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Michelle Obama viral turnip video: Will it sell healthy food?

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(Read caption) Michelle Obama: 'Turnip for what?'

Michelle Obama has danced with a turnip in the name of promoting healthy eating.

Yes, that’s a lede we never imagined writing when we entered political journalism. But life is full of surprises. One of them is the new Vine video of the first lady co-opting a popular tune, “Turn Down for What” by DJ Snake and Lil Jon.

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Or maybe it’s the popularity of the Vine more than the video itself that’s surprising.

Mrs. Obama starts the brief video by saying, “Turn up, for what." Or maybe it’s "turnip for what,” that’s not really clear. Then she boogies to the strains of the DJ Snake song. This has been looped 7 million times as of Wednesday morning.

That’s right, 7 million. Did your Vine of a cat in a paper bag do that well? Bet it didn’t.

The turnip turnup was a response to another Vine user. Alphacat, doing a pretty good President Obama imitation, had asked Mrs. Obama, “How many calories do you burn every time you ‘turn up?’ ”

The viral video is her response. Though it doesn’t really answer the question, unless the number of calories you burn when you "turn up" is the same as the number in a turnip.

If there is a serious point here, and we’re not sure there is, it is that the White House once again has shown that it’s pretty adept at using social media and a wide variety of unusual media outlets to try to get its messages across.

Let’s face it, the Vine is pretty cute.

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“Unless you are Sasha or Malia, you will fully enjoy Michelle Obama dancing with a turnip,” tweeted Vox publisher Ezra Klein on Wednesday.

It’s unclear whether the turnip used as a dance partner here came from the White House garden. Mrs. Obama hosted her annual harvest from the garden on Tuesday, so we’d say it’s a possibility. According to the Associated Press, she was joined by schoolchildren who helped her gather lettuce, tomatoes, bell peppers, and sweet potatoes, among other veggies.

There’s no word on whether Mr. Obama has decided that today would be a good day to campaign in another state, preferably one with a Five Guys franchise, as opposed to coming home for dinner.

Though there aren’t many Democratic candidates at this point who would give him safe refuge from a big salad. While the White House may be good at social media, that hasn’t stopped his job approval rating among likely voters from dipping to 39 percent in a new Washington Post/ABC News poll.


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