While the political spotlight is focused on presidential candidate Barack Obama, his wife Michelle Obama has been shining right alongside him the whole way. The September issue of Ebony magazine, on sale Aug. 12, catches up with this busy wife, mother, and style icon in the making.

“It has been a blessing for us to have this opportunity to spend this year traveling the country,” she tells Ebony. “We’ve been in almost every state in this nation—in people’s homes, in their kitchens, in their community centers, and just having the opportunity to be reminded of how decent the American people are and how our values are so closely linked, that gives me hope.”

Beyond pulling her own weight on the campaign trail, Michelle has been cutting a stylish figure across the political scene: With her simple sheaths, big pearls, and wide belts, some say she’s lined up to become Jackie Kennedy Onassis’s fashion successor.

“People associate her with Jackie Kennedy because that’s the last time there was a first lady with a trademark style,” says Washington Post fashion editor Robin Givhan. “She just gives you the impression that she enjoys clothes.”

But ask Michelle what her favorite accessory is and she’ll tell you it’s not a piece of jewelry or a snazzy pair of shoes.

“Barack and I—as partners, as friends and as lovers—we accessorize each other in many ways,” she says. “The best thing I love having on me is Barack on my arm and vice versa, whether it’s having him standing there smiling at me, or watching him mesmerize a crowd or talk to some seniors in a senior center.”

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