Obama calls for tougher Internet regulation

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Obama calls for tougher Internet regulation
Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, passes by US President Barack Obama at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit, Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014 in Beijing. (AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Presidential Press Service)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, passes by US President Barack Obama, left, as Chinese President Xi Jinping smiles, at right, at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit, Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014 in Beijing. (AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Presidential Press Service)
Leaders pose for a group photo at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit at the International Convention Center in Yanqi Lake, Beijing, on Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014. Among those pictured are, left to right: Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah; Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O'Neil; Indonesia's President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo; Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe; U.S. President Barack Obama; Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott; Chinese President Xi Jinping; Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak; Russian President Vladimir Putin; New Zealand Prime Minister John Key. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and U.S. President Barack Obama talk on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit, Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014 in Beijing. (AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Presidential Press Service)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and U.S. President Barack Obama, center, talk on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit, Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014 in Beijing. (AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Presidential Press Service)
Leaders pose for a group photo at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit at the International Convention Center in Yanqi Lake, Beijing, on Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014. Among those pictured are: Peru's President Ollanta Humala; Chairman of the Taiwan-based Cross-Strait Common Market Foundation Vincent Siew; South Korean President Park Geun-hye; Thai Prime Minister Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha; Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah; Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O'Neil; Indonesia's President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo; Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe; U.S. President Barack Obama; Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott; Chinese President Xi Jinpeng; Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak; Russian President Vladimir Putin; New Zealand Prime Minister John Key; Philippine President Benigno Aquino III; Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong; Chilean President Michelle Bachelet; Hong Kong Chief Executie Leung Chun-ying; Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto; Vietnam's President Truong Tan Sang. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
U.S. President Barack Obama, right, and Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, arrive together as other state leaders waited for them to take a group photo for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit at the International Convention Center in Yanqi Lake, Beijing, China, Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
U.S. President Barack Obama, left, gestures towards Chinese President Xi Jinping, center, and Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, after taking a group photo for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit at the International Convention Center in Yanqi Lake, Beijing, China, Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, Chinese President Xi Jinping, center, and U.S. President Barack Obama are seen arriving at the the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit plenary session at the International Convention Center, Yanqi, Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014 in Beijing. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, Pool)
U.S. President Barack Obama, left, Russian President Vladimir Putin, second left, and Chinese President Xi Jinping, right, are seen arriving at the the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit plenary session at the International Convention Center, Yanqi, Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014 in Beijing. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, Pool)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, looks back at U.S. President Barack Obama, left, as they arrive with Chinese President Xi Jinping, right, at the the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit plenary session at the International Convention Center, Yanqi, Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014 in Beijing. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, Pool)
From left to right, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping, U.S. President Barack Obama and Indonesian President Joko Widodo, popularly known as "Jokowi", arrive at the the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit plenary session at the International Convention Center, Yanqi, Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014 in Beijing, China. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, Pool)
US President Barack Obama, (L), Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, (2L), Russia's President Vladimir Putin (2R) and Lee's wife Ho Ching take their positions for the APEC family photo at the Beijing National Aquatics Center in Beijing on November 10, 2014. Top leaders and ministers of the 21-member APEC grouping are meeting in Beijing from November 7 to 11. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, walks past U.S. President Barack Obama, right, during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit family photo, Monday, Nov. 10, 2014 in Beijing. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
U.S. President Barack Obama, second left and Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, arrive together as other state leaders waited for them to take a group photo for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit at the International Convention Center in Yanqi Lake, Beijing, China, Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
BEIJING, CHINA - NOVEMBER 10: Chinese President Xi Jinping's wife Peng Liyuan (R) looks at Chinese President Xi Jinping (C) and U.S. President Barack Obama (L) before a fireworks show after the Welcome Banquet for 2014 APEC leaders at the National Aquatics Center, known as the Water Cube, on November 10, 2014 in Beijing, China. The 22nd APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting will hold on November 11, 2014 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama (L) is greeted by Chinese President Xi Jinping (C) and his wife Peng Liyuan as he arrives for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit banquet at the National Aquatics Center in the Chinese capital Beijing on November 10, 2014. Top leaders and ministers of the 21-member APEC grouping are meeting in Beijing from November 7 to 11. AFP PHOTO/Greg BAKER (Photo credit should read GREG BAKER/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama (L) stands with Chinese President Xi Jinping as they pose for a photo as he arrives for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit banquet at the National Aquatics Center in the Chinese capital Beijing on November 10, 2014. Top leaders and ministers of the 21-member APEC grouping are meeting in Beijing from November 7 to 11. AFP PHOTO/Greg BAKER (Photo credit should read GREG BAKER/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama (L) walks with South Korea's President Park Geun-hye (R) after posing for the APEC family photo at the Beijing National Aquatics Center in Beijing on November 10, 2014. Top leaders and ministers of the 21-member APEC grouping are meeting in Beijing from November 7 to 11. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
BEIJING, CHINA - NOVEMBER 10: Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) puts on a shawl for Chinese President Xi Jinping's wife Peng Liyuan (2nd R) while Chinese President Xi Jinping (2nd L) and U.S. President Barack Obama (L) looks them before a fireworks show after the Welcome Banquet for 2014 APEC leaders at the National Aquatics Center, known as the Water Cube, on November 10, 2014 in Beijing, China. The 22nd APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting will hold on November 11, 2014 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images)
China's President Xi Jinping (C) arrives with US President Barack Obama for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit banquet at the National Aquatics Center in the Chinese capital on November 10, 20142014. Top leaders and ministers of the 21-member APEC are here for the summit from November 7 to 11. AFP PHOTO / Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak (2L), US President Barack Obama (2R) and Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong pose for the APEC family photo at the Beijing National Aquatics Center in Beijing on November 10, 2014. Top leaders and ministers of the 21-member APEC grouping are meeting in Beijing from November 7 to 11. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama is welcomed by Chinese President Xi Jinping as he arrives for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit banquet at the National Aquatics Center in the Chinese capital on November 10, 2014. Top leaders and ministers of the 21-member APEC grouping are meeting in Beijing from November 7 to 11. AFP PHOTO/Greg BAKER (Photo credit should read GREG BAKER/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama is welcomed by Chinese President Xi Jinping as he arrives for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit banquet at the National Aquatics Center in the Chinese capital on November 10, 2014. Top leaders and ministers of the 21-member APEC grouping are meeting in Beijing from November 7 to 11. AFP PHOTO/Greg BAKER (Photo credit should read GREG BAKER/AFP/Getty Images)
BEIJING, CHINA - NOVEMBER 10: US President Barack Obama walks onto the stage with Andrew Liveris, CEO and president of Dow Chemical at the APEC CEO Summit, as part of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit at the China National Convention Centre (CNCC) on November 10, 2014 in Beijing, China. APEC economic leaders' meetings and APEC summit is being held at Beijing's outskirt Yanqi Lake. (Photo by Wang Zhao-Pool/Getty Imgaes)
BEIJING, CHINA - NOVEMBER 10: US President Barack Obama speaks at the APEC CEO Summit, as part of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit at the China National Convention Centre (CNCC) on November 10, 2014 in Beijing, China. APEC economic leaders' meetings and APEC summit is being held at Beijing's outskirt Yanqi Lake. (Photo by Wang Zhao-Pool/Getty Imgaes)
U.S. President Barack Obama, right, speaks during a bilateral meeting with Indonesia's President Joko Widodo, popularly known as "Jokowi", Monday, Nov. 10, 2014 in Beijing. Obama is in China to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit. Seated at left is U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
U.S. President Barack Obama, seated center right with members of his delegation, speaks during a bilateral meeting with Indonesia's President Joko Widodo, popularly known as "Jokowi", seated center left, Monday, Nov. 10, 2014 in Beijing. Obama is in China to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
U.S. President Barack Obama, right, speaks during a bilateral meeting with Indonesia's President Joko Widodo, popularly known as "Jokowi", seated across the table at left, Monday, Nov. 10, 2014 in Beijing. Obama is in China to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Indonesia's President Joko Widodo, popularly known as "Jokowi", speaks during his meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama, Monday, Nov. 10, 2014 in Beijing on the sidelines of the APEC Summit. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
U.S. President Barack Obama, right, speaks during a bilateral meeting with Indonesia's President Joko Widodo, popularly known as "Jokowi", left, Monday, Nov. 10, 2014 in Beijing. Obama is in China to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi (2nd L) and Indonesia's President Joko Widodo (3rd L) takes part in a bilateral meeting with US President Barack Obama at a hotel in Beijing on November 10, 2014. Top leaders and ministers of the 21-member APEC grouping are meeting in Beijing from November 7 to 11. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama speaks during a bilateral meeting with Indonesia's President Joko Widodo at a hotel in Beijing on November 10, 2014. Top leaders and ministers of the 21-member APEC grouping are meeting in Beijing from November 7 to 11. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama (2nd R) and US National Security Advisor Susan Rice (3rd R) meet with Indonesia's President Joko Widodo (2nd L) and Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi (L) a bilateral meeting at a hotel in Beijing on November 10, 2014. Top leaders and ministers of the 21-member APEC grouping are meeting in Beijing from November 7 to 11. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama speaks during a bilateral meeting with Indonesia's President Joko Widodo at a hotel in Beijing on November 10, 2014. Top leaders and ministers of the 21-member APEC grouping are meeting in Beijing from November 7 to 11. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama makes his way to board Air Force One before departing from Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on November 9, 2014. Obama is heading for a week-long trip to China, Myanmar, and Australia. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 9: United States President Barack Obama waves to the press as he prepares to depart the White House in Washington, D.C. en route to Beijing, China to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit, on November 9, 2014 in Washinton, DC. The APEC 2014 Summit will bring together leaders and senior administration from 21 countries, with U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin expected to attend. (Photo by Ron Sachs - Pool /Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama makes his way to board Air Force One before departing from Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on November 9, 2014. Obama is heading for a week-long trip to China, Myanmar, and Australia. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 9: Marine One, with United States President Barack Obama on board departs the White House in Washington, D.C. en route to Beijing, China to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit, on November 9, 2014 in Washinton, DC. The APEC 2014 Summit will bring together leaders and senior administration from 21 countries, with U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin expected to attend. (Photo by Ron Sachs - Pool /Getty Images)
Air Force One with U.S. President Barack Obama on board arrives for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Beijing, Monday, Nov. 10, 2014. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
US President Barack Obama waves as he arrives at Beijing's international airport on November 10, 2014. Obama arrived to take part in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit. Top leaders and ministers of the 21-member APEC grouping are meeting in Beijing from November 7 to 11. AFP PHOTO/Greg BAKER (Photo credit should read GREG BAKER/AFP/Getty Images)
BEIJING, CHINA - NOVEMBER 10: U.S. President Barack Obama arrives at the Beijing Capital International Airport on November 10, 2014 in Beijing, China. The APEC 2014 Summit will bring together leaders and senior administration from 21 countries November 7-11. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama walks down the stairs after disembarking from his plane at Beijing's international airport on November 10, 2014 as he arrives to take part in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit. Top leaders and ministers of the 21-member APEC grouping are meeting in Beijing from November 7 to 11. AFP PHOTO/Greg BAKER (Photo credit should read GREG BAKER/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama walks down the stairs after disembarking from his plane at Beijing's international airport on November 10, 2014 as he arrives to take part in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit. Top leaders and ministers of the 21-member APEC grouping are meeting in Beijing from November 7 to 11. AFP PHOTO/Greg BAKER (Photo credit should read GREG BAKER/AFP/Getty Images)
BEIJING, CHINA - NOVEMBER 10: U.S. President Barack Obama arrives at the Beijing Capital International Airport on November 10, 2014 in Beijing, China. The APEC 2014 Summit will bring together leaders and senior administration from 21 countries November 7-11. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama (L) speaks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (R)after Obama arrived at Beijing's international airport on November 10, 2014. Obama arrived to take part in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit. Top leaders and ministers of the 21-member APEC grouping are meeting in Beijing from November 7 to 11. AFP PHOTO/Greg BAKER (Photo credit should read GREG BAKER/AFP/Getty Images)
BEIJING, CHINA - NOVEMBER 10: U.S. President Barack Obama arrives at the Beijing Capital International Airport on November 10, 2014 in Beijing, China. The APEC 2014 Summit will bring together leaders and senior administration from 21 countries November 7-11. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)
U.S. President Barack Obama walks past members of the military honor guard during his arrival on Air Force One at Beijing Capital International Airport, Monday, Nov. 10, 2014 in Beijing. Obama is in China to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
U.S. President Barack Obama walks past a Chinese honor guard as he arrives for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit at the airport in Beijing, Monday, Nov. 10, 2014. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
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WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama on Monday embraced a radical change in how the government treats Internet service, coming down on the side of consumer activists who fear slower download speeds and higher costs but angering Republicans and the nation's cable giants who say the plan would kill jobs.

Obama called on the Federal Communications Commission to more heavily regulate Internet providers and treat broadband much as it would any other public utility. He said the FCC should explicitly prohibit Internet providers like Verizon and AT&T from charging data hogs like Netflix extra to move their content more quickly. The announcement sent cable stocks tumbling.

The FCC, an independent regulatory body led by political appointees, is nearing a decision on whether broadband providers should be allowed to cut deals with the content providers but is stumbling over the legal complexities.

"We are stunned the president would abandon the longstanding, bipartisan policy of lightly regulating the Internet and calling for extreme" regulation, said Michael Powell, president and CEO of the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, the primary lobbying arm of the cable industry, which supplies much of the nation's Internet access.

This "tectonic shift in national policy, should it be adopted, would create devastating results," added Powell, who chaired the FCC during the Bush administration until 2005.

Consumer groups and content providers hailed Obama's move, with Netflix posting to its Facebook page that "consumers should pick winners and losers on the Internet, not broadband gatekeepers."

"Net neutrality" is the idea that Internet service providers shouldn't block, slow or manipulate data moving across its networks. As long as content isn't against the law, such as child pornography or pirated music, a file or video posted on one site will load generally at the same speed as a similarly sized file or video on another site.

In 2010, the FCC embraced the concept in a rule. But last January, a federal appeals court struck down the regulation because the court said the FCC didn't technically have the legal authority to tell broadband providers how to manage their networks.

The uncertainty has prompted the public to file some 3.7 million comments with the FCC - more than double the number filed after Janet Jackson's infamous wardrobe malfunction at the 2004 Super Bowl.

On Monday, Obama waded into the fray and gave a major boost to Internet activists by saying the FCC should explicitly ban any "paid prioritization" on the Internet. Obama also suggested that the FCC reclassify consumer broadband as a public utility under the 1934 Communications Act so there's no legal ambiguity. That would mean the Internet would be regulated more heavily in the way phone service is.

"It is common sense that the same philosophy should guide any service that is based on the transmission of information - whether a phone call, or a packet of data," Obama said.

This approach is exactly what industry lobbyists have spent months fighting against. While Internet providers say they support the concept of an open Internet, they want flexibility to think up new ways to package and sell Internet services. And, given the billions of dollars spent to improve network infrastructure, some officials say it's only fair to make data hogs like Netflix bear some of the costs of handling heavy traffic.

AT&T on Monday threatened legal action if the FCC adopted Obama's plan, while Comcast Corp. said reclassifying broadband regulation would be "a radical reversal that would harm investment and innovation, as today's immediate stock market reaction demonstrates." Similar statements were released by Time Warner Cable Inc., Cox Communications and several industry groups including CTIA-The Wireless Association, USTelecom, the Telecommunications Industry Association and Broadband for America.

Many Republicans including House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky sided with industry in denouncing the plan as government overreach.

"`Net Neutrality' is Obamacare for the Internet," Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, a tea party favorite, declared on Twitter. "The Internet should not operate at the speed of government."

The Internet Association, which represents many content providers like Netflix, Twitter, eBay and Google, applauded Obama's proposal.

On Monday, as the Standard & Poor's 500 index edged up slightly, stock prices fell for big cable companies, including Time Warner Cable, Comcast, Cablevision and Charter Communications.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, a former industry lobbyist and venture capitalist, has said he is open to using a "hybrid" approach that would draw from both Title II of the 1934 law and the 1996 Telecommunications Act. On Monday, Wheeler said he welcomed the president's comments, but suggested that his proposal was easier said than done.

"The more deeply we examined the issues around the various legal options, the more it has become plain that there is more work to do," Wheeler said. "The reclassification and hybrid approaches before us raise substantive legal questions. We found we would need more time to examine these to ensure that whatever approach is taken, it can withstand any legal challenges it may face."

The FCC isn't under a deadline to make a decision.

The president's statement all but guarantees that the major cable companies will spend the next few months trying to encourage Congress to step in to protect their interests. Still, Internet activists are hoping that Obama's position will go a long way, even as his popularity among his party has waned.

"When the leader of the free world says the Internet should remain free, that's a game changer," said Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass.

Related Gallery: Michelle Obama in China
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Michelle Obama in China
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Obama calls for tougher Internet regulation
U.S. first lady Michelle Obama walks with her daughters Malia, left, and Sasha, right, as they visit the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China in Beijing Sunday, March 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
U.S. first lady Michelle Obama walks with her daughters Malia, right, and Sasha, left, as they climb the steps at the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China in Beijing Sunday, March 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
U.S. first lady Michelle Obama walks with her daughters Malia, right, and Sasha, left, as they visit the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China in Beijing Sunday, March 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
U.S. first lady Michelle Obama shares a light moment with her daughters Malia, front, and Sasha as they visit the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China in Beijing Sunday, March 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
U.S. first lady Michelle Obama walks with her daughters Malia, right, and Sasha, left, as they visit the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China in Beijing Sunday, March 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
U.S. first lady Michelle Obama, left, walks with her daughters Malia, front, and Sasha as they visit the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China in Beijing Sunday, March 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
U.S. first lady Michelle Obama, center right, drinks water as U.S. Ambassador to China Max Baucus, center left, speaks during a round table discussion on education at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, China Sunday, March 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
U.S. first lady Michelle Obama, center, and U.S. Ambassador to China Max Baucus, center left, attend a round table discussion on education at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, China Sunday, March 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
U.S. first lady Michelle Obama speaks during a round table discussion on education at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, China Sunday, March 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
U.S. first lady Michelle Obama, center, speaks next to U.S. Ambassador to China Max Baucus, left, as they attend a round table discussion on education at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, China Sunday, March 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
U.S. first lady Michelle Obama, center, speaks during a round table discussion on education at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, China Sunday, March 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
U.S. first lady Michelle Obama, from left, and her daughters Malia and Sasha applaud as they watch a Peking opera performance with a group of American schoolchildren who are visiting China during their spring break, at the Summer Palace in Beijing, Saturday, March 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan)
U.S. first lady Michelle Obama smiles after she gave a speech at Stanford Center in the Peking University in Beijing, China, Saturday, March 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan)
A crowd of Chinese tourists take photos outside a security line as a team of paramilitary policemen guard an entrance to the Summer Palace, closed for public during the visit of U.S. first lady Michelle Obama in Beijing, China, Saturday, March 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan)
U.S. first lady Michelle Obama waves to a group of American schoolchildren who are visiting China during their spring break before they watch a Peking opera performance at the Summer Palace in Beijing, Saturday, March 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan)
U.S. first lady Michelle Obama, second from left, applauds as she and her daughters Malia, third from left, Sasha, fourth from left, and her mother Marian Robinson, second from right, watch a Peking opera performance with a group of American schoolchildren who are visiting China during their spring break, at the Summer Palace in Beijing, Saturday, March 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan)
U.S. first lady Michelle Obama, center, applauds as Jamar Everett, bottom right, from Queens College speaks during a a virtual discussion with Chinese and American youth at Stanford Center in the Peking University in Beijing, China, Saturday, March 22, 2014. First lady Michelle Obama told students in China, which has some of the world's tightest restrictions on the Internet, that freedom of speech and unfettered access to information make countries stronger and should be universal rights. (AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan)
U.S. first lady Michelle Obama, right, gestures as she enters a room to participate in a virtual discussion with Chinese and American youth at Stanford Center in the Peking University in Beijing, China, Saturday, March 22, 2014. Max Baucus, third from left, the new U.S. Ambassador to China, is seated with students. First lady Michelle Obama told students in China, which has some of the world's tightest restrictions on the Internet, that freedom of speech and unfettered access to information make countries stronger and should be universal rights.(AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan)
U.S. first lady Michelle Obama, right, listens to Liu Boyu, left, a Chinese student studying at Peking University, during a virtual discussion with Chinese and American youth at Stanford Center in the Peking University in Beijing, China, Saturday, March 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan)
U.S. first lady Michelle Obama poses for photos when she receives a gift, a book entitled The History of Chinese Civilization, from Zhu Shanlu, Communist Party chief of Peking University, following her speech at Stanford Center in the Peking University in Beijing, China, Saturday, March 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan)
U.S. first lady Michelle Obama reacts after she gave a speech at Stanford Center in the Peking University in Beijing, China, Saturday, March 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan)
U.S. first lady Michelle Obama delivers a speech at Stanford Center in Peking University in Beijing, China, Saturday, March 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan)
U.S. first lady Michelle Obama, left, delivers a speech at Stanford Center in Peking University in Beijing, China, Saturday, March 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan)
U.S. first lady Michelle Obama, third from right, greets a group of American schoolchildren who are visiting China during their spring break, before they watch a Peking opera performance at the Summer Palace in Beijing, Saturday, March 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan)
U.S. first lady Michelle Obama, seated second from back in the row on the right, participates in a a virtual discussion with Chinese and American youth at Stanford Center in the Peking University in Beijing, China, Saturday, March 22, 2014. First lady Michelle Obama told students in China, which has some of the world's tightest restrictions on the Internet, that freedom of speech and unfettered access to information make countries stronger and should be universal rights. (AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan)
U.S. first lady Michelle Obama, third from right, her daughters Malia, right, and Sasha, second from right, is greeted by Chinese President Xi Jinping, second from left, and his wife Peng Liyuan, left, at the Diaoyutai State guest house in Beijing, China Friday, March 21, 2014. U.S. first lady Michelle Obama met with excited students who were building robots and tried her hand at Chinese calligraphy Friday during a tour of a Beijing high school. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, Pool)
Chinese President Xi Jinping, center, and his wife Peng Liyuan, right, show the way to U.S. first lady Michelle Obama as they proceed to a meeting room at the Diaoyutai state guesthouse in Beijing, China Friday, March 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, Pool)
U.S. first lady Michelle Obama, center left, her daughters Malia, right, Sasha, left, Michelle Obama's mother Marian Robinson, second left, pose for photos with Chinese President Xi Jinping, center right, and his wife Peng Liyuan, second right, at the Diaoyutai state guesthouse in Beijing, China Friday, March 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, Pool)
U.S. first lady Michelle Obama, left, chats with Chinese President Xi Jinping, second from right, and his wife Peng Liyuan during a meeting at the Diaoyutai state guesthouse in Beijing, China Friday, March 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, Pool)
U.S. first lady Michelle Obama, second from left, her mother Marian Robinson, left, share a light moment with Chinese President Xi Jinping, second from right, and his wife Peng Liyuan after a photo session at the Diaoyutai state guesthouse in Beijing, China Friday, March 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, Pool)
U.S. first lady Michelle Obama, third from right, shakes hand with Chinese President Xi Jinping, second from left, as Michelle Obama's daughters Malia, right, Sasha, second right, Peng Liyuan, wife of Xi Jinping, left, look on before they proceed to a meeting at the Diaoyutai State guest house in Beijing, China Friday, March 21, 2014. U.S. first lady Michelle Obama met with excited students who were building robots and tried her hand at Chinese calligraphy Friday during a tour of a Beijing high school. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, Pool)
Peng Liyuan, wife of Chinese President Xi Jinping, left, shows U.S. first lady Michelle Obama, center, how to hold a writing brush as they visit a Chinese traditional calligraphy class at the Beijing Normal School, a school that prepares students to go abroad in Beijing, China Friday, March 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, Pool)
U.S. first lady Michelle Obama plays table tennis at the Beijing Normal School, a school that prepares students to attend colleges overseas in Beijing, China Friday, March 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, Pool)
U.S. first lady Michelle Obama, center, her daughters Sasha, left, Malia, second from left, Michelle Obama's mother Marian Robinson, right, and Peng Liyuan, wife of Chinese President Xi Jinping pose for photos at Forbidden City in Beijing, China Friday, March 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, Pool)
U.S. first lady Michelle Obama, center, her daughters Sasha, left, and Malia, second from left, meet with Peng Liyuan, wife of Chinese President Xi Jinping as they pay visit to the Beijing Normal School, a school that prepares students to attend colleges overseas in Beijing, China Friday, March 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, Pool)
U.S. first lady Michelle Obama plays table tennis at the Beijing Normal School, a school that prepares students to attend university abroad in Beijing, China Friday, March 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, Pool)
U.S. first lady Michelle Obama, left, and Peng Liyuan, wife of Chinese President Xi Jinping pose for photos at Forbidden City in Beijing, China Friday, March 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, Pool)
U.S. first lady Michelle Obama, center, and Peng Liyuan, wife of Chinese President Xi Jinping, left, walk together at Forbidden City in Beijing, China Friday, March 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, Pool)
U.S. first lady Michelle Obama, foreground right, and Peng Liyuan, wife of Chinese President Xi Jinping, foreground right, share a light moment as they visit a Chinese traditional calligraphy class at the Beijing Normal School, a school that prepares students to go abroad in Beijing, China Friday, March 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, Pool)
U.S. first lady Michelle Obama, center, her daughters Malia, left, and Sasha, second from left, is accompanied by Peng Liyuan, wife of Chinese President Xi Jinping, third from right, watch students demonstrating remote control mechanical robots at the Beijing Normal School, a school that prepares students to attend universities abroad in Beijing, China Friday, March 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, Pool)
U.S. first lady Michelle Obama, left, is greeted by Peng Liyuan, wife of Chinese President Xi Jinping upon arrival at the Beijing Normal School, a school that prepares students to attend university abroad in Beijing, China Friday, March 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, Pool)
Peng Liyuan, wife of Chinese President Xi Jinping, left, shows U.S. first lady Michelle Obama, center, how to hold a writing brush as they visit a Chinese traditional calligraphy class at the Beijing Normal School, a school that prepares students to go abroad in Beijing, China Friday, March 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, Pool)
U.S. first lady Michelle Obama, fourth from left, her daughters Sasha, left, Malia, second from left, U.S. Ambassador to China Max Baucus, third from left, meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping, second from right, and his wife Peng Liyuan at the Diaoyutai state guesthouse in Beijing, China Friday, March 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, Pool)
U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama, front left, her daughters Sasha, front right, Malia, right in the back, and Michelle Obama's mother Marian Robinson, left in the back, arrive at Capital International Airport in Beijing, China, Thursday, March 20, 2014. Michelle Obama has arrived in Beijing with her mother and daughters to kick off a seven-day, three-city tour where she will focus on education and cultural exchange. (AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan, Pool)
U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama, front left, her daughters Sasha, front right, Malia, right in the back, and Michelle Obama's mother Marian Robinson, left in the back, arrive at Capital International Airport in Beijing, China, Thursday, March 20, 2014. Michelle Obama has arrived in Beijing with her mother and daughters to kick off a seven-day, three-city tour where she will focus on education and cultural exchange. (AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan, Pool)
U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama, left, gestures as she and her daughter Sasha, right, leave their plane at Capital International Airport in Beijing Thursday, March 20, 2014. Michelle Obama has arrived in Beijing with her mother and daughters to kick off a seven-day, three-city tour where she will focus on education and cultural exchange. (AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan, Pool)
U.S. first lady Michelle Obama, front left, laughs with her mother and daughters as they leave their plane at Capital International Airport in Beijing, China, Thursday, March 20, 2014. (AP Photo/Parker Sun, Pool)
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