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Here's to you Mrs. Robinson -- the first grandmother finally gets some ink

April 7, 2009 |  7:22 am

First Lady Michelle Obama with her mother Marian Shields Robinson, the first live-in White House grandmother since the Eisenhower administration

She is always in the background, behind her granddaughters Malia and Sasha Obama, the one member of the first family who doesn't seem to care much for the limelight.

In the May issue of Essence, First Granny Marian Shields Robinson finally talks -- though anyone looking for gems about President Obama's personal habits will have to look elsewhere.

This morning, Editor in Chief Angela Burt-Murray said on NBC's "Today" that she didn't even pose the question when she interviewed First Lady Michelle Obama and her mother in the White House about a month after the Inauguration. But she got the impression that the 71-year-old Robinson judged her son-in-law (and favorably) more on his skills as a husband and father than as president.

In fact, mother-in-law-in-chief Mrs. Robinson -- the first live-in White House grandmother since Elivera M. Doud during the Eisenhower administration -- had nothing but praise for her daughter.

Michelle has always been Michelle. And she has always accomplished whatever it was she set out to accomplish. I have always looked up to Michelle because she has been able to do things that I couldn’t do emotionally, psychologically or physically. I think she is amazing.

The first lady also had lots of praise for her mother, saying, “She made me who I am.”

The two also talked parenting (the interview and photo shoot were timed for Mother's Day). Robinson was asked if she, like her son, first-brother-in-law and Oregon State University basketball coach Craig Robinson, was thinking of writing a book on the topic.

The first lady jumped in jumped in with a laugh. "We are working on it,” she said.

-- Johanna Neuman

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Photo: Timothy White / Stockland Martel /  Essence Magazine