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Forbes Names Michelle Obama World's Most Powerful Woman

First Lady Michelle Obama speaks during The White House Dance Series: A Tribute to Judith Jamison ceremony in the East Room at the White House in Washington, DC, on September 7, 2010. Michelle Obama invited world renowned dance companies to perform at the Administration�s first event celebrating dance. The White House Dance Series: A Tribute to Judith Jamison will honor Jamison for her outstanding career as an American dancer, choreographer, and Artistic Director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater for the past 20 years. (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images
First lady Michelle Obama was named the most powerful woman in the world by Forbes Magazine
JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images

Michelle Obama is the most powerful woman in the world, according to Forbes magazine.

The magazine, which published its 2010 "New Forbes Power Women" story on Wednesday, named the first lady to the list's number one spot, calling her "a true change-maker" who has "given a new generation of girls and women around the world a role model."

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also made the list's top 10, along with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Lady Gaga, Ellen Degeneres and CEO of Kraft Foods Irene Rosenfeld.

Forbes contrasted Mrs. Obama's first lady leadership style to that of Hillary Clinton, citing her decision to "[stay] away from hard policy" as a source of her power.

"A forceful advocate of school nutrition standards and military families' affairs, she's more involved in policy than Laura Bush was," writes Forbes' Meghan Casserly. "But unlike Hillary Clinton, who championed a secretive (and ultimately unsuccessful) health care reform, Obama has stayed away from hard policy."

The first lady has become increasingly active on the campaign trail in recent weeks, rallying Democrats to get "fired up" about the issues, and warning them about the political implications of a Republican takeover of Congress in November.

"We're just beginning to see the results of our work," Mrs. Obama said during a Tuesday conference call to young supporters, href="http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1010/43247.html" >according to Politico.

"Don't stay home. Don't let frustration keep you from voting," she said, adding that change "comes about not just by hoping for it but by steady work."

Mrs. Obama has largely maintained high popularity throughout her husband's presidency, and currently enjoys a 66 percent approval rating, according to the Washington Post. (Only 44 percent of Americans say they approve of the overall job Mr. Obama is doing as president, according to a new CBS Poll.)

Starting October 13, Mrs. Obama will embark on a seven-state fundraising tour leading up to November's midterm elections.


Lucy Madison
Lucy Madison is a political reporter for CBSNews.com. You can read more of her posts here. Follow Hotsheet on Facebook and Twitter.