By Susan Heavey
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. first lady Michelle Obama shot down any notion of infighting between her and the president's top aides in a television interview on Wednesday, downplaying her role and influence in the White House.
Michelle Obama defended her role as one of dozens of advisers to President Barack Obama after the publication of "The Obamas," a new book by New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor that paints the popular first lady as a tough political player.
"That's been an image that people have tried to paint of me since, you know, the day Barack announced (he was running for president in 2008), that I'm some angry black woman," Obama told CBS's "This Morning," adding that she hasn't read the book.
She said she rarely steps into the West Wing, which houses the president's office, and never sparred with either her husband's former Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel or former Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.
"I don't have conversations with my husband's staff," she said. "I don't go to meetings."
According to Kantor's book there was tension between the first lady and Gibbs, who worried about public missteps and reportedly cursed at her and spoke in less than flattering terms about her.
Obama said Gibbs was a trusted adviser and remained a good friend.
"I'm sure that we could go day to day and find things people wish they didn't say to each other," she told CBS. "People stumble, people make mistakes, people every day - in families, in churches, in schools all over the country - they say things they don't mean sometimes."
Kantor has drawn some criticism for her book, which cites numerous sources but not any interviews with the Obamas themselves.
(Editing by Eric Beech)