Old Lady Who Doesn’t Think FLOTUS ‘Looks’ Like a FLOTUS Isn’t Racist, Just Overly Modest

Way back in ye olde summer when Republicans were converging in Tampa Bay, the de facto bukkake-capital of North America, there were rumors of racist peanut-hurling, one of Mitt Romney's grandsons found out that grampy is really a skin-deficient alien, Clint Eastwood argued with an inanimate object, and some genial old lady named Bobbie Lussier told NPR's Ari Shapiro that she just didn't like the looks of either POTUS or FLOTUS. Lussier explained at the time,

I just - I don't like him [President Obama]. Can't stand to look at him. I don't like his wife. She's far from the first lady. It's about time we get a first lady in there that acts like a first lady and looks like a first lady.


According to Shapiro, NPR listeners launched into a full-tilt deconstruction of what Lussier meant by her statement. Was it racist? It certainly sounded racist, especially considering that the only thing different about the Obamas from other first couples is a touch more melanin in the basal layer of their epidermises. Then again, maybe it wasn't quite fair, argued NPR Ombudsman Edward Schumacher-Matos in a follow-up piece, for Shapiro to let [Lussier's] interview run without clarifying what she meant."

It's a good thing, then, that Shapiro recently got a "chance" second-go at speaking with Lussier at a small Romney event Thursday in Springfield, Virgina. Lussier's husband approached Shapiro after Romney had packed up his snake-oil wares, and, before you could say "awkward," Shapiro was doing a follow-up interview with Bobbie Lussier, who, turns out, isn't a bit racist at all — she just doesn't like that Michelle Obama is always showing off her arms and doing push-ups in front of America.

After reacquainting himself with Lussier, Shapiro launches into his inquisition:

[Shapiro] "You said something to the effect of, you were very unhappy with the president and first lady."


"And you said she doesn't look like a first lady. ..."

"No, she doesn't. She doesn't look or act. I mean, can you imagine you know, Kennedys or the Bushes or anybody doing pushups on the floor? I mean you know. That's just not a first lady."

"A lot of people wondered if there was a racial undertone to your comments."

"No it's not. I don't care what color she is. It's just she just doesn't act and look like a
first lady. I mean she's more about showing her arms off. ... I think that's very
inappropriate for a lot of functions that she goes to."

"So do you mean it's an issue of modesty?"

"Yeah. It's respect and ... for being in the White House."

"Fewer sleeveless dresses, fewer pushups ..."

"They talk about more like her dresses and how she looks and stuff and her arms and whatever."

"People talked a lot about the dresses that other first ladies wore for sure."

"Well, yeah."

"You look a little frustrated."

"I am. I just hope Romney wins."

"Tell me more about what it is that bothers you about the president and first lady ... in terms of their demeanor."

"You see her walking around in shorts, and you know, just real casual wear. And to me ... I mean when I go to functions I kind of dress up other than today, but you just gotta look the part."


A first lady, in Lussier's estimation, doesn't wear shorts or show off her arms. It simply isn't done. Whether this woman's commentary offers any deeper insight into the mania of conservative voters is questionable — we can surely read this transcript and think, "Wow, conservatives are waaay out of touch," but Lussier's just one, seemingly frustrated voter. Muscle tone is no reason to flat-out despise someone, but there might be a whole reservoir of emotional trauma built into Lussier's disdain for FLOTUS that Shapiro hasn't even begun to tap. Maybe Lussier used to be a professional bodybuilder. Maybe she lost an arm wrestling contest in Quebec after suffering a traumatic rupture in her distal biceps tendon and so now cannot even look at a muscled arm without feeling the old injury twang like a plucked banjo string. I think we need a third interview, just to clarify these issues. Really, only a 9,000-word New Yorker profile would do Lussier's comments the justice they don't deserve.

A Second, Chance Interview With Subject of Controversial First Lady Remarks [NPR]

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