Barack and Michelle Obama: The Full Interview
What Makes a Good Father
Barack Obama: You know, I don't feel pressure. I welcome the fact that we can hopefully show some of the joys, as well as the challenges, of being a strong family. As somebody who didn't grow up with a father in the home, I like having men come up to me and saying, "You know, I'm really glad you're a good father." I like that maybe some little boy somewhere who doesn't have a dad in his house sees Michelle and the girls and me out somewhere, and has that image in his head that he's going to carry with him somewhere down the road. It's not a burden. I've got a pretty lovable family. I love them to death. And they know it. And so it's not that hard to hopefully project that to the world.
Michelle Obama: What I think a lot of people have said, particularly African-Americans, is that it's just good to see themselves reflected. Because the truth is, Barack and I aren't unique. You know? Even though there's a state of disrepair in African-American communities, the life that I've lived -- and it hasn't been one full of resources and privilege -- has been full of the stability. A lot of people say, "Michelle and Barack remind me of me. They remind me of my parents, my grandparents." That's the reminder that there is more that unites us than divides us. Our family looks like the families in Iowa and Maine and Utah. It's important for us to know that as a country. In the end, we may disagree about ideas, but we all love our country. We all care about our families. And we're all trying to make this a better place.
LHJ: Speaking, Senator, of family. What advice has your grandmother given you in this race so far?
Barack Obama: My grandmother was not wild about me going into politics. She liked the idea of me being a judge. She thought that was a more sensible pursuit, and not as nasty. So she hasn't given me much advice in this process, other than by example. She is a very steady person. You know, Midwestern sort of stoic, stiff upper lip kind of person. So she never gets too high, and never gets too low. And I think a lot of my temperament came from her. I'll tell you, the only time that I've seen her really touched -- the only time that I've seen her really express it -- was when I locked down the nomination. And I mentioned her in a speech. My sister -- who was there with her -- said she said, "Oh, my." And that's big. "Oh, my."
LHJ: And if your mom were alive today, what advice do you think she'd be giving you?
Barack Obama: Well, now, my mother was the opposite. She would have been weeping through this whole thing. She was the softie. But I think the advice she'd give me is to stay true to my heart. I think she'd caution me about getting so wrapped up in the ambitions and the winning and the -- you know -- the power, that I lost a sense of why I'd gotten into this in the first place.