Exclusive: President Barack and Michelle Obama Reflect on Tenure

President Obama and first lady open up to Barbara Walters on tenure, challenges.

ByABC News
November 25, 2010, 12:53 PM

Nov. 26, 2010— -- With Thanksgiving travelers up in arms over the Transportation Security Administration's controversial new pat-down procedures, President Barack Obama said the security screenings are justified to keep the nation safe.

"This is gonna be something that evolves. We are gonna have to work on it," Obama told Barbara Walters, indicating the need for new technologies. "I understand people's frustrations with it, but I also know that if there was an explosion in the air that killed a couple of hundred people...and it turned out that we could have prevented it possibly... that would be something that would be pretty upsetting to most of us -- including me."

After two tough years in office, President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama sat down with Walters for an exclusive interview and reflected on their tenures, and the many challenges they've faced. The interview covered a wide range of topics including the recent events in North Korea, a potential 2012 challenge from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the economy and their family life in the White House.

Coming off the "shellacking" the Democrats took in the 2010 midterm elections, Michelle Obama told Walters she encouraged the president to roll up his sleeves and "get to work."

"I said, 'Let's, let's get to work. There is a lot to do.' ... I think for, for us, it's always the focus on what we need to get done, the work ahead," she said.

But the president's recollection of election night was slightly different. Obama told Walters that by the time the results came in, Michelle, whom he has called his "chief advisor," had already turned in for the night.

"Now, keep in mind that election night, I think she went to sleep," Obama remarked. "She goes to sleep early."

"I go to bed early. I can't stay awake for the returns... I gotta get up, work out. I figured...it was gonna be whatever it was gonna be the next day. So I did, I did go to sleep," she said with a laugh.

Despite Democratic losses, which many considered a referendum on the president, Michelle said she considers her husband's policies a success.

"It's a tough time. My understanding is that, number one, every president in history has lost Congress at the midterms. Maybe that's overstating it, but it's happened for every president in my lifetime. … It's the norm," she told Walters. "There is nothing that I would look at in this year… I wouldn't look at not giving this country health care…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."

"She is a little biased," the President interjected.