Leading article: First lady

From "terrorist fist-jabber" to respected national role model, it has been quite a journey for Michelle Obama. Hosting yesterday's White House event to promote the performing arts Ms Obama, once again, drew attention to her grace and articulateness (not to mention her impeccable fashion sense).

There have been some remarkable First Ladies over the decades, from Eleanor Roosevelt, to Jackie Kennedy, to Hillary Clinton. But Ms Obama is proving herself just as capable as those illustrious predecessors. And the more the public see of her, the more they like her. Ms Obama's approval ratings stand at 75 per cent – enough to make even her supremely popular husband jealous. Lady Bird Johnson once described a First Lady as being "an unpaid public servant elected by one person – her husband". One suspects that if the American public were given a say in the matter, Ms Obama's mandate would be just as secure as it is now.