Dear Mrs. Leader: Media Push 'Raves' for Mrs. Obama's Convention Dress, Insist GOP Wives Need Her Fashion Sense

The fashionistas in the “objective” press displayed their favoritism by boosting Michelle Obama’s convention speech dress and quoted flagrant Michelle-boosters like Kate Betts, who insisted whatever stylishness the Republican women had they owed to the pioneering Mrs. Obama.

On Wednesday, the Associated Press posted a story headlined, “Michelle Obama gets raves for Tracy Reese dress,” and out came the bare-arms worship: 

First lady Michelle Obama got rave reviews for the custom-made Tracy Reese pink and copper dress she wore while giving a tribute to her husband at the Democratic National Convention.  The sleeveless dress showed off Mrs. Obama's famously toned arms and the length modestly skirted her knees.

The dress also showed off Mrs. Obama’s famously slavish admirers in the press corps. The Washington Post Express tabloid interviewed Reese for Friday’s edition and highlighted in bold text her feelings on the First Lady: “She actually has a sense of personal style, and she’s not bound by first-lady dictates. It’s refreshing....you’re used to them all wearing a red suit.”

Meow. That’s certainly an attack on Ann Romney’s convention wear, not to mention an obvious slam of Nancy Reagan.

Last week during the Republican convention, AP fashion writer Samantha Critchell praised Ann Romney, and then undermined that praise by suggesting Michelle does it better:

Ann Romney's tasteful, conservative and appropriate wardrobe largely reflects the image that she has carved for herself this week at the Republican National Convention. She wore dresses in bright red, pretty pink and, on Thursday, light blue—a gesture at reaching across the political aisle?

But she might have to go deeper into the White House—all the way into Michelle Obama's closet—to find the outfits that will likely become the benchmark for a modern, stylish political wife.

"Ann Romney might have consciously or unconsciously taken a cue from Michelle. Maybe Ann, if she becomes first lady, can take more chances thanks to Michelle," said Sharon Graubard, senior vice president and fashion director of Stylesight, a New York-based trend forecasting and analysis firm.

Then came Kate Betts, who loves Michelle enough to even slam Hillary Clinton as well as Barbara and Laura Bush:

If you look at Ann Romney and Janna Ryan, it's hard to look at any potential first lady and not think of the impact that Michelle Obama has had," said Kate Betts, fashion editor and author of "Everyday Icon: Michelle Obama and the Power of Style."

But, Betts said, "The only reason we're talking about their fashion at the RNC at all is because of Michelle Obama. Otherwise, we hadn't talked about 'fashion' in the White House since Nancy Reagan."

AP even insisted Mrs. Romney is no "everywoman" in her rich-lady clothes, but Mrs. Obama can pull it off (because they say so):

Romney's four-digit de la Renta dress generated some chatter that she's not living the life—or living within the budget—of an everywoman. She's donned other expensive designer duds throughout the campaign. Obama has many top-tier, pricey clothes, too, but she makes a point, and so do the labels she's wearing, to note that she embraces the idea of "high-low" dressing, taking a designer piece and mixing it with another from a mass retailer.

Also: WashPost blogger mocks Sununu for questioning cost of Michelle's convention dress

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis