Michelle's Moment | NBC New York

Michelle's Moment

Michelle Obama is the prime-time attraction on opening night



    AFP/Getty Images
    Michelle Obama stands with her daughter Sasha at the podium onstage where she will deliver a speech later today to kick off the Democratic National Convention.

    Tonight is Michelle Obama's time to shine.

    The fist-bumping fashionista will give what is being billed as a deeply personal televised speech tonight at the Democratic National Convention about why her husband, Barak Obama, should become the next President.

    For many Americans, this primetime appearance on national television will be their first real look at the woman who could be their First Lady  - which makes it Michelle Obama's  most important appearance yet.

    But will her image problem come back to haunt her?

    Under criticism for some controversial comments, Obama has tried to soften her image in recent months. She re-branded herself as a down-to-earth working mom when she yucked it up with the girls on "The View" in June. She chatted about her background, patriotism and sexism with candor and a sense of humor that ingratiated her to many women viewers. Even the black-and-white dress she wore made headlines.  

    She also began speaking more about her  family during interviews, offering insight into how she and Barack raise their kids and run a household. For many, the headline-making first-bump she shared with her husband in early June when he won the Democratic nomination was evidence of her authenticity. She made Vanity Fair's Best Dressed List and the covers of Ebony, Essence and Ladies Home Journal.

    Sill looming, however, are the unflattering portrayals of the prospective First Lady as a loose cannon and too opinionated that threaten to resurface.

    In February she drew significant criticism when she spoke to an audience in Wisconsin about how proud she was that hope was spreading across the country. She said: "For the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country."

    The sound bite played on a loop for a few days, drawing the ire of conservative pundits who together with Cindy McCain seized on the comments and alleged that Obama lacked patriotism.

    "I don't know about you, if you heard those words earlier -- I am very proud of my country," she said.

    Despite the naysayers Obama was able to move beyond the slip-up.  But can the rest of the country? We'll all find out tonight.