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Not long ago, President Obama insisted that he would not shop at Walmart. According to The Washington Post, that is about to change. Michelle Obama recently met with executives from Walmart to announce a new program that will promote healthier food choices. This is just one move in part of her campaign to fight against childhood obesity.

Wal-Mart pledged to reduce sodium and sugar and eliminate trans fats in the packaged foods it sells to roughly 140 million customers each week – or, possibly now 140,000,002.

The announcement amounted to a very public display of affection for a company that had long been a thorn in the side of Democrats. Five years ago, Wal-Mart was in the midst of a bruising battle with labor groups that accused it of paying low wages and providing stingy health benefits. Then-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton returned a campaign contribution from the company, citing “serious differences.” Michelle Obama resigned from the board of a Wal-Mart supplier during her husband’s campaign.

For Michelle Obama, Wal-Mart represents a key ally, albeit a controversial one. It is the biggest grocer in the country and works with a vast network of more than 60,000 suppliers. One move by Wal-Mart can ripple throughout the industry, and the company has grown increasingly bold in tackling complex social and political issues.

Photo by Rex Roof

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Originally posted by Angela Shupe on January 21, 2011 in Ideas.

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