Reporting Pamela Jones
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(CBS) – First lady Michelle Obama is hitting back against reports there was tension between her and Rahm Emanuel when he was the White House chief of staff.
A new book, “The Obamas,” hit store shelves on Tuesday and it suggests there was bad blood between the first lady and the president’s top advisers.
As CBS 2’s Pamela Jones reports, Mrs. Obama spoke exclusively with CBS This Morning’s Gayle King about the book.
“Some people would say, “Well, Rahm Emanuel has irritated a lot of people,” King said in the interview.
“Yeah, but I’m the first lady. He’s not gonna; what do you think, Rahm is gonna come up and, you know, say cross words? No. You know? And we’re friends, you know?” Mrs. Obama said.
But sometimes Emanuel and Michelle Obama were “not so friendly,” according to “The Obamas,” a so-called “tell-all” biography released on Tuesday.
In the book, New York Times correspondent Jodi Kantor claims Michelle Obama had some serious issues with Emanuel when he was the president’s chief of staff.
King visited the White House on Tuesday to get Obama’s take on whether her friendship with Emanuel, now Chicago’s mayor, remains solid.
“Absolutely. He was just at our home for the holidays. So yeah, yeah. I mean, that’s just, you know, I mean, you know this is the White House. There’s a lot that goes on here and I’m sure there’s a lot of times where staff conflict,” Obama said.
Emanuel hasn’t disagreed with that.
“I have a great relationship with the president and with the first lady,” Emanuel said. “I’m honored to have worked for them.”
Another of the book’s claims centers on a lavish party on Halloween 2009, which the book suggests the administration may have tried to cover up.
On Tuesday, White House press secretary Jay Carney said the claim amounted to exaggeration.
“There are outlets that have reported this as a secret party, which is just silly and it’s irresponsible reporting to suggest that,” Carney said.
The interview with Michelle Obama will air Wednesday morning on CBS This Morning. It also will touch on her role as the president’s confidante.
Mrs. Obama said she doesn’t hesitate to tell her husband exactly how she feels on issues the president is dealing with.