Based on her bestselling memoir of the same name, Becoming offers viewers a candid look at Obama’s life since her husband, former president Barack Obama, exited the White House after his second term in 2016. Produced by the Obamas’ own company, Higher Ground Productions, the documentary is a slightly less varnished portrait of the former First Lady’s life and upbringing than the one most Americans might remember of the highly-poised Obama. But for all of the humility it imbues, the film’s existence in and of itself makes clear that Obama has no intention of vanishing from the public eye anytime soon — leaving some to wonder whether or not it might serve the dual purpose of paving the way for a future run for office.
Obama’s popularity is no secret: her intelligence and composure were hallmarks of her husband’s White House tenure, and a poll conducted in 2019 by the market research firm YouGov found that she was the most admired woman in the world, surpassing the likes of Taylor Swift and Oprah Winfrey. But despite her enduring popularity, Obama has made no secret of the fact that she doesn’t aspire to hold any future elected office.
Asked by the comedian Conan O'Brien's during a 2019 podcast interview whether she might one day take up a political campaign of her own, Obama said that she mourns the loss of normalcy she's experienced in her daily life, and cited it as the main reason she wouldn’t consider a future run for office. "That's something that most people don't understand, how valuable anonymity is,” Obama said. “You can't experience life behind a tinted window in a car.”
But, the question of seeing the Obama name on a ticket again resurfaced in April. In response to more recent chatter about the possibility that presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden might tap Obama as his running mate, former Obama White House advisor Valerie Jarrett told The Hill on May 4 that it was quite simply never going to happen.
“The reason why I'm being so unequivocal is that there just simply has never been a time when she's expressed an interest in running for office,” Jarrett said. “She’s not demurring here. She’s not being hard to get. She doesn’t want the job.”
Still, Biden says that he would chose Michelle Obama as a running mate "in a heartbeat," effectively tugging on the heartstrings of Americans who would love to see another Obama in the White House.