Great Moments From the Michelle Obama-Oprah Feud That Never Was

Illustration for article titled Great Moments From the Michelle Obama-Oprah Feud That Never Was

Have you heard? Michelle Obama is a jealous, controlling bitch who, above all, hates Oprah for every reason listed in the ancient Book of Female Stereotypes. And everyone knows it is literally not possible for two powerful women to be friends.


We're reminding you of this fact because there's a hilarious new book coming out this week from journalist Edward Klein called The Amateur: Barack Obama in the White House. You can probably tell from the title how Klein feels about the President, but an excerpt just run in the New York Post gives you a better sense of what he thinks of Michelle Obama, and it's none too kind, and Klein uses the so-called tale of MObama's war on Oprah as an example of the First Lady's "issues."

If you believe Klein (and under no circumstance should you), Michelle and Oprah have been locked in a lengthy power struggle for the President's heart and mind. (Yes, obviously, since all any woman cares about is male attention.) Klein says he spoke to members of Obama's inner circle to piece together his reality show pitch book, but it's also entirely possible that he pulled the whole thing out of his twisted mind. You see, Klein has been in trouble before for irresponsible "journalism." His book about Hillary Clinton was found to be riddled with errors and omissions, and his Wikipedia entry contains the hilarious line: "Klein's books have been dismissed by academics and journalists as ‘not only psychobabble', but ‘psychoblarney.'" Terrific.

Anyway, kids, let's get into this Obama drama. Klein, who was probably wearing a Team Oprah shirt when he typed up his first draft, starts things off by saying that Oprah's decision to endorse Obama cost her viewers and popularity. As a result, he frames her entire interaction with the First Family as though she's operating from a place of being owed something—including unfettered access to the Obamas: "[S]he believed that she had earned a place in the president-elect's brain trust." And maybe she had, since she is one of the most successful people in the country and was heavily involved with his campaign. Klein describes Obama's relationship with her during the time shortly after he was elected:

[H]e appeared to embrace Oprah as one of his trusted advisers. When she phoned, he dropped everything and took her call. They huddled over strategy. Of all of Obama's unofficial White House advisers, Oprah had unparalleled access, input, influence, and power.

OMG. Seriously, who f-ing cares if she had access to the President? She's Oprah. She probably has secret access to the Moon. Yet her direct line didn't remain open forever, according to Klein. The Obamas realized that in the rock-paper-scissors game of controlling America, presidential power beats Oprah power. And, predictably, the Obamas began to gently gnaw on the hand that fed them all those votes. It was when Oprah tried to schedule an interview with Michelle for O, The Oprah Magazine that things first came "unglued." Oprah's request was routed through a "White House ceremonies coordinator," which upset her, according to a Harpo executive Klein spoke to:

Oprah isn't a snob, but she doesn't like having to put up with mid-level clerks. These guys were $75,000-a-year men. Oprah was like, "Hello, what is this s—t!"


The idea that Oprah only talks to people who make more than a certain dollar amount per year is kind of amazing, but whatever. As far as why Michelle was suddenly dissing former campaign BFF Oprah, Klein says it all comes down to two scheming members of the administration: Obama's advisor Valerie Jarrett and Desirée Rogers, the new White House social secretary. Apparently these two were jealous of Oprah and didn't like her because she "had a plan to redecorate the Lincoln bedroom." What's worse, "She also had ideas about how Michelle could put more zing into White House social events."

How dare she. I sincerely hope that at some point Oprah fired off an email (subject line: "Lincoln Bedroom") which contained links to furniture, wallpaper ideas, and fabric swatches.


Klein infers that Jarrett saw Oprah as "a potential threat to her power." Yes, I am sure Jarrett was worried that Oprah was going to give up her lucrative day job and start slaving away behind the scenes at the White House, just for kicks. Jarrett, thus, made it her mission to destroy Oprah in Michelle's eyes, and she started planting things like these in the formerly pure mind of FLOTUS:

Oprah was too close to the president . . . Oprah was acting like she was the first lady . . . Oprah didn't know her place . . . Oprah was a bad influence . . . Valerie advised Michelle to "distance herself" from Oprah and cut her out of the White House inner circle.


Okay, let's imagine for one second that, in fact, Jarrett was advising Michelle to keep her distance from Oprah. Not that her hunger for unchallenged influence isn't a perfectly lovely explanation, but it might make just a teensy weensy bit more sense that she'd give this advice because the country was in the midst of an unprecedented financial crisis. The Obamas were busy trying to cultivate a down-to-earth, regular people image that appealed to average Americans, and nothing says "I'm not like you" faster than having Oprah as your super rich bestie, telling you how to throw the most fabulous parties.

Of course that makes no sense to Klein, who instead says Michelle distanced herself from Oprah because she was threatened:

As Michelle knew only too well, her husband had a compelling need to win the approval of strong women like Oprah. He seemed to be in awe of the talk-show host, sometimes giving her advice priority over Michelle's. For instance, Oprah thought that Obama was overexposing himself on television and told him to pull back. Though Michelle disagreed, Obama listened to Oprah and restricted his TV appearances.


Awww, hell no. Who would ever take Oprah's advice over their own spouse's? Oh, right, the entire damn country—because that is Oprah's one true purpose on Earth: to give good advice. Seriously though, Oprah understands the media like nobody else, and so it makes perfect sense that Obama would value her counsel.

But Michelle can't simply be annoyed that her husband had disagreed with her and agreed with Oprah instead. No, no, no. According to "someone who was very close to Oprah," it goes much deeper than that!

Michelle is very jealous, I would say unusually so. Most people after years of marriage have trust and don't follow their husbands around and check on them. Michelle doesn't seem to trust Barack at all. She insists on knowing his every movement and drops in on him at all kinds of odd times. It's been the buzz of the White House. Oprah has gossiped about it and giggled about how obsessive Michelle is.


If that sounds a little bit far-fetched to you—since it does run contrary to everything we've heard about them before—just wait until you hear this source's next tidbit:

Michelle makes it clear to her inner circle, and this certainly includes Valerie, that she wants women around Barack watched and wants info about who he has an eye for and gets touchy with. The thing is, she knows, like everybody, about JFK's shenanigans, and she thinks, hey, JFK was young and good looking like my guy.


So, wait, Michelle doesn't want Oprah around because she thinks Barack wants to fuck her and then have her sing "Happy Birthday" to him in a slinky dress? Oops, brb, I have to restart my brain because it just crashed.

Seriously, Oprah is pretty awesome, no doy. But the chances that she a) has the desire to seduce the married president or b) would be dumb enough to risk it even if she did are so slim that they probably couldn't even be seen by the naked eye if they turned sideways. Still, Michelle being jealous of everything with lady parts has to be true, because she said so with her own mouth:

Michelle talked to Gayle King about it, just talking as friends. She has become much closer to Gayle than to Oprah, to Oprah's anger and surprise. She told Gayle that if she found out her husband was running around, she wouldn't keep quiet. Gayle was kind of astonished that she would say that.


Let's get this straight: Michelle stood around gossiping like a mean girl with Gayle, Oprah's best friend and a journalist, about how she thinks that people, possibly including Oprah, are trying to make a move on her husband? Yes, that seems about as likely as Mitt Romney inviting Anderson Cooper over for a swim and then explaining that he can't actually go in the pool because he'll short circuit.

Anyway, after all that drama, Oprah finally got approval to do the interview, but when she and her constant companion Gayle got to the White House, they didn't even get the VIP treatment. (Umm, isn't being allowed inside the White House VIP treatment enough?) After being put through security like common folk and then having to wait for a while, Michelle finally met with them. Then she did something truly reprehensible:

Michelle mentioned that the White House cooks made the best pie in the world. But she didn't offer Oprah or Gayle any . . .


Alright, that is it. We've got to vote against Obama to get this maniacal diva out of the White House. Only a true psycho would casually mention delicious pie and then fail to have one available for immediate consumption.

Well, in fairness, maybe Oprah was so mad about having no pie because she's nothing but a fat pig who needs to eat 24/7—or at least that's what Klein implies that Michelle Obama thinks of Oprah. Yes, buckle up your seatbelts, folks. This ride is about to get wild n' crazy.


Klein reports that when Michelle launched her fight against childhood obesity, Oprah offered to help out by having Michelle on her show. She also wanted to do a show from the White House on fitness, etc. She waited and waited, presumably by her gold princess phone, for an answer from the White House, until one day when she was simply told, "That wouldn't fit into the first lady's plans." Well, that really got to ol' Oprah, who supposedly was enraged and told Gayle,

Michelle hates fat people and doesn't want me waddling around the White House!

HA. Obviously that is exactly what Oprah would say. And in return, Michelle also went on a very realistic-sounding tear, telling her staff,

Oprah only wants to cash in, using the White House as a backdrop for her show to perk up her ratings. Oprah, with her yo-yo dieting and huge girth, is a terrible role model. Kids will look at Oprah, who's rich and famous and huge, and figure it's OK to be fat.


Huge girth? Has any human ever uttered that phrase before, much less our normal, well-spoken First Lady? As Mrs. Obama herself might say (if I were the one putting words in her mouth), I am SO SURE.

Obviously, one fake nasty quote deserves another, and "Oprah" was happy to oblige, tossing this out, "If Michelle thinks I need more fame and money, she's nuts." Damn, this fake fight is so good they should have served popcorn—slathered in delicious butter, obviously, so we could add to our already huge girths.


Okay, so before we turn off this ridiculous telenovela, let's squeeze one last drop of jealousy juice out of Michelle. Apparently, Klein turned to a "White House insider" who explained why Michelle hates Oprah with such intensity. This person once again returned to the time when Barack sought Oprah's help in improving his popularity, which might actually be the only legitimate time there's been even a shred of tension between the two women. But s/he also mentioned this crucial ingredient for any good drama:

Michelle suspects that at one point Oprah secretly encouraged Hillary to consider a run against Barack in the 2012 Democratic primaries.


That idea is pretty laughable, which might explain why, according to this source, "Barack just laughs at the idea and so does Oprah." But crazy old Michelle, "still believes Oprah has been getting too close to Hillary, whom Michelle calls ‘a snake.'" Quick, somebody make a Texts from a Snake Tumblr!

So now that we've built up all this Obama-Oprah tension, it has to come to a head somehow, right? We're at least going to be treated to a description of a major hair-pulling, face-scratching episode that took place behind closed doors, are we not? Surely an anonymous person with Secret Service protection showed up in the pre-dawn hours to TP Oprah's mansion, right? Ugh. Alas, it is not to be.


The biggest resolution Klein offers us, at least in this excerpt, is that Michelle was forced by the President to appear on one of Oprah's last shows in May of last year. Michelle did it, apparently in exchange for Oprah's endorsement for 2012, but she, "sat there through much of the show with her arms folded in a defensive posture across her chest." Yes, because, as we all know from watching her these past few years, Michelle is nothing if not a bratty teenager who pouts publicly when she doesn't get what she wants… That probably explains why she married such an amateur who is so terrible at his job that he won't do anything without Oprah first saying something like, "I think you should kil Oooosama bin Laaaaaa-DENNNN!!!"

Michelle Obama's 'jealousy' and 'resentment' led to rift with Oprah [New York Post]


I appreciate someone finding a pic of Oprah where her fingers are steeple'd together ominously like Monty Burns.