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Sat Apr 23, 2016, 03:30 PM

Amid 70,000 state layoffs, Macri hires image coach to make his wife into "the new Michelle Obama"

Last edited Sun Apr 24, 2016, 10:39 AM - Edit history (1)

Argentine President Mauricio Macri makes no apologies for the 70,000 state layoffs ordered since he took office four months ago, referring to the fired employees as "junk contracts." He did, however, find room in his austerity budget for an image consultant for his wife, the socially maladroit First Lady of Argentina Juliana Awada.

The consultant, María Reussi, was given the newly created post of Assistant to the President on Matters of the First Lady and earns 90,000 pesos ($6,300) a month - a salary approaching that of the President's (130,000 pesos) and nearly six times the median full-time pay in Argentina. Her job, according to Reussi herself: "create a modern First Lady, in the style of Michelle Obama."

Introduced to Macri in 2003 during his failed first bid for Mayor of Buenos Aires by his now Chief of Staff Marcos Peña, Reussi is described as "Juliana's shadow." Her role goes far beyond that of the First Lady's social secretary (her official purview), instead including daily advice as to what to say, where to go, and how to behave in the political arena.

Reussi's task has not been easy. Ms. Awada is, despite being 42, very much a traditional First Lady who avoids speaking in public - least of all taking strong public policy positions like the last woman to serve as Argentina's First Lady, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, did during her husband Néstor Kirchner's 2003-07 term. Awada's first public speech as First Lady, in fact, was for a joint appearance with U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama during President Obama's state visit in March - a speech Reussi wrote. There have been none since.

Nevertheless as part of what Reussi refers to as the First Lady's "Obamization," Awada has been encouraged to appear in supermarkets from time to time and has even planted a vegetable garden on the grounds of the Quinta de Olivos presidential residence in suburban Buenos Aires.

But the differences with the adopted template aren't limited solely to Awada's professional background (or lack thereof). Whereas Mrs. Obama is an accomplished lawyer with a personal history of social and political commitment to her native Chicago, Ms. Awada's work experience is limited to head of fashion design at her family's own boutique chain 'Cheeky' - a firm repeatedly found to be operating sweatshops staffed with undocumented Bolivian immigrants in Buenos Aires' garment district.

María Reussi, however, isn't daunted. "You will want to give the impression of an active woman from the professional standpoint, and not so much from matters of protocol," she explained, adding that Juliana Awada "has always been committed to social issues. When Macri was mayor, for instance, she visited soup kitchens and child care centers."

At: https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://noticias.perfil.com/2016/04/16/la-coach-de-la-primera-dama/&prev=search
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[center]

They're both beautiful. But only one owns a sweatshop.[/center]

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Reply Amid 70,000 state layoffs, Macri hires image coach to make his wife into "the new Michelle Obama" (Original post)
forest444 Apr 2016 OP
WhiteTara Apr 2016 #1
forest444 Apr 2016 #2
enid602 Apr 2016 #3
forest444 Apr 2016 #4
enid602 Apr 2016 #5
Judi Lynn Apr 2016 #6
forest444 Apr 2016 #7

Response to forest444 (Original post)

Sat Apr 23, 2016, 03:40 PM

1. She has a tough act to follow

I doubt that she will be able to hold a candle to Michelle who is authentic.

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Response to WhiteTara (Reply #1)

Sat Apr 23, 2016, 03:43 PM

2. I had a good time posting this one, let me tell you.

I mean, a vegetable garden? "Obamization"?

Why don't they buy her a hula hoop while they're at it - preferably one not made in a sweatshop.

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Response to forest444 (Original post)

Sat Apr 23, 2016, 04:07 PM

3. Macri

You have to admit, Macri chose the worse possible time for austerity and privatization measures. With neighboring Brazil's economy contracting at almost 7% last quarter, Argentina seems to be propelling itself into the chasm left by LA's largest economy. I will spend a month in BA in September; I'm keeping my fingers crossed that things don't worsen there too much.

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Response to enid602 (Reply #3)

Sat Apr 23, 2016, 04:20 PM

4. It is what it is. But things in September should still be ok, even if a little under the weather.

So nice to hear from you again, Enid. How has everything been?

Your recap of the problem with Macri, I think, hits it right on the head. Like all GOP clones, the man doesn't know the meaning of the word 'countercyclical'. No handle on basic economics - or common sense, really.

The only thing that has mitigated it (thus far, anyway), is the simple fact that employment and income levels were - relatively speaking - as high as they were to begin with. It's one thing to have a recession in 2016, coming off 2015 living standards; and quite another to have it in 1989 and 2001 given the already depressive economy in 1988 and 2000, respectively.

When you get there take lots of pictures, Enid, and have a great time!

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Response to forest444 (Reply #4)

Sun Apr 24, 2016, 01:08 AM

5. thx

Will do, on both counts.

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Response to forest444 (Original post)

Sun Apr 24, 2016, 02:17 AM

6. Oh, yes! She's committed to social issues, of course! Her OWN.

That's why it's easy to pay slave wages to impoverished Bolivian people so desperate to make money they traveled to another country, leaving their own homes and loved ones.

The article indicates "she visited soup kitchens and child care centers." She probably went there to make sure the workers were not getting paid, and that no one got more than water and a pea at the soup kitchen, and didn't have adequate heating at the child care center, we can't be spending taxpayers' money on the poor, after all."

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Her first lesson, Walk this way. The proper response: "If I could walk that way I wouldn't need talcum powder."

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There's NO ONE who could teach her to be as gracious, warm, natural, quick, and open as Mrs. Obama. It's crazy to try to urge someone to be like someone else, anyway! That's so damned odd!

It takes some kind of pomposity to think one person can simply imitate someone else and become more well liked. It's embarrassing to even consider it. Michelle Obama's personality fashions everything about her. It starts INSIDE.

Thanks for this interesting news.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Reply #6)

Sun Apr 24, 2016, 08:17 AM

7. Her husband's a big believer in photo ops - and teleprompters.

Nor is he above pimping his wife for a good photo op. I say that because she herself is very media shy, and probably wouldn't on her own volition. Her husband, ironically, started out a little media shy himself; but has really seemed to get the hang of it over the last few years - as long as there's a teleprompter around, anyway.

Every now and then Macri would visit a public housing project as mayor, making sure to have his picture taken with a group of poor/working class children around him. Pretty shameless, considering that as mayor he slashed public school spending and practically froze public housing construction (public housing budgets are a local and provincial prerogative in Argentina, unfortunately).

Just goes to show you're right: it's not the photo that counts; but the deeds, and what's inside. I'm sure Mrs. Obama would tell the Macris the same thing.

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