Michelle Obama Responds to Backlash Over Her Oscars Appearance: "Not Surprising"

Entertainment Mar. 1, 2013 AT 11:45AM
Michelle Obama First Lady Michelle Obama announces the Best Picture Oscar to "Argo" live from the White House on February 24, 2013. Credit: Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

Mobama is on to the haters. After Michelle Obama's surprise appearance (via satellite) at the tail end of last Sunday's Academy Awards was met with bemusement, confusion and, in some corners, criticism, the First Lady tells the Associated Press she's "absolutely not surprised."

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"Shoot, my bangs set off a national conversation," President Barack Obama's wife, 49, said of the morning-after hubbub. The First Lady appeared in the White House, decked out in a Naeem Khan gown, with servicemen and women behind her, to present the Best Picture winner (Argo) at the conclusion of the Oscars Feb. 24. (Part of the complaint: Best Picture Director Ben Affleck -- not to mention nominee Steven Spielberg, performer Barbra Streisand and scores of other stars present during the ceremony -- are lifelong Democrats and vocal Obama supporters.)

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"My shoes can set off a national conversation. That's just sort of where we are. We've got a lot of talking going on," Mrs. Obama said during a Thursday, Feb. 28 appearance in Chicago of the omnipresent Twitterverse and blogosphere. "It's like everybody's kitchen-table conversation is now accessible to everybody else so there's a national conversation about anything."

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The mom to Sasha, 11, and Malia, 14, explained that her Oscars appearance fit in with one of her missions as First Lady: The support the arts. Indeed, she recently hosted the director and cast of Oscar-nominated film Beasts of the Southern Wild to the White House for a Q&A session with students.

"I just don't think about that stuff," she said of the criticism. Obama was in her hometown as to mark the third anniversary of her "Let's Move" campaign against childhood obesity.

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