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Michelle Obama: The most powerful woman in the Forbes universe

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Michelle Obama (Jason Reed/Reuters)

Here's to the feminine power.

Not only did we find out today that women are outpacing men in earning six-figure incomes, but Forbes released its annual Power Women list.

That name has always sounded vaguely workout-video-esque, but the list is an interesting overview on the leading women of the world.

This year, Michelle Obama knocked out Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel. Forbes wrote, "She's Jackie Kennedy with a law degree from Harvard and street sense from Chicago's South Side."

It probably helps your influence level to have as your husband the leader of the U.S., but the magazine also gives her points for her effective Let's Move! campaign and her work with military families.

Merkel dropped down to No. 4 this year after a contentious year in German politics. Irene Rosenfeld, chief executive of Kraft Food, and Oprah Winfrey come in at No. 2 and 3, respectively.

Forbes announced the list had a different rating system this year, based "less on traditional titles and roles and more on creative influence and entrepreneurship," which might explain why Lady Gaga wound up in the top 10. Her fashion influence is well known, but her influence did not extend to Congress, which did not follow her tweeted missives to repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" law.

Check out the whole list here. And check out a photo gallery of the top ten ladies here.

Some Democrats are certainly hoping that Obama is as powerful as Forbes says she is, seeing as they've pinned their reelection hopes to her well-heeled star.

By Melissa Bell  | October 7, 2010; 9:30 AM ET
Categories:  The Daily Catch  
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Comments

Forbes got it wrong. They mean popularity contest not powerful. Powerful is my mother, grandmother, and my teacher.

Posted by: 45upnorth | October 7, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

LOL Most powerful woman...Not..She is no 1st lady in my book. She is no Jackie Kennedy that is for sure. She and her husband could take a long extended vacation and no one would miss them! Someone tell me what she has done...Oh that's right, she wants to put crusines in the schools. Yeah, thats where we should put our tax dollars, and the rest well lets support the illegals. With the Dems in office I'm better off quitting my job and going on welfare!

Posted by: bailey50 | October 7, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

I have to agree with 45upnorth. The most powerful women are the mothers and grandmothers of the world's most powerful men.

Posted by: AnnsThought | October 7, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Hillary should be numberOne

Posted by: LDTRPT25 | October 7, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Mrs. Obama is the only one on the list because of the position of her husband. All the others are on the list because of who they are, what they do.

Posted by: observer31 | October 7, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

I disagree with M.O. being the world's most powerful woman. And, besides, what is "the most powerful woman"? It sounds as if it means the woman who has the largest influence on what people will purchase. (In other words, it's about popularity and not substance.)

But, what I find interesting about M.O. is that her degrees are always mentioned, but NEVER has there been any mention of what she accomplished at any of her jobs. She always had jobs with excessively high salaries, but I've never been able to find any discussion of what she actually achieved while working. She, too, never held jobs for an extended period of time. She did not achieve her jobs on what she earned/produced/achieved.

The media continues this dysfunction with her. There remains no achievement in her record.

(And, I am a woman who is a Democrat.)

Posted by: Post-ing | October 7, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

bailey50: If the republican should be in the majority(which they won't)you may not have a job and be forced to go on welfare. When Bush and company were in office there was less jobs created in this country than at anytime in memory.What a short memory some have

Posted by: LDTRPT25 | October 7, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

The list is bogus. Seriously, the CEO of Kraft foods is more powerful than Oprah and Hillary Clinton? And Lady Gaga?! She does not "influence" fashion. She makes her own individual fashion statements. I don't see anyone else walking around in a meat dress. Forbes does these lists for publicity. They have no basis in reality.

Posted by: forgetthis | October 7, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

If she is successful in her quest to dictate to us what we can and cannot eat in the sanctity of our own homes, in this most democratic and powerful of democratic countries, I think that would easily qualify her as the most powerful woman in the world. Perhaps even the most powerful person in the world.

Posted by: tom75 | October 7, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Watch how mighty "powerful" she is on 22 January 2013.

Sure it isn't April 1st?

Posted by: Computer_Forensics_Expert_Computer_Expert_Witness | October 7, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

If the most powerful woman in the world can't even wear the natural texture of her hair..., what does that tell you?

How can someone who is not free be the most powerful?

Forbes has powerful influence over fellow racists' use of media (to promote judeo-christian white supremacist values, symbols, and ideology...

Posted by: stephendavid2002 | October 7, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

If the most powerful woman in the world can't even wear the natural texture of her hair..., what does that tell you?

How can someone who is not free be the most powerful?

Forbes has powerful influence over fellow racists' use of media (to promote judeo-christian white supremacist values, symbols, and ideology...

…but then so does the washingtonpost

Posted by: stephendavid2002 | October 7, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

I truly love Mrs. Obama and all she stands for. If asked why they feel such animosity towards her, those who have written such negative comments would have but one answer and we all know what that is. Otherwise there is nothing that this woman has done, that deserves such hatred. She represents our country with dignity, grace and intelligence. Attributes you will never be able to take away from her. Sticks and stones...

Posted by: OHREALLYNOW | October 7, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

If the most powerful woman in the world can't even wear the natural texture of her hair..., what does that tell you?
------------------
Dumb Arse, it tells me that she chooses not to wear a natural. What about the first ladies who have had color jobs, and extensions, and weaves? What does that tell you about them?

Posted by: OHREALLYNOW | October 7, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Barack & Michelle Obama have literally traveled the world telling WHOEVER would listen that America had been the prime source of evil in the world; and, henceforth needed to atone for its past transgressions. In Michelle's own words: "Our souls are broken in this nation"; "blacks must join in solidarity to combat a white oppressor"; "America is a nation that was founded on crime and hatred"; "we're a country that is just downright mean."; "We're a nation of cynics, sloths, and complacents."; "America is guided by fear, and getting worse all the time."; and, goes on to lament that she will face, "further integration and/or assimilation into a white culture and social structure". Hate filled dictum that irrevocably revealed the current 1st lady's deeply angry disposition towards America. All of this from a woman who has benefited enormously from affirmative actions which she conveniently neglects to mention! Along with her husband's long-term subversive associations, his immersion in seditious anti-American diatribe; and, his recent proclamation: "I don't want that (referring to America in its current form) for my little girls.", has indeed revealed the Obamas as the real-life Manchurian Couple. As a pointed example, the International Olympic Committee simply took the Obama's at their own words; and, relegated America to "LAST PLACE" in the competition for the 2016 Olympics. Greg Neubeck

Posted by: gneubeck | October 7, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Meg Whitman's housekeeper is no. 1.

Posted by: michaelhunt277 | October 7, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Forbes is wrong, wrong, wrong. Mrs. Obama is not someone whom I admire. She could be doing much more than gardening at the White House. Whenever I watch her on TV it is another yawn.

Posted by: Listening2 | October 7, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

The only power women I see in the top 10 are Merkel and Clinton (VERY impressive). Four of the others are "celebrities" and, in the case of Mrs. Obama, simply the wife of the leader of the free world. The business women? Hardly powerful outside their own fifedoms. Their companies could disappear tomorrow and their products simply would be provided by someone else.

Posted by: ihave4ducks | October 7, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse


Michelle obama is NO Jackie Kennedy. Not even close. How does this woman have power? She spends taxpayer money like water and pushes the socialist, anti-American agenda. For the first time in my adult life, I am NOT proud of a First Lady.

Posted by: wmpowellfan | October 7, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

B.S. Thats all I have to say

Posted by: markandbeth92 | October 7, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

with verry few words we know what mrs. obamas problem is she is a strong black woman keep upthe good work mrs.first lady

Posted by: jddowning2 | October 7, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

They must have some perverted sense of what's powerful if the folks on this list is the best they can do. Good grief! The poster who said it's a popularity contest is closer to the truth.

Posted by: Lilycat11 | October 7, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

"What is racism?

Racism is racial prejudice that has been incorporated into the activities and procedures of major institutions, corporations, social systems (such as those related to housing, education, and health), and other arenas of major social activity (such as politics, the media, finance, and banking). Racism serves both to discriminate against ethnic minorities and to maintain advantages and benefits for White Americans."

"...Psychologists have found that we put energy into various mechanisms that help us maintain our view of the world. For example, we can seek out and pay attention to information that supports our views. Evidence suggests that the More strongly we hold a stereotype, the more we tend to remember confirming information about the group. There is a kind of circular process here: For example, the more we believe stereotypes about gay men being effeminate, the more likely we will remember incidents which seem to support these views. We also discount or rationalize information that is contradictory to our beliefs. The Black person who is intelligent and articulate, the gay man who is not effeminate, or the Jewish person who is not pushy become exceptions to the rule, but the rule remains. And we may look more closely for grammatical mistakes in the Black person=s speech than in a White person’s; or that the Jewish person is especially clever in working his or her exploitive influence behind our back..."

"...the new racism describes a more elusive, political, almost abstract language of race which avoids blatantly negative racist statements in favor of political codewords and symbols. This new racism is partly based on a view of racial discrimination as being outdated and puts the onus of achievement and equality on African Americans and other ethnic minority people. If African Americans would, for example, stop clamoring for special treatment and simply work harder, they could achieve the American Dream. The idea is that it is African Americans= own deficiencies B whether they be greed, laziness, violence, and so on B that are the cause of their problems, not the history of slavery, segregation, discrimination, prejudice, and racism which is assumed to have come to an end...."
Excerpts from what was Written by ..., PhD
At the request of the American Psychological Association
Public Interest Directorate

Posted by: stephendavid2002 | October 7, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Reading many of these posts suggest the level of hate, anger and fear in America is rampant. Almost as bad, the ignorance displayed in some of the posts is astounding. God save us from ourselves.

Posted by: DavidAsgard | October 7, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

The Forbes list of the world's most powerful women give little girls everywhere a nontraditional role model of modern womanhood. Yes, women who are mothers, grandmothers, and the woman behind a powerful man are roles models of a different generation. All womenhood is valid and valuable to society. Congratulations to Michele Obama and all women, regardless of what you do or don't do, regardless of your political views, regardless of your social class! A tribute to one, is a tribute to all.

Posted by: adelef_2000 | October 7, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

The Forbes list of the world's most powerful women gives little girls, tomorrow's most powerful women, everywhere a nontraditional role model of modern womanhood. Yes, women who are mothers, grandmothers, and the woman behind a powerful man are roles models of a different generation. All women are valid and valuable to society. Congratulations to Michele Obama and all women, regardless of what you do or don't do, regardless of your political views, regardless of your social class! A tribute to one, is a tribute to all.

Posted by: adelef_2000 | October 7, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Everyone saying Mrs. Obama doesn't belong on this list and doesn't compare to Jackie Kennedy, you're right.

She's no Jackie Kennedy. This FLOTUS is a 1985 cum laude graduate of Princeton University, a 1988 graduate of Harvard Law School, a former associate dean at the University of Chicago, and a former vice president at the University of Chicago Hospitals. She sat on six boards, including the prestigious Chicago Council on Global Affairs, the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools and Tree House Foods.

So Mrs. Michelle Obama is very well established and capable in her own right, and she happens to be married to the President. And technically, she is the most powerful woman on that list because her accomplishments are now enhanced by her husband's presidency, or rather she enhances his presidency. She's the most successful first lady this country has ever seen and some people just can't handle it.

Posted by: venus31 | October 7, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

The jealousy, of people never ceases to amaze me. The hostile, toward the truth about events that really happened in this country. If the statement were false I could understand why people could feel the way they do. But the statements are not false. So why not just accept the truth and live with it? The past cannot be changed. America was formed on crime and hate. A group of people, the Indians who welcomed the white race into their land gave them food, was almost made extinct as a people, their way of life was made extinct simply because they were different, and the white man wanted their land, and their gold. Another group was brought here made to slave for the white people and murdered if they chose not to. The black race was not allowed to drink water out of the same fountain as a white person; they had to sit on the back of the buss. Was not allowed to eat in the same restaurant with white people. When they protested water hoses and dogs was turn on them. So if this is not crime and hate then what is? Instead of being ashamed of the truth teach your children that it is the history of America and that it is the truth. Also instead of degrading people for speaking the truth let them know that it was all wrong what their ancestor did, and that you personally do not approve of the bad history that covers America. I applauded Mrs. Obama for speaking the truth about any subject. I also feel sorry for all of you who are so ashamed of the truth that you would put someone down for speaking it. Speaking the truth in my opinion makes her one of the most powerful women here in America, maybe the most powerful one. So get over it she is black and she is proud of being black and not ashamed of being married to a half white half black man.

Posted by: nancyqueenesterjohnson1029 | October 7, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

The jealousy, of people never ceases to amaze me. The hostile, toward the truth about events that really happened in this country. If the statement were false I could understand why people could feel the way they do. But the statements are not false. So why not just accept the truth and live with it? The past cannot be changed. America was formed on crime and hate. A group of people, the Indians who welcomed the white race into their land gave them food, was almost made extinct as a people, their way of life was made extinct simply because they were different, and the white man wanted their land, and their gold. Another group was brought here made to slave for the white people and murdered if they chose not to. The black race was not allowed to drink water out of the same fountain as a white person; they had to sit on the back of the buss. Was not allowed to eat in the same restaurant with white people. When they protested water hoses and dogs was turn on them. So if this is not crime and hate then what is? Instead of being ashamed of the truth teach your children that it is the history of America and that it is the truth. Also instead of degrading people for speaking the truth let them know that it was all wrong what their ancestor did, and that you personally do not approve of the bad history that covers America. I applauded Mrs. Obama for speaking the truth about any subject. I also feel sorry for all of you who are so ashamed of the truth that you would put someone down for speaking it. Speaking the truth in my opinion makes her one of the most powerful women here in America, maybe the most powerful one. So get over it she is black and she is proud of being black and not ashamed of being married to a half white half black man. I wrote the above comment and I stand by it.
barb. R.B.M.

Posted by: nancyqueenesterjohnson1029 | October 7, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse


Jay Leno: “So, have you heard that Michelle Obama has come out with a new book? — Spain on $75,000 A Day.”


Posted by: Jerzy | October 7, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Wrong, wearing pearls does not make you Jackie Kennedy. Michelle Obama proved she doesn't have common sense or savy when she
took the vacation to the luxury resort in
Spain during a major, deep recession!
And obama certainly is not JFK, either.
JFK believed in empowering people instead of giving them welfare. Obama is the epitomy of a Nanny government.

Posted by: ohioan | October 7, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Wow, are people still whining about that Spain vacation?!? Where were the complaints when First Lady Laura Bush got a $700 haircut for the 2005 Inauguration? Or when Laura Bush went on vacation with her girlfriends along with an entourage of 25 in tow? ANd where were the critics when the taxpayers spent more than $20 million flying the Bushes back and forth to their vacation retreat in Crawford, Texas?

Posted by: venus31 | October 7, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Lord help us if Mrs. Obama ever dared, say:
-Marry more than once - the 2nd time to a non-american playboy / then live publicly with a married man?
-Why does her university education/her proven eloquence with the English Language so gall the generality of your reading audience?
-Why would she ever want to be Jackie? Or any other person but herself, for that matter?
-And,why does whatever she does with her hair, or how she chooses to wear it, be fodder for discussion? The people of the US need to grow up / to know that comparisons are odious / & stop making themselves the laughing stock of the rest of the world.
She IS your 1st Lady in the same vein as was - Bush/Nixon/Reagan et.al., - & she is regarded as 'powerful' for her POV on matters of import far beyond that of haircuts / holidays / and hemlines.

Posted by: cristi7747 | October 7, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Michelle Malkin| Post-Achievement prize winner of the day: Michelle Obama
http://michellemalkin.com/2010/10/07/post-achievement-prize-winner-of-the-day-michelle-obama/

Posted by: StewartIII | October 7, 2010 5:14 PM | Report abuse

THAT COUPLE IS POWERFUL BUT BOTH ARE DISGUSTING- MICHELLE DOES HAVE TWO FACES !-AND BOTH ARE IDENTICAL TO HER HUGE BACK SIDE--ONE CAN NOT HAVE ANY RESPECT FOR HER OR THAT SO CALLED " LEARN ON THE JOB PRESIDENT " HE IS WORST PRESIDENT AMERICA HAS EVER-EVER HAD --THEY BOTH ARE A NIGHTMARE'S FROM HELL--THOSE TWO HAVE TOTALLY ALMOST DISTROYED AMERICA!! WITH THERE HUGE - HUGE SPENDING--WE ARE ALL GOING DOWN THE DRAIN WITH THEM IN THE WHITE HOUSE!!! I PRAY TO GOD EVERY DAY TO IMPEACH HIM-SOON!TAKE HIM OUT IN HANDCUFF FOR STEALING FROM AMERICA TAXPAPER'S WHAT IS HAPPENING TO US, LETTING OBAMA'S DOING THESE BAD THINGS TO US REAL AMERICA'S--HE HAS TOOK SOCIAL SECURITY COST OF LIVING RAISE AWAY FOR ELDERLY!-NOW FOR 2 YEARS! BUT I AM SURE HE WILL THROW ALITTLE RAISE -RIGHT BEFORE ELECTION-PLEASE THINK ABOUT THIS BEFORE YOU VOTE!-THAT COUPLE IS-NOT SUFFERING DUE TO MONEY -LIKE US AMERICAN'S ARE-HE WANTS US TO"RETRIBUTION OF WEALTH?" WHAT THE HELL HAS HE NOT SING IS OWN SONG!"RETRIBUTION OF WEALTH? " WHERE IS OBAMA'S AND BIDEN'S-"RESTRUBTION?"-WHY HAVE THEY NOT HELPED THE POOR WITH THERE MONEY?? THEY ARE NOT STUPIED THEY ONLY USE TAXPPAYER'S MONEY TO HAND OUT!! TO MANY THAT DO REALLY NOT DESERVE ANY HELP -- DRUGGIES AND LAZY PEOPLE!!--ALSO REMEMBER HE NEVER USE TO SALUTE OUR FLAG!! (GOOGLE THIS -YOU WILL FIND THE PHOTO!!) OBAMA HAS HIS FINGER IN EVERY ONE'S BUSINESS YOURS & MINE,THEY ARE AS PHONEY AS A $3 DOLLAR BILL !-BUT HE FEELS WE CAN NOT LOOK IN HIS BUSINESS!-LIKE ALL THOSE SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER'S HE USED THROUGHTOUT HIS LIFE IN AMERICA- FOR HIS COLLEGE FINANCING OR HIS REAL BIRTH CERTIFICATE?-HE IS USING AMERICAS TAXPAPER'S MONEY--TO KEEP PAPER'S SEALED --AND WE ARE PAYING FROM THIS IMPOSTER--I'M AM SICK OF THIS MAN LYING --DOES'NT ANYONE HAVE ENOUGH CAHOONAS --TO REALLY INVESTIGATE --THE OBAMA'S?? NOTICE YOUR TAXES MORE STEALS FROM TAXPAYER'S MORE VACATION FOR HIS FAMILY!I SEE SO MANY PEOPLE IN FORCLOSURES-TAXES SKY HIGH!WHERE IS THE AMERICAN DREAM?? OBAMAS ARE DANGEROUS TO AMERICA- AND WE PAY THIS CRAP, HE IS AS BAD AS THAT PHONEY "NICKI DIAZ"--NOW, -WHAT IS HER REAL NAME? HER MEXICAN NAME SHE HAD IN HER COUNTRY ??-- ALSO HER GRANDMOTHER'S SOCIAL SECURITY THAT SHE USED ? ALSO HER HUSBAND? LET'S INVESTIVATE THIS WHOLE FAMILY!HAS SHE EVER GOT WELFARE FOOD STAMP'S- INCOME TAX REFUND--SHE HAS HAD ANCHOR BABIES--NICKI, NEEDS TO BE IN USA JAIL FOR 10 YEARS PLUS GRANDMA BECAUSE GRAMDMA"NICKI WAS SCREWING THE USA TAXPAYERS AFTER JAIL KICK OUT TO HER OWN COUNTRY& GET HER DEPORTED- THOSE ANCHOR BABIES?-ANCHOR BABIES CAN COME BACK--AGE 18 AND WORK -PAY TAXES FOR THE "FREE RIDE THEIR PARENTS SCREWED THE AMERICAN TAXPAPER'S!-ALSO JERRY BROWN AND GLORIA ALRED ARE SLEEZ BALLS- THEY BOTH SLITHER LIKE A SNAKES! THEY ARE CRAP!! OUR STATE WAS RAN BY OUR LT GOVENOR-WHEN JERRY WAS GOVENOR-JERRY WAS TO BUSY RUNNING AROUND AND CHASING AFTER LINDA RONSTADT AROUND THE WORLD--ALSO QUIET AS IT IS KEPT JERRY OR GLORIA-PAID NICKIE-JERRY IS NO GOOD FOR CALIF-VOTE HIM OUT!!

Posted by: louiser | October 7, 2010 9:58 PM | Report abuse

She’s has such closer proximity to the guy who resides in the White House, you know, but then again, they could just as well pin the title “president” on a sock puppet. Thy might as well give a “most powerful woman” rank to whatever female companion(s) who hang around George Soros.

Posted by: yohannbiimu | October 8, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Who in Forbes deceided this? Were they drinking on the job or smoking pot? The only reason miz big butt is powerful is because she is married to that so called orginizer/president, Barack(Barry Soetoro) Heusein Obama-people were really blind to vote for him! But that guy talks S--T and they beleived him!. His house is crumbling down on him!-Those people around him are all running out on him FAST!just like that rat running.... Hallelujah!!!..flies land on his face, bees, rat running by while giving speech, down pour rain in Chicago when trying to put a reef in cemetary for all troops and President Plaque falling off on his potium--WoW!-Jobs down-People having to go bankrupt-Forclosures-Also,took Social Security cost of living TAKING AWAY for elderly now for 2 years! Obama Heathcare, we did not want! Wow what president! What a mess!They both are night mares from HELL! But they alway's have time for parties, awards, drinking,lavish vacations all around the world..ON TAXPAYER'S MONEY!

1.HILERY-
2.SARAH PALIN-BEAUITFUL,SEXY-GREAT MOM
3.LAURA BUSH-ELEGENT & CLASSY
$.NANCY REAGAN-ELEGENT & CLASSY
3.BARBARA BUSH-ELEGENT & CLASSY,
4.BARBIE
5.MISS PIGGY
-BUT NO MICHELLE,NO WHERE,NO HOW! ON MY LIST!

Posted by: louiser | October 8, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

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