Even before Donald Trump won the US election and the world saw its collective life flash before its eyes, Michelle Obama had been facing calls to run for president in 2020. So far, she’s firmly rebuffed these appeals – but according to an academic who taught both her and her husband, the former First Lady would be more than up to the job.
Charles Ogletree Jr., a constitutional law professor at Harvard, counted both Barack Obama and the then-Michelle Robinson as students during their days at the Ivy League university. And in a new interview with TMZ, Ogletree says that not only was Michelle a better student, he also believes she would have made a better president.
Barack – a self-proclaimed “nerd” – was something of a know-it-all in law school, says Ogletree. In fact, sharing a seminar with the future president sounds a bit like being classmates with Hermione Granger.
“He was speaking too much,” says the professor, now 65. “He wanted everything. He said, ‘I can answer that question, professor.’ I said, ‘Barack, I want to call on Mary.’”
But while Barack was busy trying to impress his tutors, it was Michelle who really captured Ogletree’s attention. The future Mrs Obama graduated from Harvard Law School the same year that Barack joined, and was made an associate at legal firm Sidley & Austin while he was still training. The pair never attended classes together at Harvard, but eventually met when Michelle – who is two years younger than Barack – was assigned to mentor him at work.
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And Ogletree says that it was Michelle who really stood out to him as a star student. “You know, [Barack’s] wife should’ve been president,” he says. “Absolutely.
“[Barack] was great too, but she was better.”
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Ogletree adds that Michelle “could easily be president, but I don’t think she will” – which seems a fair enough assessment, given that the Obamas themselves have repeatedly said the same thing.
Michelle has been politely shutting down questions about the matter since at least March 2016, when she told reporters that she would “continue to work with young people all over the world” after moving out of the White House – but “not as president. I will not run for president.”
She added: “There are so many ways to impact the world and you don’t have to be president of the United States to do them.”
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