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A Call to Arms at Buckingham Palace

Where did the media's lunatic obsession with Michelle Obama's arms begin, and where will it end? It started even before Inauguration Day with a minute deconstruction of the First Lady-to-be's fashion sense sparked by a rapturous cover story in Vogue magazine. From there it progressed to breathless comparisons with the couture of Jackie Kennedy and Eleanor Roosevelt and solemn appraisals of the relative merits of long-sleeved or sleeveless. So it was inevitable that when Mrs. Obama was photographed arm-in-arm with Queen Elizabeth II during the First Couple's visit Wednesday with the Royal Family at Buckingham Palace their embrace would be covered by every major news organization in the world. Who cared what the G-20 was up to?

Ostensibly the stories were pegged to two by now well-known diplomatic protocols: 1) that no one touches the Queen and 2) that American First Ladies don't curtsey to her, either. But the British didn't take offense either way; the next day's London tabloids went ga-ga over Michelle as if she were an American Princess Di. The folks at home shared the euphoria: A Washington Post-ABC News poll found that Mrs. Obama's 75 percent approval rating topped even that of her husband. Is it possible the whole world is secretly awaiting a return to the days of Camelot?

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Associated Press Photo

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