TRANSCRIPT: 'GMA' co-anchor Robin Roberts interviews former first lady Michelle Obama

PHOTO: Former first lady Michelle Obama speaks to ABC News Robin Roberts for a prime-time ABC special on her memoir, "Becoming."PlayChuck Kennedy
WATCH From Michelle Obama's humble Chicago upbringing to the White House: Part 1

Former first lady Michelle Obama was interviewed by “Good Morning America” co-anchor Robin Roberts for "Becoming Michelle: A First Lady’s Journey with Robin Roberts," a special edition of “20/20.” The following is a transcript of that ABC News special, which aired on Nov. 11, 2018.

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ACT 1

VIDEO: From Michelle Obamas humble Chicago upbringing to the White House: Part 1Play
From Michelle Obama's humble Chicago upbringing to the White House: Part 1

ROBIN ROBERTS: What is it about Chicago?

MICHELLE OBAMA: I've traveled all over the world. And Chicago still by far is one of the most beautiful cities.

WE’RE TAKING A RIDE AROUND THE OLD NEIGHBORHOOD AND BACK IN TIME WITH FORMER FIRST LADY MICHELLE OBAMA.

MICHELLE OBAMA: We're on Jeffery Boulevard. This was the-- this was where the rich kids lived. And then you'll see. We'll cross the tracks.

ROBIN ROBERTS: Uh oh

MICHELLE OBAMA: And we’ll get in my neighborhood.

PHOTO: Former first lady Michelle Obama speaks to ABC News Robin Roberts for a prime-time ABC special on her memoir, Becoming.Chuck Kennedy for ABC
Former first lady Michelle Obama speaks to ABC News' Robin Roberts for a prime-time ABC special on her memoir, "Becoming."

MICHELLE LAVAUGHN ROBINSON GREW UP ON THE HUMBLE SIDE OF THE RAILROAD TRACKS, IN A DIVERSE WORKING CLASS PART OF CHICAGO. THE WORLD WOULD COME TO KNOW HER AS MICHELLE OBAMA, AMERICA’S FIRST LADY – THE REGAL WOMAN WITH THE COMMON TOUCH.

AS AMERICA’S FIRST BLACK FIRST FAMILY, THE OBAMAS USHERED IN A MODERN ERA TO THE WHITE HOUSE. DIVERSITY FILLED THE INNER CIRCLES, HEALTHY-INITIATIVE VEGETABLE GARDENS GREW ALONGSIDE ROSE GARDENS, AND THE SOUND OF YOUNG CHILDREN WARMED THE FAMILY RESIDENCE ONCE AGAIN.

MICHELLE OBAMA: So we're crossing the tracks. This is still South Shore. This was my walk to school. Across the street I usually meet my friend Terry Johnson right in front of that garage. This is my block.

THREE GENERATIONS OF ROBINSONS LIVED HERE, ON EUCLID AVENUE. A HOME OWNED BY MICHELLE’S GREAT AUNT ROBBIE AND UNCLE TERRY. HERE, AUNT ROBBIE IS HOLDING MICHELLE WHEN SHE WAS AN INFANT.

[PHOTO OF MICHELLE OBAMA’S AUNT]

ROBIN ROBERTS: So this is the house--

MICHELLE OBAMA: This is my house.

ROBIN ROBERTS: Wow—

MICHELLE OBAMA: And that was-- that's where we lived, upstairs. The-- Robbie and Terry lived downstairs. That was my bedroom. So you see the four windows? I walk in there and I think, "My God, how four people--

ROBIN ROBERTS: Well, what--

MICHELLE OBAMA: Lived a full life in that little, bitty space, up there. Yes, yeah. Up until recently this little apartment was sort of our inheritance. So any time anybody hit on hard times, we'd just move back up there. You know?

MICHELLE TOLD ME, SHE WOULDN’T RUN INTO ANYONE SHE KNEW BUT, SHE DID.

[MICHELLE OBAMA GREETING A NEIGHBOR]

MICHELLE OBAMA: Hey, hi, oh my God, it’s good to see you.

ROBIN ROBERTS: Nice to meet you, Mr. Reed.

MICHELLE OBAMA: How’s everything going in the neighborhood?

MR. REED: Going well. How’s Miss Robinson?

MICHELLE OBAMA: She’s good yeah, yeah, I’ll tell her that we saw you.

ROBIN ROBERTS: See this is what you’re talking about, it’s a small town.

WE SAT DOWN TOGETHER IN THE CURRENT OBAMA HOME BASE JUST FIVE MILES NORTH OF WHERE SHE GREW UP. IT’S THE HOUSE THE YOUNG FAMILY CALLED HOME, LEADING UP TO THEIR EVENTUAL MOVE TO WASHINGTON.

MICHELLE OBAMA’S NEW BOOK, “BECOMING” IS A VERY PERSONAL LOOK AT HER LIFE -- BOTH INSIDE AND OUT OF THE WHITE HOUSE. SHE SAYS SHE HOPES THE CANDID BOOK, GENERATES CONVERSATION.

(Michelle Obama reading from “Becoming”) “Here I am… with a lot I want to say.”

PHOTO: Book cover for Michelle Obamas new memoir, Becoming.Viking
Book cover for Michelle Obama's new memoir, "Becoming."

FRASER ROBINSON, A WATER PLANT EMPLOYEE, AND HIS WIFE MARIAN, A STAY AT HOME MOM, EMPHASIZED EDUCATION AND EXCELLENCE FOR THEIR TWO CHILDREN. FOR A YOUNG MICHELLE, NAVIGATING THE BIGGER WORLD OUTSIDE HER HOME, SOMETIMES FELT LIKE SPEAKING A SECOND LANGUAGE.

ROBIN ROBERTS: There was one time you write about that I think you were about ten years old at the time. And you cousin said to you, "Why do you talk like a white girl. How do you square who you are, where you come from, with where you wanna go?

MICHELLE OBAMA: It was one of those kind of moments where it was, like, "Pssh, you're not like us." And it was because of my speech. At this point-- the viewers who are watching this, there're a lot of people nodding because when you grew up in the neighborhood, you know, you could get your butt kicked goin' to school if you looked too uppity or if you were studying too hard. So I had to grow up learning these two languages of how do I fit in with my family and my community and still excel? This wouldn’t be the first time that my identity would be challenged. You know, where people couldn't figure out who I was with how I talked and what they-- who they thought I should be.

HER MOTHER MARIAN ROBINSON HELPED MICHELLE BUILD A SENSE OF SELF. MARIAN IS KNOWN TO MANY FOR HER DEDICATION TO FAMILY -- FAMOUSLY MOVING INTO THE FIRST MODERN WHITE HOUSE “MOTHER-IN-LAW SUITE.”

THERE TO HELP HER DAUGHTER NAVIGATE THE DEMANDS OF RAISING A PRIVATE FAMILY IN A VERY PUBLIC HOUSE.

MICHELLE OBAMA: My parents from early age encouraged us to put our opinions on the table, to ask questions. To question context of situations. They encouraged us to understand the context.

ROBIN ROBERTS: they weren't there to prevent you from falling, but to pick you up when you did.

MICHELLE OBAMA: Yeah. You could speak your mind, but you had to be respectful, you know? And if you got outta hand, you got a look. You'd get a spanking. They weren't free wheelin' parents. They were still black parents. But they believed in teaching us to think for ourselves.

MICHELLE’S FATHER GAVE HIS CHILDREN A MEMORABLE LESSON ON THE DIGNITY OF WORK AND TRUE VALUE OF HARD EARNED MONEY.

MICHELLE OBAMA: My parents were very clear, you know we weren’t rich. I remember there was a time my brother wanted to understand 'cause he couldn't get somethin’ that he wanted. And my father laid out all the bills, brought home his paycheck in cash. And took every bill and put money on top of it to show what it costs and how much he brought in and what was left. They wanted to make it clear. You know, there was money earned and money that went out.

PHOTO: Michelle Robinson (Obama) with the Deuce and a Quarter at Dukes Happy Holiday Resort.Courtesy of the Obama-Robinson Family Archives
Michelle Robinson (Obama) with the "Deuce and a Quarter" at Duke's Happy Holiday Resort.

ALWAYS A STAR STUDENT, MICHELLE THRIVED IN HIGH SCHOOL -- CHICAGO’S FIRST MAGNET HIGH SCHOOL, WHITNEY YOUNG.

MICHELLE OBAMA: I was nervous about going. I wondered if I was good enough and could I make it in this highly competitive magnet school.

ROBIN ROBERTS: You write about foolin' around with your boyfriend. Oh, and smokin'--

MICHELLE OBAMA: Which-- which one?

ROBIN ROBERTS: Oh, well, we'll talk about--

MICHELLE OBAMA: Oh, high school boyfriend—

ROBIN ROBERTS: Yeah, the high school boyfriend. And you even write about smokin' pot. Now, you didn't go into great detail, but you did-- you could've left that out. So why'd you talk about that?

MICHELLE OBAMA That’s what I did. That’s part of the becoming story. Everybody had something that they had to work through, something that they were figuring out. Why would I hide that from the next generation?

IN THE FALL OF 1981, MICHELLE ENTERED PRINCETON UNIVERSITY’S FRESHMAN CLASS. SHE SAYS PRINCETON WAS “SCARY.” FELLOW STUDENTS AND MENTORS GAVE HER THE CONFIDENCE TO SUCCEED. AS SHE EXPLAINED IN THIS INSTAGRAM POST -- SHARING A YOUNG PHOTO OF HERSELF IN FRONT OF PRINCETON’S LIBRARY.

MICHELLE OBAMA: It was the first time I had been in a predominantly white situation. So I had to learn how to adjust in this new world of wealth and privilege and kids that I didn't realize had come from prep schools that had prepared them. And I didn't even know the language of that college. What was a syllabus? Never heard of it.

PHOTO: Michelle Robinson (Obama) at Princeton University where she studied sociology and African-American studies.Courtesy of the Obama-Robinson Family Archives
Michelle Robinson (Obama) at Princeton University where she studied sociology and African-American studies.

ROBIN ROBERTS: You really blazed a path for others. We went back to Princeton. We spoke with grads -- recent grads and people--

MICHELLE OBAMA: You did?

ROBIN ROBERTS: Yeah, and people that are-- and young women who are still in school at Princeton. And they spoke about the example that you set for them, I want you to hear it—

MICHELLE OBAMA: Oh—

ROBIN ROBERTS: This is--

MICHELLE OBAMA: --Robin. (watching video of Princeton students)

ROBIN ROBERTS: Yeah, these-- these are your—

MICHELLE OBAMA: Oh my gosh.

FEMALE STUDENT (recorded): It's just incredible walking the paths of Princeton, knowing that Michelle Obama was one here.

MICHELLE OBAMA: Oh my gosh--

FEMALE STUDENT (recorded): Knowing that Michelle Obama came from, like, a working class family. Like, Michelle Obama's parents didn't, like, come here and she still came, thrived, found her place. And had a productive experience at a school like this, it inspired me. And it's just one of the reasons why I applied to this school.

MICHELLE OBAMA (reacting to video): They're standing where I was. Oh, of course, you did that--

FEMALE STUDENT (recorded): She's inspiring us today. And the current students are Princeton, the people applying to Princeton and just every little girl in America today, I don't think she even knows. Thank you just from the bottom of my heart. I can't thank you enough. And I hope to one day be able to convey that in person. But thank you.

MICHELLE OBAMA (reacting to video): Oh my goodness.

[CLIP OF FEMALE STUDENTS CONTINUES, SHOWS STUDENT WHO ASKS, ‘Is she here?’]

MICHELLE OBAMA (to Robin Roberts): Why'd you do that?

ROBIN ROBERTS: I know, I know. I didn't, we did feel bad at that point because she thought-- she thought it was, like, one of those--

MICHELLE OBAMA: With, like, the cameras--

ROBIN ROBERTS: TV shows--

MICHELLE OBAMA: And it's, like—

ROBIN ROBERTS: And a TV show--

MICHELLE OBAMA: And it's, like, she's gonna come out from the--

ROBIN ROBERTS: How does that make you feel when you see these young women who said that, because of you, they're there?

MICHELLE OBAMA: Yeah, it's-- yeah. So what'd you do that for, Robin? It feels, you know, I'm glad. I'm glad that they--

ROBIN ROBERTS: You proud?

MICHELLE OBAMA: Yeah. I am. I am.

COMING UP

ROBIN ROBERTS: You talked about lust for your man. That's not something you expect to hear or read from a first lady.

ACT 2

VIDEO: Michelle Obama opens up about miscarriage, IVF and marriage counseling: Part 2Play
Michelle Obama opens up about miscarriage, IVF and marriage counseling: Part 2

[NEWS CLIP OF BARACK OBAMA’S INAUGURATION]

THIS WAS THE FIRST TIME AMERICA GOT TO KNOW MICHELLE AND BARACK OBAMA- AS A VERY ROMANTIC, VERY CONNECTED, COUPLE. I REMEMBER SPEAKING WITH THE NEW PRESIDENT, JUST MOMENTS AFTER THAT ICONIC INAUGURAL BALL DANCE.

[NEWS CLIP OF ROBIN ROBERTS WITH BARACK OBAMA]

BUT WHAT LED UP TO THAT GOLDEN MOMENT FOR THIS COUPLE WASN’T ALWAYS A FAIRY TALE. IN HER BOOK, MICHELLE OBAMA CALLS THIS PART OF HER STORY ”BECOMING US,” ABOUT THE MEETING AND MARRIAGE THAT WOULD TRANSFORM THE TRAJECTORY OF HER LIFE AND CHALLENGE HER IN WAYS SHE WOULD NEVER EXPECT.

ROBIN ROBERTS: You ready to talk about Barack?

MICHELLE OBAMA: Who?

BY AGE 25, MICHELLE HAD EXECUTED A METICULOUS GAME PLAN FOR ACHIEVEMENT AND SUCCESS.

MICHELLE OBAMA: I was a box checker. And I was checking off my box. You know, I got into Princeton, great. What am I gonna do next? I don't know. Why don't I go to law school? Got into Harvard, I'm going to Harvard, check. You know, got my-- you know, got my big firm position, check.

THAT BIG FIRM POSITION WAS AT THE CHICAGO LAW FIRM OF SIDLEY AND AUSTIN.

ROBIN ROBERTS: You're at this law firm—

MICHELLE OBAMA: Got it all together.

ROBIN ROBERTS: You got it all together.

MICHELLE OBAMA: I had made a declaration that I was off men. I was focusing on my career. I had my checklist. I was—

ROBIN ROBERTS: You were--

MICHELLE OBAMA: Getting' it down.

ROBIN ROBERTS: Locked, focused--

MICHELLE OBAMA: Was focused.

AND THEN SHE WAS ASKED TO MENTOR AN INCOMING SUMMER ASSOCIATE - A MAN TWO YEARS OLDER, ALREADY RUMORED TO BE AN EXCEPTIONALLY GIFTED LAW STUDENT.

ROBIN ROBERTS: he's still a law student--

MICHELLE OBAMA: Uh-huh.

ROBIN ROBERTS: --at Harvard.

MICHELLE OBAMA: Right. A first year.

ROBIN ROBERTS: First year. You're gonna be his mentor. He comes blowing into town, a little bit famous already. Late for the first meeting.

MICHELLE OBAMA: Late. Late. I was, like, "Is he trifling?” This-- the black man's gonna be late on the first day?" I was--

ROBIN ROBERTS: You-- you weren't overly impressed in the beginning?

MICHELLE OBAMA: I-- I wasn't, you know? I have my suspicions when a bunch of white folks fawn on over a black man 'cause I sorta think, "Okay, he can talk straight so they think he's wonderful." So -- so that was my theory. And then his name was Barack Obama. He was from Hawaii. I thought, "What," you know? So I didn't really know what to expect. And then in walks Barack Obama. And Barack Obama has always walked like Barack Obama. Like, he's got all the time in the world. He's-- he had that stride. I was, like, "Dude, you're cute." But in my mind, I was, like—

ROBIN ROBERTS: Not interested?

MICHELLE OBAMA: Off limits. Not even not interested. I'm not gonna date the-- one of the few black summer associates. Robin, how tacky, you know?

BUT SHE QUICKLY FOUND HERSELF DRAWN TO HIM, AND BY JULY, HER RESOLVE TO AVOID ROMANCE BEGAN TO FALTER.

MICHELLE OBAMA: We had been hanging out, getting closer. Barack had suggested that we date. But I was, like, "No, no, meet my friends. Do this, do that. It wouldn't be right, no." And he was, like, "You're crazy. We should date. I like you, you like me." And he was very -- and I liked that about him. He was very straightforward. He wasn't playin' games. I say that to the ladies out there. Not a game play. Very clear about what he wanted. When we stopped for ice cream and he got the sense that I was starting to open up. And he, you know, he played it real smooth. He just leaned in for a kiss. And that really was it. You know, from that kiss on, we were-- it was-- it was love. And he was my man.

YEARS LATER, THERE’S AN ENTIRE MOVIE – “SOUTHSIDE WITH YOU” – BASED ON THAT FIRST DATE. AND THERE’S A TRIBUTE AT THE CHICAGO ICE CREAM SHOP.

ROBIN ROBERTS: You realize there's a plaque there, right?

MICHELLE OBAMA: I know. The kids are highly embarrassed that there's a plaque about their parents' first kiss.

PHOTO: Michelle and Barack Obama as a young couple.Courtesy of the Obama-Robinson Family Archives
Michelle and Barack Obama as a young couple.

BUT SHE DOESN’T HOLD BACK FROM DESCRIBING THEIR YOUNG PASSION.

ROBIN ROBERTS: There're many things in reading that-- your book that I don't think I would ever imagine hearing from a first lady. Lust. You talked about lust for your man.

MICHELLE OBAMA: Uh-huh.

ROBIN ROBERTS: That's not something you expect to hear or read from a first lady.

MICHELLE OBAMA: But it's there. I don't know what to tell you. It was-- it was there. It still is. I love my husband a lot.

BUT WHILE THEIR MUTUAL AFFECTION HAS ALWAYS BEEN ON DISPLAY, NOW, FOR THE FIRST TIME, MICHELLE IS OPENING UP ABOUT PARTS OF THEIR MARRIAGE SHE HELD DEEPLY PRIVATE FOR YEARS. FIRST, INFERTILITY.

(Michelle Obama reading from her memoir, “Becoming”) “It turns out that even two committed go-getters with a deep love and robust work ethic can’t will themselves into being pregnant.”

SHE DID GET PREGNANT. BUT THEN, WEEKS LATER, SHE MISCARRIED.

MICHELLE OBAMA: I felt lost and alone. And I feel-- I felt like I failed because I didn't know how common miscarriages were because we don't talk about 'em. We sit in our own pain, thinking that somehow we're broken.

SHE REVEALS THAT IT WAS WITH THE HELP OF INFERTILITY TREATMENTS THAT MALIA - AND THEN SASHA - WERE FINALLY CONCEIVED.

MICHELLE OBAMA: The biological clock is real-- because egg production is limited. And I realized that as I was 34 and 35. We had to do IVF. I think it's the worst thing that we do to each other as women, not share the truth about our bodies and how they work and how they don't work.

AND – FOR THE FIRST TIME - SHE SHARES DETAILS ABOUT HOW THE STRESS OF THEIR HECTIC SCHEDULES INFILTRATED THEIR MARRIAGE.

ROBIN ROBERTS: You write about at one point in your marriage that you and Barack went to marriage counseling. Why did you think it was important to share that?

MICHELLE OBAMA: And marriage counseling for us was one of those ways where we learned how to talk out our differences. What I learned about myself was that my happiness was up to me. And I started working out more. I started asking for help, not just from him, but from other people. I stopped feeling guilty. I know too many young couples who struggle and think that somehow there's something wrong with them. And I want them to know that Michelle and Barack Obama, who have a phenomenal marriage and who love each other, we work on our marriage. And we get help with our marriage when we need it.

NEXT – LIFE AS A POLITICIAN’S WIFE, FACING SCRUTINY, AND SCORN.

ROBIN ROBERTS: What do you wish you could tell your pre-White House self?

MICHELLE OBAMA: Whew.

STAY WITH US

ACT 3

VIDEO: Michelle Obama on the bruising campaign to the White House: Part 3Play
Michelle Obama on the bruising campaign to the White House: Part 3

[NEWS CLIP OF BARACK OBAMA]

BY THE SUMMER OF 2004 BARACK OBAMA WAS ALREADY A RISING STAR WHEN HE WAS ASKED TO SPEAK AT THE DNC NATIONAL CONVENTION.

[NEWS CLIP OF BARACK OBAMA]

TRACK 2: A METEORIC RISE THAT WOULD LEAD TO BARACK OBAMA’S OWN CANDIDACY IN 2007.

[NEWS CLIP OF BARACK OBAMA]

ROBIN ROBERTS: As much as you love your husband and gave him your blessing to run for president, you didn't think he would win.

MICHELLE OBAMA: Oh yeah--

ROBIN ROBERTS: Not that he shouldn't win.

MICHELLE OBAMA: Um hm.

ROBIN ROBERTS: And you saw Time Magazine. And I think it was, like, October, 2006. And on the cover it says, "Could Barack Obama be the next president?" And you looked away.

MICHELLE OBAMA: Um hm.

ROBIN ROBERTS: You didn't even wanna see that. Why?

MICHELLE OBAMA: I think I did what a lot of black folks were doin'. We were afraid to hope because it's hard to believe that the country that oppressed you could one day be led by you, you know? I mean, my grandparents, you know, lived through segregation. My grandfather-- his grandfather was a slave, you know? So this-- these memories were real. And they didn't think the country was ready. And so my attitude was a reflection of that skepticism.

PHOTO: Michelle Obama and her husband, Senator and Presidential Candidate Barack Obama, on his campaign bus the morning of the New Hampshire primary driving from Hanover to Nashua, N.H. They had a early morning rally after a late night of campaigning.Callie Shell/Aurora Photos
Michelle Obama and her husband, Senator and Presidential Candidate Barack Obama, on his campaign bus the morning of the New Hampshire primary driving from Hanover to Nashua, N.H. They had a early morning rally after a late night of campaigning.

[CLIP OF 2008 MICHELLE OBAMA INTERVIEW]

ROBIN ROBERTS: Ten years ago we were sitting down in Norfolk, Virginia. This is pre-White House. And I want you to take a look and tell me what you see about this version of yourself.

[CLIP OF 2008 MICHELLE OBAMA INTERVIEW]

MICHELLE OBAMA: Wow.

ROBIN ROBERTS: What do you wish you could tell your pre White House self?

MICHELLE OBAMA: Whew. You know the hard parts were the things that I expected. That it was gonna be hard, you know? So much of this country lives in isolation and we just don't know each other. And so there were people who didn't know what a black woman was and sounded like. And so I knew that I'd have to earn my grace.

[NEWS CLIP OF MICHELLE OBAMA]

THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL WOULD TEST HER RESILIENCE.

MICHELLE OBAMA: People called me Barack's baby mama, you know? Accused me of not loving my country. You know, told me I was angry. You know, it was the first time I really experienced someone taking my voice and ballin' it up and distorting it. And I was, like, "This isn't me. Wait, wait, people. This isn't who I am."

ROBIN ROBERTS: I remember talking to you during the campaign about the criticism. And you said you didn't really pay attention to it. In the book, you admit it. You said, "This stuff hurt."

MICHELLE OBAMA: Yeah, yeah.

ROBIN ROBERTS: "This stuff hurt."

MICHELLE OBAMA: I don't think we do each other a service by pretending like hurtful things don't hurt. And that's what I've come-- I came to after that experience. I need to own that hurt. I need to talk about it. I need to put it out there for myself so that I can heal from it. But at the time, oh gosh, you know? I wasn't gonna allow myself to feel victimized from it because there was no time to hurt in that role.

[NEWS CLIP OF BARACK OBAMA]

FOR MICHELLE THE HURT WOULD CONTINUE STRAIGHT INTO THE WHITE HOUSE - WITH CALLS FOR PRESIDENT OBAMA’S BIRTH CERTIFICATE - QUESTIONING HIS LEGITIMACY. SHE WRITES...

(Michelle Obama reading from “Becoming”) “Its underlying bigotry and xenophobia hardly concealed. But it was also dangerous, deliberately meant to stir up the wingnuts and kooks… What if someone with an unstable mind loaded a gun and drove to Washington? What if that person went looking for our girls?”

[NEWS CLIP OF DONALD TRUMP]

(Michelle Obama reading from “Becoming”) “Donald trump with his loud and reckless innuendos was putting my family’s safety at risk. And for this, I’d never forgive him.”

MICHELLE SAYS SHE HAD LITTLE CHOICE BUT TO PUSH THE FEARS AWAY AND FOCUS ON THE BUSINESS OF BECOMING THE FIRST LADY. LAUNCHING INITIATIVES LIKE LET’S MOVE, JOINING FORCES, AND LET GIRLS LEARN.

[NEWS CLIP OF MICHELLE OBAMA]

PHOTO: First lady Michelle Obama snuggles with President Barack Obama during a video taping in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, March 27, 2015.Amanda Lucidon/The White House
First lady Michelle Obama snuggles with President Barack Obama during a video taping in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, March 27, 2015.

WITH NO OFFICIAL JOB DESCRIPTION EACH FIRST LADY MAKES THE ROLE HER OWN.

ROBIN ROBERTS: Is the current first lady-- how do you think she is doing in defining who she is?

MICHELLE OBAMA: You know, one of the things you learn as a former, it's, like, I don't judge, what a current is doin', you know? So I'd prefer not to, you know, speak on what she's doing versus what I did because I think every first lady approaches this job differently.

IN 2016, SHORTLY AFTER THE ELECTION, MICHELLE MET WITH MELIANA TRUMP AT THE WHITE HOUSE CONTINUING A LONG TRADITION OF HOSTING FUTURE FIRST LADIES.

ROBIN ROBERTS: I know that Laura Bush reached out to you and said, "If you need any help, I'm a phone call away." You wrote about how and have talked about how you extended that same courtesy to Melania Trump. Has she reached out they and asked-

MICHELLE OBAMA: No.

ROBIN ROBERTS: For any help?

MICHELLE OBAMA: No, she hasn't.

COMING UP

ROBIN ROBERTS: What goes through your mind when you read and hear all that's going on right now with this administration?

ACT 4

VIDEO: How Michelle Obama reacted to Donald Trump winning the presidency: Part 4Play
How Michelle Obama reacted to Donald Trump winning the presidency: Part 4

[NEWS CLIP OF MICHELLE OBAMA SAYING ‘WHEN THEY GO LOW, WE GO HIGH’]

WITH THOSE SEVEN SIMPLE WORDS MICHELLE OBAMA TOOK CENTER STAGE AT 2016 DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION.

[NEWS CLIP OF MICHELLE OBAMA]

IN HER BOOK MRS. OBAMA WRITES THIS ABOUT THE SPEECH.

(Michelle Obama reading from “Becoming”) “We were now up against a bully... challenging the dignity of our country with practically his every utterance. ... It was dignity I wanted to make an appeal for.”

AN APPEAL SHE WOULD CONTINUE TO MAKE. JUST WEEKS BEFORE THAT PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION A NOW INFAMOUS TAPE SURFACED OF DONALD TRUMP TALKING ABOUT GRABBING WOMEN BY THEIR PRIVATE PARTS.

[NEWS CLIP OF MICHELLE OBAMA]

FOR MRS. OBAMA THE STAKES COULD NOT HAVE BEEN HIGHER, SHE WRITES...

(Michelle Obama reading from “Becoming”) “I articulated my rage and my fear, along with my faith that with this election, Americans understood the true nature of what they were choosing between.”

ROBIN ROBERTS: What you haven't said before, you said, "I will always wonder about what led so many, women in particular, to reject an exceptionally qualified female candidate and instead choose a misogynist as their president." Some powerful words.

MICHELLE OBAMA: I implored people to focus and to think about what it takes to be commander in chief. It's amazing to me that we still have to tell people about the importance of voting. You know, that almost every two years, we're having this conversation to get people to the polls. And in the end, that's how our democracy works. People have to be educated, they have to be focused on the issues and they have to go to the polls if they want their politics to reflect their values.

(Michelle Obama reading from “Becoming”) “That day I was feeling everything all at once – tired, proud, distraught, eager.”

ON JANUARY 20, 2017, THE NATION WATCHED THE PEACEFUL TRANSITION OF POWER FROM PRESIDENT OBAMA TO PRESIDENT TRUMP. MRS. OBAMA, IN HER OWN WORDS, DESCRIBES COMING TO TERMS WITH THE NEW REALITY BEFORE HER.

(Michelle Obama reading from “Becoming”) “The vibrant diversity of the two previous inaugurations was gone….Someone from Barack’s administration might have said that the optics there were bad -- that what the public saw didn’t reflect the president’s reality or ideals. But in this case, maybe it did. Realizing it, I made my own optic adjustment: I stopped even trying to smile.”

ROBIN ROBERTS: People want to hear more from you about what's currently going on. And there is a fine line that you and your husband, as previous administrations have done, is that you have to step, step back and let the current one do what it's doing. But I think it's safe to say that during your husband’s presidency, it was "no drama Obama. No drama Obama." So what goes through your mind when you read and hear all that's going on right now with this administration?

MICHELLE OBAMA: I said what I continue to say. Being the commander in chief is a hard job. And you need to have discipline and you need to read and you need to be knowledgeable. You need to know history, you need to be careful with your words. But voters make those decisions. And once the voters have spoken, you know, we live with what we live with.

IN HER BOOK SHE WRITES...

(Michelle Obama reading from “Becoming”) “Our presence in the White House had been celebrated by millions of Americans, but it also contributed to a reactionary sense of fear and resentment among others. The hatred was old and deep and as dangerous as ever.”

ROBIN ROBERTS: There're some people that feel that the seed of discontent that led to Donald Trump being elected president, that the seed of that discontent happened during your husband's presidency.

MICHELLE OBAMA: I would like to indulge the question, but it requires a level of speculation about how people are feeling and thinking that I don't have. And I think we're gonna have to figure that out as a nation.

ALTHOUGH NO LONGER FIRST LADY AND SELF-PROCLAIMED MOM-IN-CHIEF, MRS. OBAMA CONTINUES TO SHINE A LIGHT ON ISSUES PLAGUING URBAN COMMUNITIES, LIKE HER BELOVED CHICAGO’S SOUTH SIDE.

ROBIN ROBERTS: How is Chicago, and in particularly your neighborhood-- how is it the same, when you were growing up, and how is it different?

MICHELLE OBAMA: You know when we moved in, it was a coveted neighborhood. But from time I was young until the time I was high school. It became a neighborhood that you didn't wanna live in.

ROBIN ROBERTS: Wow. Just that time--

MICHELLE OBAMA: And that, you know, and that's the story of urban neighborhoods all over the country--

ROBIN ROBERTS: Not just Chicago.

MICHELLE OBAMA: Not just Chicago. Over on this area, this is North Kenwood. This is where the Hadiya Pendleton family lived.

FIFTEEN YEAR OLD HADIYA PENDLETON -- AN HONOR STUDENT FROM THE SOUTH SIDE -- WAS GUNNED DOWN IN A PUBLIC PARK IN CHICAGO A WEEK AFTER PERFORMING WITH HER HIGH SCHOOL BAND AT PRESIDENT OBAMA’S 2013 INAUGURATION. FOR MRS. OBAMA THE TEEN’S DEATH WAS VERY PERSONAL.

[NEWS CLIP OF MICHELLE OBAMA]

SHE WRITES...

(Michelle Obama reading from “Becoming”) “Put simply, I could have known her. I could have been her once, even. And had she taken a different route home from school that day, or even moved six inches left instead of six inches right when the gunfire started, she could have been me.”

MICHELLE OBAMA: You're in the wrong place at the wrong time, even if you're doing the right thing, you could lose your life.

(Michelle Obama reading from “Becoming”) “Kids wake up each day believing in the goodness of things, in the magic of what might be... We owe it to them to stay strong and keep working to create a more fair and humane world.”

COMING UP, GET READY.

ACT 5

VIDEO: Michelle Obama surprises students in a dance class at her former high school: Part 5Play
Michelle Obama surprises students in a dance class at her former high school: Part 5

[MICHELLE OBAMA PLAYING PIANO]

ROBIN ROBERTS: Very impressive.

MICHELLE OBAMA: I have not played the piano in so long.

ROBIN ROBERTS: That’s it, di di di di...

MICHELLE OBAMA: Now that I taught myself. I grew up in a household of music. Music was important and it still is. It really set me on a course.

[NEWS CLIP OF MICHELLE OBAMA]

MRS. OBAMA SAYS SHE USED MUSIC AS A WAY TO OPEN UP THE WHITE HOUSE AND TO BRING MORE DIVERSE VOICES INTO THE SPACE.

[NEWS CLIP OF MICHELLE OBAMA]

MICHELLE OBAMA: It was important to me for young people to know that the White House was theirs too. We didn't want them to just be looking in through the wrought-iron gates, thinking, "I wonder what's goin' on in there."

IN 2012 SHE CREATED SPECIAL STATE DINNERS DESIGNED JUST FOR CHILDREN.

[NEWS CLIP OF MICHELLE OBAMA]

MICHELLE OBAMA: Whether it was a music event, or whether it was the state dinner, during that earlier part of the day we'd have a companion event with young kids from around the country. They could eat the food as well and meet the entertainers.

ROBIN ROBERTS: And did it mean something to bring something different to the White House, different music that had not been played there--

MICHELLE OBAMA: Different--

ROBIN ROBERTS: Before, artists--

MICHELLE OBAMA: Different music, different people. Yes absolutely. I mean it’s why our first cultural event was spoken word.

IT WAS AT THAT EVENT WHERE SHE FIRST MET PLAYWRIGHT AND COMPOSER LIN MANUEL MIRANDA.

MICHELLE OBAMA: He said he was gonna perform a piece on Alexander Hamilton.

[PERFORMANCE CLIP OF LIN MANUEL MIRANDA]

MICHELLE OBAMA: And Barack and I almost laughed in his face. And he went out and performed the first number of the now award winning musical. And afterwards he said, "I think I'm gonna go and turn this into a Broadway show."

[PERFORMANCE CLIP OF LIN MANUEL MIRANDA]

MICHELLE OBAMA: And we were like, "Good luck with that, kid."

AND THE REST, AS THEY SAY, IS HISTORY. BEYOND THE WHITE HOUSE, MRS. OBAMA’S INFLUENCE CONTINUES TO TOUCH YOUNGER GENERATIONS.

PERHAPS NOWHERE IS SHE A BIGGER ROLE MODEL THAN AT HER ALMA MATER WHITNEY YOUNG HIGH SCHOOL ON CHICAGO’S WEST SIDE – HOME OF THE DOLPHINS.

IT WAS HERE THAT A TEENAGE MICHELLE ROBINSON CONTINUED TO FIND HER VOICE, UNAFRAID TO BE YOUNG, GIFTED AND BLACK.

MICHELLE OBAMA: You were encouraged to work hard here and to excel. And it wasn't unusual. And you know. So I felt free here.

WE BROUGHT MRS. OBAMA BACK TO THE HIGH SCHOOL TO DROP IN ON A DANCE CLASS WITH THE HELP OF THE SCHOOL’S PRINCIPAL DR. JOYCE KENNER.

[TV CLIP]

THE CLASS IS REHEARSING FOR AN UPCOMING PERFORMANCE AND THINKS THE CAMERA CREW IS THERE TO FILM IT.

dR. JOYCE KENNER: Can I have everybody's attention? Can you turn that off? You guys, we have a very special guest for you guys to meet and be introduced to.

[MICHELLE OBAMA WALKS INTO CLASSROOM]

MICHELLE OBAMA (pointing to her picture on the classroom wall): How are you guys doing? Who’s that? Oh my goodness. Look at you guys. So what, what, what is this? What are you all doing? (Class: “Guys and Dolls” dance) Yeah?

MICHELLE OBAMA (to class): You know, I wasn't, like, in a dance troupe like you guys. I was, like, doing my kick with a bad extension. You know my knee wasn't straight, my toe wasn’t really pointed. But there was effort there in that face. (Student: Absolutely.) I was never as good as any of you. But just being able to have, you know, music and dance and arts, that fueled me.

ROBIN ROBERTS (to class): I know you see her right now. And you would not know that she walked around in these halls saying, "Am I good enough?"

MICHELLE OBAMA: Mmhmm.

MICHELLE OBAMA (to class): I talked about-- I write about a story here where the college counselor-- I wanted to apply to Princeton. She told me I wasn't Princeton material. Can you imagine that?

DR. JOYCE KENNER: She doesn't work here anymore.

MICHELLE OBAMA (to class): But that was just one of many examples, the doubters. Instead of walking away going, "Yeah, you're right, maybe she's right," I would always think, "I'll show you." And I'm gonna work hard and I'm gonna make sure that people know that I am substantive and smart and kind and patriotic and hard working.

MICHELLE OBAMA (to class): Alright, I’m going to get out of your hair because you guys have big things. You gotta practice.

STUDENT: Can we dance for you?

MICHELLE OBAMA: Yes. I would love that. Oh yes.

TEACHER (to class): We're performing for Michelle Obama.

[MICHELLE OBAMA WATCHES STUDENT DANCERS]

MICHELLE OBAMA (to class): You can do that? Is that what you all are doing in this room? I’m so proud of you. I'm gonna cry. You guys are gonna make me cry. Do not doubt anything. Anything. If you can get out here, look you got cameras and Secret Service and Robin Roberts, (Teacher: The first lady) the first lady, I mean you guys just did that like, whatever.

STUDENT: Could we get you to sign the poster?

MICHELLE OBAMA: Yes.

AND THE VISIT WOULD NOT BE COMPLETE WITHOUT SIGNING THAT POSTER.

STUDENT: We love you.

MICHELLE OBAMA: I would love to hug each and every one of you. I'm proud of you guys.

TEN YEARS AGO THEY MOVED INTO THE WHITE HOUSE AS LITTLE GIRLS WITH STUFFED ANIMALS.

AND TODAY -- STAY WITH US.

ACT 6

VIDEO: Michelle Obama reflects on what she wants her legacy to be: Part 6Play
Michelle Obama reflects on what she wants her legacy to be: Part 6

MICHELLE OBAMA: So now we're headed south, the area in between South Shore and Hyde Park, where the Museum of Science and Industry is, is where the Obama Presidential Center is gonna be.

ROBIN ROBERTS: How important was it to put it there?

MICHELLE OBAMA: It was important for both me and Barack. Because, first of all, we both lived together in South Shore. We lived in Hyde Park. These communities are ours. Our kids went to school here. I grew up here. So symbolically it was important.

A LANDMARK THAT SHE HOPES WILL GIVE A BOOST TO THE COMMUNITY THAT GAVE HER AND HER FAMILY SO MUCH.

MICHELLE OBAMA: The Presidential Center, the library, can play a big role in bringing resources and tourism and jobs and opportunity to the South Side.

[NEWS CLIP OF BARACK OBAMA]

AND ANOTHER OBAMA LEGACY – HER DAUGHTERS SASHA AND MALIA.

MICHELLE OBAMA: I say this to my kids now, this is one of the greatest lessons that my mother taught me is that children-- you aren't raisin' babies. They're only gonna be cute and little for a little while. But then they grow up and they have to be adults in the world. And everything we do was a parent with our children, we're preparing them for adulthood.

THOSE TWO CHILDREN WHO CAME INTO THE WHITE HOUSE AS LITTLE GIRLS LEFT AS ACCOMPLISHED YOUNG WOMEN: 17-YEAR-OLD SASHA WILL GRADUATE FROM SIDWELL FRIENDS HIGH SCHOOL THIS SPRING AND AFTER TAKING A GAP YEAR, 20 YEAR-OLD MALIA IS NOW A SOPHOMORE AT HARVARD.

[MICHELLE OBAMA CLIP]

IN AN RARE MOVE FOR A FIRST LADY, OR REALLY ANY OTHER BOOK AUTHOR, MRS OBAMA WILL BE TOURING THE COUNTRY, NOT IN BOOKSTORES, BUT TO SOLD OUT ARENAS. FIRST STOP: CHICAGO’S 23,000-SEAT UNITED CENTER -- MODERATED BY OPRAH WINFREY.

ROBIN ROBERTS: You excited about the book?

MICHELLE OBAMA: I am. I'm excited. I'm a little nervous.

ROBIN ROBERTS: Why?

MICHELLE OBAMA: Well, because it's my work being put out there, it's just like anything. It's, you know, I'm still that kid, "What grade am I getting? Did I do okay? Do people like it?" So I'm excited and anxious to, you know, see what people get from it. I'm hoping that it generates a conversation.

IN HER OWN WORDS, MICHELLE OBAMA WRITING TO INSPIRE THE NEXT GENERATION.

(Michelle Obama reading from “Becoming”) “There’s a power in allowing yourself to be known and heard in owning your unique story, in using your authentic voice. And there’s a grace in being willing to know and hear others. This, for me, is how we become.”

ROBIN ROBERTS: What do you want your legacy to be?

MICHELLE OBAMA: Young people are the future. And if my story, my journey, somehow gives them hope, if I played a role in that for some young people comin' down the line, then I'll feel good about it.

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