Of course Ms. Obama’s first international visit unaccompanied by the president – which first included a stop unannounced in Haiti Tuesday – has captivated the public, the way Eleanor Roosevelt’s trip to Ireland and England did in 1942. That was the first time any American first lady traveled abroad unaccompanied. Jacqueline Kennedy similarly drew worldwide attention with her 1962 solo trip to India and Pakistan, says Carl Sferrazza Anthony, historian of the National First Ladies’ Library in Canton, Ohio.
It's not surprising that the daily newspaper El Universal in Mexico ran a spread of all of the dresses that Obama has donned since becoming first lady, and included small shots of the magazine covers she’s graced. The level of attention a trip generates usually boosts popularity, says Mr. Anthony, as it did for Jacqueline Kennedy. But he adds, “The thing with Michelle Obama is, I don’t know how much farther her stock can go up.”