Back in June, the New York Times (among others) chronicled what it deemed to be Michelle Obama’s “image makeover,” a Softening Tour orchestrated by the Obama campaign which took Mrs. Obama on The View in a designer black and white sundress to talk pantyhose and breakfast cereal.

It’s late August and Michelle Obama is “now a softer presence,” according to today’s Times (print headline, anyway). Mission Michelle, however, is not yet entirely Accomplished, though, because, to the Times’s eyes, she is “at the center of a multimedia charm offensive that may be the most closely managed spousal rollout in presidential campaign history.” (Well, certainly the most covered/picked over/examined).

Also: “spousal rollout?” What a creepily cynical (even for politics and political coverage) phrase, so easily tossed off by the Times’ Jodi Kantor. The DNC presents: Michelle Obama 3.0! Now more “maternal.” Michelle Obama 3.0 comes complete with “economic crisis look” (“$79 Gap sundresses,” per the Times), biographical video and proof of pride in America. Some assembly required.

I thought everyone knew you don’t introduce new products in August…

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.