Nation & World

Throw the flag against: Michelle Obama. Call: Illegal shift

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What happened: In her Monday night speech to the Democratic National Convention, Barack Obama's wife said she gave up what sounded like a lucrative career for public service.

"In my own life, in my own small way, I have tried to give back to this country that has given me so much," she said. "See, that's why I left a job at a big law firm for a career in public service, working to empower young people to volunteer in their communities."

Why that's wrong: She omitted the fact that she later went on to a high paying job at the University of Chicago Medical Center, where she worked in community and external affairs. In March 2005, she was promoted to vice president for community and external affairs, and her salary jumped from $121,910 to $316,962, which included a one-time bonus. In 2006, her salary was $273,618, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Her promotion came two months after her husband became a senator, but campaign aides said that she'd been offered the promotion and turned it down before that.

In 2006, Sen. Obama sought, but didn't get, a $1 million earmark for the medical center. Aides and university officials said at the time that Michelle Obama had nothing to do with the request, and that her husband was merely trying to help a constituent like many others.

Obama, however, later said that he should have asked another senator to request the earmark for his wife's workplace. "This is something that slipped through our cracks, through our screening system," he said.

Michelle Obama also was named to the board of TreeHouse Foods, which makes specialty foods and whose biggest customer is Wal-Mart. Her compensation for that totaled $101,083 in 2006, according to the Chicago Tribune. That brought her earnings in 2006 to a total of $374,701.

Penalty: Five yards


Michelle Obama launches her husband's new narrative

Check out McClatchy's expanded politics coverage.

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