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Witherspoon hails stylish Michelle

Actress Reese Witherspoon said her Legally Blonde character Elle Woods was ousted as the most stylish woman to come to the US capital by first lady Michelle Obama.

Speaking at a ceremony where Mrs Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton presented the annual International Women of Courage awards, Witherspoon jokingly complained that Woods, the bubbly blonde from Los Angeles who discovers her inner strength at Harvard Law School and then takes on Washington politics, no longer held that title.

"As an actress, I have always sought out roles that portrayed women as strong and powerful, such as Elle Woods, who was in the 'Legally Blonde' movies," she said to laughter from the audience in an ornate State Department reception room.

Woods, she said, "happened to be the biggest fashionista who ever came to Washington until Michelle Obama. Thanks a lot."

Mrs Clinton then introduced Mrs Obama as "stylish", and the first lady returned the compliment to the entire crowd, saying: "You all look fabulous."

© Press Association