White House Photo by Pete Souza
Mrs. O has been named the world's most powerful woman by Forbes magazine, topping even Oprah Winfrey and Hillary Clinton, who round out the top five. The basic methodology for the list factors a dollar component and a "buzz factor," so almost certainly, the first lady's fashion prowess, along with its mass media following, were of some impact. More qualitatively, Forbes offers up this concise but quite astute rationale for the first lady's top seat on the list:
She has made the office of First Lady her own. A forceful advocate of school nutrition standards and military families' affairs, she's more involved in policy than Laura Bush was. But unlike Hillary Clinton, who championed a secretive (and ultimately unsuccessful) health care reform, Obama has stayed away from hard policy. A fashion icon and an athletic mother of two, she's Jackie Kennedy with a law degree from Harvard and street sense from Chicago's South Side. She's also effective: In response to her Let's Move! campaign against childhood obesity, companies like Coca-Cola, Kellogg and General Mills have pledged to reduce the calorie content of their foods by 2012. The first lady remains popular: 54% of Americans view her favorably.
The first lady's power ranking is also a good excuse to share the photo above, in which Mrs. O wears a wonderfully feminine dress by Barbara Tfank. Thank you to meta, who pointed out fabulous new photos on the White House Flickr stream.