Transcript: Barbara Walters Interviews the Obamas

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FIRST LADY MICHELLE OBAMA: It's the norm. But unemployment is high, folks are hurting. There is nothing that I would look at in this year. I wouldn't look at not giving this country healthcare, I wouldn't I wouldn't want to take back any of the investments that we have made in education. So I think from a policy perspective, he has done an outstanding job.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: She is a little biased.

FIRST LADY MICHELLE OBAMA: You know, what…

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: That's OK.

BARBARA WALTERS: You are watching him…

FIRST LADY MICHELLE OBAMA: I am, I am here watching him.

BARBARA WALTERS: Yeah. How do you feel when he is attacked?

FIRST LADY MICHELLE OBAMA: It's, it's not personal, you focus on the work. The country has the responsibility—the, the right and the responsibility to, uh, critique their president. That's part of the job. So you know, you, you take in what, what you need to and you keep the stuff that doesn't apply out and you keep working every day.

BARBARA WALTERS: Mr. President, there are some folks who say that you squandered your political capital with the healthcare plan when you should have been focusing on jobs.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: This notion that somehow you can only do one thing at once is simply not true. I mean, the fact is is that we stabilized the financial system…we turned an economy that was contracting to one that was growing. We have added a million jobs over the last year to the economy. And I am absolutely confident that when we fully implemented healthcare, and we started to see those costs go down and we have seen people who don't have health insurance get health insurance, and we have seen families who have health insurance more secure and they are not being jerked around by arbitrary rules from their insurance companies, that that's gonna be a lasting legacy that I am extraordinarily proud of. And there is no contradiction between that and improving our economy.

BARBARA WALTERS: Do your girls watch the news?

FIRST LADY MICHELLE OBAMA: They really don't. Our oldest daughter is in, hmmm, middle school and they talk about current events. And there are issues of the day that come across the conversation. But I have to say that the school is very good about handling it. And quite frankly, I think she said, "You know, that's on him."

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Yeah.

BARBARA WALTERS: Really?

FIRST LADY MICHELLE OBAMA: You know, she said that at dinner one, one night, because there are some people who worry that a comment here or there might be problematic. People are very considerate. But she was…

BARBARA WALTERS: Yeah, but what are you gonna do? Are they gonna be hurt? What are you gonna do?

FIRST LADY MICHELLE OBAMA: She, she said, "You know, Dad, uh uh, no disrespect, but…that's what you do."

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Yeah.

FIRST LADY MICHELLE OBAMA: And she said, "That doesn't have anything to do with me." I mean, so there is... And she is... She separates out. But you know, they, they don't listen to the news. They are not reading the, the front pages of the paper. They...

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: They are not, they are not watching cable TV.

FIRST LADY MICHELLE OBAMA: Yeah, and they, they keep up with the main issues.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Right. Well then, we talk about it around dinner.

FIRST LADY MICHELLE OBAMA: Yeah.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: So, so they'll say, "You know, Daddy, now, you know, why, uh, are we fighting in Afghanistan?"

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