latest book, Palin again dismissed Obama's anti-obesity effort as "some politician or politician's wife priorities," which amount to what she has in the past called a "nanny state run amok."

She told Ingraham that she urged Obama to "get off our back and allow us as individuals to exercise our own God-given rights to make our own decisions." And, apparently, to make as many s'mores as they see fit.

When asked about Palin's comments, Obama told Barbara Walters that the issue "transcends politics."

"We've always said throughout this campaign that this, solving this problem, is going to take all of us," Obama said. "Parents, families, communities have the largest impact on how kids think about anything, particularly what they eat. But ultimately it requires all of us."


But Obama hasn't needed to come out to defend her efforts against Palin's comments all by herself.

To the White House's probable delight, Palin's likely competition in the coming Republican primary seized the opportunity to lend a hand.


Mike Huckabee, the Republican Party's resident obesity authority, who famously shed more than 100 pounds in part by cutting out processed sugar and white flour, quickly came to come to the defense of Obama and the healthy volunteer spirit her initiative promotes.

Read the rest of this article at the Washington Post.