Mrs. Obama: From Spouses' Circuit To Campaign Trail The White House granted many Democrats' wish this week, announcing that first lady Michelle Obama will campaign for midterm candidates. Her first fundraiser is in mid-October, but, in the meantime, she's doing events that are a bit more light and breezy.
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Mrs. Obama: From Spouses' Circuit To Campaign Trail

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Mrs. Obama: From Spouses' Circuit To Campaign Trail

Mrs. Obama: From Spouses' Circuit To Campaign Trail

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, Host:

Her first event is in mid-October, and by that point the campaign will be hot and heavy. In the meantime, she's doing events that are more light and breezy. NPR White House correspondent Ari Shapiro has our report.

ARI SHAPIRO: There may be no such thing as a bad time to visit the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture. But it's also hard to imagine a better time to visit than late September. The leaves are starting to turn and the fields are just giving up the last of their summer vegetables.

(SOUNDBITE OF TURKEYS)

SHAPIRO: The tour started at an outdoor chicken coop, where Sarah Hannah was teaching local third graders how to gather eggs without getting scratched.

SARAH HANNAH: Unidentified Child: But they keep running away.

SHAPIRO: Restaurant captain Adile Laroussie was turning fresh herbs into tea.

ADILE LAROUSSIE: Verbena - we did for the first lady, apple mint. Pineapple mint, which is the one with the white streaks.

SHAPIRO: One group of students picked basil for a salad, while other kids showed Mrs. Obama how to suck the nectar from the base of a purple flower called agastache.

MICHELLE OBAMA: So what part do I eat?

(SOUNDBITE OF CHATTER)

SHAPIRO: Inside the Blue Hill Restaurant, a string quartet from Juilliard welcomed the first ladies to lunch.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SHAPIRO: Before the meal began, Mrs. Obama explained how the work of this center dovetails with her effort to fight childhood obesity.

OBAMA: Many of these kids may never learn that ketchup comes from a tomato or that French fries actually come from a potato, because they're very disconnected from the food that they eat.

SHAPIRO: A few minutes from Stone Barns, a two-term House Democrat is in a tight reelection race. But he could have been light years away. It'll be a few more weeks before the first lady wades into the morass of campaigning and fundraising. It's not for lack of demand though. In New York on Thursday, President Obama acknowledged that his wife wins the popularity contests in this administration.

BARACK OBAMA: I feel grateful that Michelle - so far, at least - has not run for any offices I've been running for.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

OBAMA: She would beat me thoroughly.

SHAPIRO: Ari Shapiro, NPR News.

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