Transcript for President Obama and First Lady Address Criticism
Good evening, you never lose the thrill of visiting the white house. And it's even better, if the president and first lady open up and tell you how they really feel about things. And I've been very fortunate. I've had a front row seat for presidential concessions about welfare public and private lives. 1600 pennsylvania avenue is an address I've come to know a bit. For over 40 years, I have interviewed every president there. During good times and bad you said you wanted osama bin laden dead or alive. Which would youprefer? I don't care. Did you really say you were sorry you didn't inhale? I wasn't trying to exonerate myself. When I said I didn't inhale. Their first ladies confided in me, and loved the story lady bird told me about president johnson. He proposed to you on the second date? As I told him, this doesn't make sense. I have met presidential dogs of every shape, every size, one even defied his commander in chief! Well, yeah, there may be a few others. Thank you for meeting with me this morning. What a privilege it has been to view history at such close quarters. Good to see you. How are you? I have interviewed president obama four times. But rarely had I talked to him at a more vulnerable point in his presidency. The rollout of obamacare had been a disaster. We fumbled the rollout on this health care law. And with his approval ratings at an all time low, he and his wife michelle sat down for a candid interview. Are you worried that you won't be able to get things done because of this lack of support? Well, barbara -- if you remember, I've -- gone up and down pretty consistently throughout -- but the good thing about when you're down is that usually you got nowhere to go but up. Exactly. okay. I know that by now, you both have fairly thick skins. but when you hear your husband being booed, the president, at a recent basketball game, how do you feel? It's part of -- it's -- it's -- it's part of being president of the united states -- so, it doesn't get to you? It's -- it's part of the job. You know, I -- I -- I don't really know what more to say, barbara, except it's, you know, it's a hard job. You know, I -- I am fortunate to be living with a man who has a long view of -- of this job. Who understands that in the case of healthcare, that this is all about the folks who don't have insurance, the folks that he sees every single day. I mean, this is a man man you love, who people, some people -- I do. I love you. She does. I don't have to do anymore. No, you don't. This is -- [ laughs this is j -- I think they've done -- -- that's all -- you know, i mean, it's -- it's as plain and simple as that, barbara. And I got his back. She does have my back. From -- from five years to today to forever. Yeah. I've got his back. The truth is a lot of people have our back. A lot of people give us love. The truth we get a lot more cheers. But this is an example of -- I've been booed. -- Serve -- servin' a narrative. I'm pretty popular. my numbers look pretty good, and I've been booed. Your numbers are better than his numbers. Okay. Absolutely. I think -- I think -- I think that's always been the case. And the lessons for young people in this is that you're gonna get booed. You know, you're gonna have people who don't like what you do. But you better have your own vision. That's really what I want young people to take from -- from us, our story, whatever good or bad they see in it, I want them to know that life requires work and sacrifice and sometimes it's painful. But you gotta work at it and you gotta be able to take the lumps -- as well as the cheers. It's hard to sit opposite you, mr. President, and say this, but a lot of the criticism of you -- a lot of the criticism, is personal. People just don't think you're trustworthy. Well, I don't think that's true, barbara. You know, the truth of the matter is, is that I got reelected in part because people did think I was trustworthy and they knew I was workin' on their behalf. I -- I -- I think the bottom line is, barbara that -- I don't know any president who hasn't gone through certain periods during their presidency, maybe george washington might be the exception. I remember, I interviewed him. yeah, well, he probably would've told you -- if -- if that were true, that -- there are gonna be moments where -- things aren't goin' as smoothly as you want. Very rarely are the good things that happen get the same attention as the things that aren't working as well. You have said that you would rather be a good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president. Which are you? Well, I think the best would be a good two-term president. so, that's what I'm gonna be shootin' for. Every president in their second term -- is, you know, mindful that you've only got a limited amount of time left. And you wanna make sure that you are squeezin' every last ounce of energy that you have to try to deliver on the commitments you made to the american people. He is one year into his second term, but there are already questions about who his successor might be. Mr. President, people say it's time for a female president. Do you agree? Well, I think that we have some amazing -- female public servants all across the country. And there is no doubt that sometime very soon, we're gonna have a female president. And I'm confident that she will do a great job. Do you think that the first lady might have made a better president than you? Of course. That -- that's an easy question. But -- she -- she's smart enough to know that -- you know, she might not want -- to -- to go through the process. I absolutely don't agree. It takes -- you know, he -- has a level of patience and -- and focus -- and tenacity and calm, you know, that -- you know, you -- that just doesn't -- you know, c -- come by -- anyone. That you know -- you don't have that patience? I definitely don't. the president and his wife, michelle just celebrated their twentieth anniversary. Through their years together in the white house, she has always been his moral compass in the political storm. She grounds me. She knows my strengths and she knows my weaknesses. No matter what lies ahead, he calls her "his rock," his reality check. So, in this interview, you are pretty lovey-dovey. But are there certain things that you argue about? Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. We're married. we've been married for -- I mean, we're married. do you -- do you really want us to -- -- go through the list of things that irritate us about each other? Yeah. They -- no. I mean, that's -- that's the nature of marriage. You have to respect each other. You have to like each other. You have to be honest with each other. But it's not always going to be smooth sailing. And there's some work involved. And there should be work. And -- there are gonna be tensions. Do you -- you know, when everything's quiet lately, do you -- do you nag him and say, "honey, why don't you this, that?" No, no. I -- I tried not to do that. We both try to make sure that home is a sanctuary -- particular because when we're home, our girls are home. And they dominate the conversation when they're -- they're there. And they're not talkin' about issues of the day. They're talkin' about issues of their day. which has nothing to do with what's goin' on in the rest of the world. So, you know everyone has to have their safe havens, a place of peace and calm and that's home for us. So, I try to stay out of his ear. He's got enough people in his
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