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Senator Michelle Obama? Is the first lady eyeing a Senate seat?

A gossip site is speculating that Michelle Obama has her eye on the seat of California Senator Dianne Feinstein, who is expected to retire in 2018.  

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    First lady Michelle Obama greets supporters during rally for re-election of Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., in Denver on Thursday.
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Is Michelle Obama gunning for Sen. Dianne Feinstein's California Senate seat in 2018?

That's the rumor, according to Orb Magazine, a new gossip site out of the Bronx. In an article published last Thursday, the magazine speculated that the first family has its sights set on California post-White House, and the first lady on a possible Senate seat.

"Michelle Obama is being urged to move to California and pursue the Senate seat that will almost certainly be vacated by Dianne Feinstein in 2018 when she will be 85 years old," Orb reports. It later continues, "To lure her to the Senate race, supporters have been reminding Michelle that California is solidly Democratic and there is no apparent frontrunner to succeed Feinstein – certainly no one with the stature, broad appeal and fundraising connections Michelle has."

While few in the mainstream media paid much attention to the gossip when it was reported by the startup online publication quoting an anonymous source, ears perked when CNN's Candy Crowley gave the rumor a national platform by asking Sen. Feinsten about it in an interview on CNN's "State of the Union."

When Crowley asked Feinstein for her reaction to the speculation, the long-time senator from California punted.

"Well, I have no idea what I’m going to be doing in 2018. That’s four years from now, and that’s one of the nice things of a six-year term. I’ve served two years of my term and you know, I’ll make a decision in due time."

How likely is it that the rumor is true?

The Orb article suggested the Obamas are looking to relocate to Los Angeles – about as far removed from Washington as one can get – after the president finishes his term in 2016, which would allow Michelle Obama to fulfill the residency condition to run for Senate.

"Hawaii is too remote; Illinois is a cesspool of political corruption...and New York...is too dense with Clintons and Clinton acolytes," the magazine opines. California, however, is perfect.

To back it up, the Wall Street Journal recently reported that real estate brokers in the Golden State have claimed that Obama-appointed representatives have inspected houses in Palm Springs on the first family's behalf.

Of course, a Senate run would give the first lady – an Ivy League-educated attorney with a strong career that she reportedly set aside to support her husband's ambitions – an opportunity to pursue her own dreams.

“Barack could golf year-round and Michelle could emerge from his shadow after 20 years and retake control of her own life,” an anonymous source told Orb. “Remember, Michelle is a Harvard-educated lawyer whose career was more robust than Barack’s was when they met.”

And let's not forget that few can match Michelle Obama's name recognition, fundraising potential, and flat out popularity – at least in true-blue California. In fact, the first lady is a lot more popular than Barack Obama these days.

Thanks to her much-higher approval ratings and star power (who else can make a viral video dancing with a turnip to DJ Snake and Lil John's "Turn down for what?" and link it all back to a campaign for healthy eating?), it's Michelle Obama who's often hit the campaign trail to help Democratic contenders ahead of the midterms - not her husband, with whom some candidates don't want to be associated.

Still, we're inclined to think the rumor is just that: a rumor.

For starters, the source is as tenuous as they get – Orb is a relatively unknown publication that appears to publish mostly gossip, and, at least in the Michelle Obama article, quote only anonymous sources.

Even Sen. Feinstein – whose seat Michelle Obama is reportedly eyeing – doubts the story.

"I’m flattered, if that should be true," she told Crowley on CNN's "State of the Union." "Somehow I do not believe it is true, but I would be flattered if it were."

And of course, should she choose to run, Michelle the partisan candidate will suddenly become far more divisive than Michelle the 'above-the-fray' First Lady.

Not to quote a certain heartthrob to teen girls everywhere, but – never say never.

After all, the last first lady who ran for a Senate seat won – and went on to become Secretary of State, and may very well make a run for the Oval Office herself. Not bad for a former first lady better known for her headbands than her healthcare initiative back when the American public first met her.

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