POLITICS

Michelle Obama 'tripping out' over Harrison Ford

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Yeas and Nays,Politics,Alicia M. Cohn

Michelle Obama pals around with boldface celebrities all the time and lives with the leader of the free world. But Harrison Ford had her "tripping" on Tuesday when he visited the White House for a discussion with students on his new movie, "42."

The first lady urged students from D.C., Maryland and Los Angeles high schools to "loosen up," then admitted to her own butterflies over the iconic actor.

"So you think you trip because I'm here? I'm tripping out because he's here," she said.

She also welcomed director Brian Helgeland and star Chadwick Boseman, who plays baseball's first black major league player, Jackie Robinson, observing that "he's as cute as he was in the movie."

President Obama and the first lady watched "42" over the weekend -- just the two of them, she said, but the girls "are definitely going to watch this movie" and the White House scheduled another screening with cast and crew on Tuesday night -- and said they felt "visibly, physically moved."

"We think that everybody in this country needs to watch this movie," she said. "I mean, I'm no movie critic, but you all are pretty good."

Obama did not stay for the discussion, but students posed the majority of their questions to Rachel Robinson, widow of Jackie Robinson, rather than the Hollywood stars. The 90-year-old Robinson, a consultant on the film, admitted much of her excitement over her husband's first job as a MLB player -- hired by Wesley Rickey, who Ford plays, for the Dodgers in 1947 -- was because "it meant that we could get married and I had been waiting a long time."

The Robinsons were engaged for five years, pending her graduation and him getting a job. "The J-O-B was very important," she explained.

Others on the panel discussed racism in the film and their personal lives. Ford said he was raised by "very liberal" parents who "embraced equal rights," while Boseman acknowledged he's "experienced racism before." The first lady noted that she felt "mad just watching this movie," but emphasized for the students that the Robinsons "met hatred with decency."

Although Robinson thinks the movie (which releases April 12) is "wonderful," she does not think her husband, who died in 1972, would be "that excited" about the film. "He had other things to be excited about," she said with a smile.

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