Exclusive: President Barack and Michelle Obama Reflect on Tenure

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"When you're stressed, they are just -- they're funny, they're smart, they're happy," the president said.

"They rock you back into what's important," Michelle added.

"The most important things for me over the last two years, in terms of stress reduction, is the fact that if I'm here in Washington, I'm having dinner at 6:30, just about every night and sitting around that table, listening to them, and trying to answer their questions, that keeps my bearings," Obama said.

The Obamas on Prayer: 'Live Long and Strong'

Before dinner every night, the family says grace together, the Obamas said.

"It's interesting listening to the girls, what they pray for," the President explained. "They'll talk about family and thanking God for blessing us, but they'll always add a little twist: 'I hope we have a great Thanksgiving, I can't wait to see the cousins.' They used to pray for a dog, until we got a dog."

"But in the end we always say, 'we hope we live long and strong," Michelle said.

"Long and strong," the president echoed.

First Family Celebrates Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving, the Obamas hosted a dinner at the White House for relatives and friends. Instead of the potluck-style dinners that were their tradition back in Chicago, the White House chef cooked.

"We don't require people to bring food to the White House. In fact, the chef and the staff would be insulted," the first lady said.

"Well also, the Secret Service would have to taste everything," the president added.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, the Obamas and their guests volunteered at Martha's Table, an organization in Washington that feeds the poor. At a time when many Americans are struggling to even buy a turkey, the president said the best days for the nation are yet to come.

"I think the important thing for all of us to remember though is that, first of all, we have been through tougher times before as a country and we have always come out on top because we make adjustments, we persevere, we recognize those things that have to be fixed and we fix them.

"We have got a lot more work to do, but I am confident that if we make the investmentsā€¦ we need to make sure our kids are getting the best education...if we are investing in our infrastructure...We have got a lot more work to do, but I am confident that if we are investing in research and development that continues to make us an innovation leader for the futureā€¦ that we are gonna do great. I am very, very confident that our best days are still ahead of us."

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