Any man who has ever had a mother-in-law could easily put himself into President Obama’s shoes yesterday—could imagine the hell you’d have to pay in the marital bedroom, not to mention the next family get-together, after you told the whole world that the family dog has more charisma than your mother-in-law.
Those were the words that appeared to come out of the president’s mouth yesterday in Davenport, Iowa, when he was attempting to lavish praise on his wife, First Lady Michelle Obama. In an instant, he went from the heroic husband to a small step away from doghouse husband. He had to do some quick scrambling to escape the White House doghouse, next to the beloved Bo.
What had happened was, the president was standing next to his wife, watching her talk about the pure joy she got from campaigning in Iowa, where she told the crowd she cut her teeth on the national political stage because Iowa was where she first campaigned for Barack in 2008.
“Let me say something about my wife,” the president said when it was his turn to speak. “I don’t usually like to follow her speaking. Because let’s face it, on the charisma rankings in my household, you’ve got her, the girls, Bo and then my mother-in-law and then me.”
The crowd laughed heartily, as was the president’s intention. But then he realized how wrong it sounded. How horribly, terribly wrong.
He jumped back in and bumped Bo, the family Portugese water dog, down a notch below the mother-in-law. To be certain he had escaped the doghouse, he proceeded to lavish some praise on his mother-in-law, Marian Robinson, Michelle’s mother, who lives with them in the White House.
“Actually, my mother-in-law is before Bo, obviously,” Obama said. “I love my mother-in-law, too—that’s where Michelle got her looks from.”