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Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama

WASHINGTON – Why is the first family buying a home in Asheville, North Carolina? Do they like the weather there more than Hawaii?

Or could there be a post-presidency political motivation for the Obamas similar to the one that saw Bill and Hillary Clinton relocate to New York?

At least one well-placed source – and all kinds of scuttlebutt – suggest the latter. Residency in North Carolina is a prerequisite to the launch of Michelle Obama’s political career.

Specifically, the smart money says, Michelle is likely to seek a Senate seat, the one currently held by Republican Richard Burr, who is retiring in 2016.

Republicans believe Democrats will want to run a high-profile candidate to try to capture the open seat – and who could be higher than someone named Obama?

Now, sources are reporting the Obamas are purchasing a home in Asheville.

One source, for the Wall Street Cheat Sheet, said the property being purchased is in Asheville, but the White House wasn’t confirming anything yet.

The decision to pick the city is considered very telling by some GOP insiders, because it is one of the few liberal strongholds left in North Carolina.

Barack Obama discussed retirement there last year during his trip to North Carolina during a speech in Asheville.

“Love coming to Asheville,” said Obama. “Michelle and I always talk about how after this whole presidency thing, we’re looking for a little spot to –” here an audience member said, “Come on down” — “Come on down? Play a little golf, do a little hiking, fishing, barbecue,” said Obama. “There’s two things that keep bringing me back here. Number one is I really like the people. And number two is 12 Bones, which I will be stopping on the way back to the airport.”

The Cheat Sheet noted that the local Chamber of Commerce has been bragging about the Obamas for some time, with an online posting saying, “Find out for yourself what makes the Asheville area a vacation destination worthy of a president!”

That came after the White House reported the Obamas were to spend one of their many vacations in that area.

The family also has repeatedly vacationed in Hawaii, at an expense to taxpayers of millions of dollars for air travel each way, since they’ve been in the White House.

Last winter, taxpayers even paid for a separate flight for Michelle Obama, who was given a few extra days to relax over her 50th birthday there by her husband.

The Obamas have an extensive background in Chicago, but analysts have concluded that moving into a big pond like that may not be their first choice.

Michelle Obama would not be the only first lady to follow the path to the Senate. After Bill Clinton left office, the family bought a home in New York from which Hillary Clinton launched a successful Senate bid, which she followed with an unsuccessful presidential run in 2008.

Clinton then served as Barack Obama’s secretary of state until recently. She now appears to be preparing to announce a presidential bid for 2016.

That Michelle Obama has higher aspirations than a quiet, reclusive retirement is commonly reported. Just over the weekend, commentator Jeff Crouere wrote at Canada Free Press, “Despite Barack Obama’s disastrous record as president, there are many Democrat Party leaders in his adopted home state in Illinois who are longing for his wife to run for the U.S. Senate in 2016.

“They point to a 2012 Public Polling Policy survey which showed Michelle Obama leading incumbent U.S. Senator Mark Kirk, R-Illinois, by a comfortable 51-40 percent margin.”

He described Michelle Obama as “not a shrinking violet” and noted her new, bolder profile.

“She has cultivated the media spotlight since her husband’s election; however, her public profile has recently reached a new level. Last month, she traveled to China on a mission that drew international attention. She has also launched a Twitter campaign to rescue the Nigerian school girls kidnapped by the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram.”

She’s also attacked Congress for trying to make adjustments in the government-mandated school lunch program she supported.

“By engaging her political opponents in a high profile manner, Mrs. Obama is entering a more combative phase. It seems she has an increasing interest in debating Republicans, possibly signaling an interest in running as a candidate for public office,” Crouere wrote.

“If she enters the race for U.S. Senate as first lady, it will be a tremendous advantage for Michelle Obama. She could raise millions of dollars from liberals nationwide, while the media will fawn all over her. Sadly, she shares the same poisonous liberal philosophy as her husband. She is a true believer, who sat in the pews of the Trinity United Church of Christ as Rev. Jeremiah Wright spewed his racist, anti-American sermons.”

North Carolina’s WCNC-TV in Charlotte even speculated on the Obamas moving to North Carolina as far back as early 2013, saying, “Who knows, it could become his new home sometime down the road.”

ABC reported when the Obamas were in Asheville preparing for the October 2008 presidential debate with Sen. John McCain and then vacationed in Asheville in 2010.

The report said, “For Obama, the city also offers something else: a chance to appeal toe everyday families and generate favorable publicity in a potential swing state” heading into the 2012 election.

For several days, there has been increased speculation about a senatorial bid by Michelle Obama.

Like Hillary Clinton, Michelle is an attorney of some repute. She also served as assistant to the mayor of Chicago in the early 1990s, as well as an assistant commissioner of planning and development for the city.

After running the Chicago branch of the nonprofit Public Allies, which gets young people engaged in nonprofit and government leadership, Obama moved to the University of Chicago, eventually rising to be vice president of the university’s extensive hospitals network.

There has been speculation recently about a run in Illinois in 2016 for the seat held by Republican Mark Kirk. He suffered a stroke in 2012.

Reuters reported that if Michelle Obama won a Senate bid, “She would quickly become the most recognizable face in the Senate. Her fame and fundraising ability would command deference in a body that normally operates on seniority.”

Barack Obama has denied rumors that his wife was going to run for public office. In an interview for “Live with Kelly and Michael,” for instance, the president told host Kelly Ripa, “One thing I can promise you is Michelle will not run for office.”

In August last year, Michelle flat out denied rumors that she might run for the presidency.

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