First lady Michelle Obama is challenging assertions she's forcefully imposed her will on White House aides and says people have inaccurately tried to portray her as "some kind of angry black woman."
She told CBS News on Wednesday that she hasn't read New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor's new book that characterizes her as a behind-the-scenes force in the Executive Mansion, whose strong views often draw her into conflict with President Obama's top advisers.
"I never read these books," she told CBS' Gayle King in an interview. "So I've just gotten in the habit of not reading other people's impressions of people."
In the book, the first lady is said to have occasionally bristled at some of the demands and constraints of life in the White House.
In the interview, she said, "I love this job. It has been a privilege from day one."
"Now there are challenges," she added. "If there's any anxiety that I feel, it's because I want to make sure that my girls [Malia and Sasha] come out of this on the other end whole."
The Kantor book portrays a White House where tensions developed between the first lady and former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and former press secretary and presidential adviser Robert Gibbs. The book, titled "The Obamas," describes her as having gone through an evolution from struggle to fulfillment in her role at the White House, while labeling her an "unrecognized force" in pursuing the president's goals. Neither the president nor his wife agreed to be interviewed for the book.
"I do care deeply about my husband," she said in the CBS appearance. "I am one of his biggest allies. I am one of his biggest confidants." But she sought to put aside "this notion that I sit in meetings."
"I guess it's just more interesting to imagine this conflicted situation here," she said. "That's been an image people have tried to paint of me since the day Barack announced, that I'm some kind of angry black woman.
"There will always be people who don't like me," the first lady added, and said she could live with that.
Asked specifically about an assertion of dissension between herself and Emanuel, now the mayor of Chicago, the first lady said she has "never had a cross word" with him. The same, she said, applies to Gibbs, whom she described as "a good friend, and remains so."