Barack and Michelle Obama: The Full Interview

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The Family Business

Barack Obama: In the last several election cycles, there has been a much stronger tendency for women to vote around bread and butter issues. It has to do with the fact that they're the ones balancing the budgets and trying to figure out how to make enough money -- keep food on the table. One of the things that Michelle and I always talk about is that I have no idea how to buy clothes for my girls. I don't know what they cost. And that's probably not untypical.

So that's something that Michelle has to think about and budget. What that means, then, is that in this election, the issues of the economy are ones that women are going to particularly feel and be concerned about. But I also think the fact that Senator Clinton ran such an outstanding campaign, and inspired so many women to think about that glass ceiling -- not just in politics but in all walks of life -- makes the women's vote particularly important this year.

Michelle Obama: When you can see your action moving something forward, it reminds you that, yes, my voice -- the ability to garner attention and affect policy because of the power and the unity of these voices -- makes a difference. Women have been at the forefront of recognizing that power in a real sense. That will make them a force, not just in this election, but forever. And that's a good thing.

LHJ: You must think about your daughters in relation to this. But when you think about your girls, do you think you might ever recommend to them that they also run for president? And if so, which one do you think even now would have the better temperament for it?

Barack Obama: The answer to the second question's easy. If anybody went into politics, it would be Sasha, because she's such a ham. We don't take them to too many campaign events, but on the occasions where we have, Malia's kind of shy and waving just a little bit. And Sasha's just --

Michelle Obama: Right out there --

Barack Obama: She's shaking it.

Michelle Obama: Giving people high-fives.

Barack Obama: So temperamentally, I think she'd be more suited. You know, look: I want to make sure that they can do anything they want. I want them to be able to do exactly what somebody's boys can do...

Michelle Obama: We want to raise them to think like that every single day.

Barack Obama: Right. That there's nothing they can't do. And whether I actively push them into politics, that's a whole other question. There are obviously ups and downs. I certainly want them to learn a sense of service. But there are an awful lot of ways to serve that don't involve elected office.

LHJ: But for women right now, there's been a lot of discussion about the fact that it would be harder for a woman with young children to run for president, to be in the White House, because the woman herself -- as well as the electorate -- would worry about who is raising the kids. Do you feel, Mrs. Obama, that this is a problem?

Continued on page 3:  Michelle's Role


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