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tv   First Ladies Influence Image - Michelle Obama  CSPAN  July 10, 2020 8:01pm-9:35pm EDT

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you come into this house and there is so much to do with so much coming at you that there is no time to think or reflect. hi everyone, we are here digging up soil because we are about to plant a garden. >> i won't be satisfied nor will my husband until every single veteran in military spouse who wants a job has one. at the end of the day my most important title is still mom and mom in chief. . in >> 2008 barack obama was elected as our 44th president and he and first lady michelle obama went into the history books as the first african american first couple now one year into a second obama turned the first lady continues we're focused on child will be city support for military families and access to education. good evening, and welcome well tonight is the final installment in our yearlong
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series first ladies influence an image, and we finish appropriately with the current first lady, michelle obama. for the next 90 minutes we will learn more about her biography and how she as approach the job in her six years in the office so far. let me introduce you to our two guests who will be here with us about that time and they are both journalists who have covered the first lady that biographer of michelle obama her 2008 book was calle "michelle." and krissa thompson is a "washingto post" journalist who cover the first lady as her beat thanks for coming both of yo thanks for coming both of yo tonigh
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>> well we're going to star our program with a clip an this is from 2008; michell obama in a campaign speec talking about her ow personal story.
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white house out on th campaign trail.
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i think that some of th rough edges have definitel been polished off.
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machine politics, a city tha had not been politically jus or fair to its africa american residents.
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that would have to be made. > but you know, but the i'm told you know once sh signed on she was all in.
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calls along the way. we hope they'll be les about politics tonight an more about biography as the have been throughout th series. you can find us on twitter >> and here's how you ca join in.
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said a neighbors of said that they remember the white family started moving away when families like the robinson's removing in and they would have been aware of that. they would've been aware that opportunities were opening up for better neighborhoods, better schools, but at the same time there was a white flag going on that they would have in some way been aware it was happening. >> father frazier robinson, born in 1930, five he died in 1981, and mother marion robinson who we all know because she lives at the white house and we don't see her too often, but she certainly part of the first family. we have a clip about michelle obama talking about her father if you watched the democratic convention in 2012, you may remember the speech. let's listen. in >> my father was a pump operator at the city water plant and he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis when my brother and i were young. and even as a kid, i knew there were plenty of days when he was
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in pain and i knew there were plenty of mornings when it was a struggle for him to simply get out of bed. but every morning i watched my father wake up with a smile. grab his walker, prop himself up against the bathroom sink and slowly shave and button is uniform. and when he returned home after a long day's work my brother and i would stand at the top of the stairs of our little apartment patiently waiting to greet him, watching as he reached down to lift one leg and then the other to slowly climb his way into our arms. but despite these challenges, my dad hardly ever missed a day of work. he and my mom were determined to give me and my brother the kind of education they could only dream of. and when my brother and i finally made it to college
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nearly all of our tuition came from student loans and grants but my dad still had to pay tiny portion of that tuition himself. and every semester he was determined to pay that bill right on time, even taking out loans when he fell short. he was so proud to be sending his kids to college and he made sure we never missed a registration deadline because his check was late. you see for my dad that's what it meant to be a man. >> so let's follow up with here, let's start with her father and his influence on her life. if you look at the obamas is a, couple the interesting comparison is that barack obama really didn't know his father at all. and it seems from what we see there that for michelle obama, her father was a very important influence in her life. >> her father was a central figure, and really both for parents. her brother describes their childhood is being kind of
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of a shangri-la of chicag where their parents spent lots of time with them, they weren't leaving the kids with babysitters often when they went out for entertainment, they did it together, they built the kid self-esteem they. made it seem like they were wonderful people to be around in that kind of confidence sort of infused in their lives they. played more games, took family trips. there was a much broader robinson clan in town and so they knew other relatives and went to visit and just describe a really warm family centered childhood and you know their dad who was at the heart of that. >> now she describes him as the pump operator but he was also part of their precincts democratic precinct arrangement in the city of chicago, highly political city. so what was his job and how did that influence the families understanding of politics and what he can do? >> he was a precinct captain. and so you, know he would go
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around and in some ways he was a community organizer like rock a bomb, out you don't get people out, get people to vote. and the neighbors said that he was a joking man and he had a very good sense of humor, that he was an extrovert. and so it may be that he genuinely enjoyed being a precinct captain, it may also be that it was necessary to be a precinct captain in order to get the operators job, because that was a way back with the city machine that you would get a city job would be through your political help. and the other thought i had about both of her parents was was having a good city job meant for them that michel obama's mom could stay home, with the children in a way that many women in their community were not able to do. african american women have a much longer tradition of having to go out to work. and so i think that when she had children, she asked herself, should i be home with my
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daughters the way that my mother was home with me? but i think it probably made her father's job seems all the more valuable to have. can >> i just add to that? i think that's an important point about her mom. she was a stay at home mom but she also had a couple of years of teachers college. and so she was able to kind of home school her children for home schooling was popular in the way that we think about it. both of them skipped early grades in elementary school. and so you see things happening in this family really early that are different. >> so both children went to princeton and michel went on to harvard law school. where did that emphasis on education come from? >> her parents. they were just really clear that this was the road to get ahead. and her brother in his book writes about, his mom teaching them to read at home and doing math tables and that kind of thing. so when they got to school even as early as first and second
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grades, they were already steps ahead of everyone else and that just kind of continues along with their own hard work of course, through high school. but they're excelling really early on. and we're michel about got into a magnet school that was in a completely different part of chicago at a pretty early, age she had to take several modes of transportation to get to her high school and leave really early in the morning in the chicago winter. >> our long bus to school in each direction, she's talked about to get to the school. now during the 2008, here newspaper washington post wrote a big story about the genealogy of michel obama's family, tracing it back to the sleeve in georgetown south carolina. question for both of you, because you both written about this, the arc of the robinson family life is the arc of black history in america in ways that barack obama's life is not. so can you comment about that
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and what we see in the robinson family and part of the great migration in the forties and fifties etc and how that we should understand their experience? >> you want to go first? >> you go, lies what you may know little bit more about the family from south carolina on to chicago and just that arc. we do know that for african americans the fact that her story is rooted in relatives that were enslaved has been very important and connective to just her relationship with the community in general. i mean, when you look back since 2008 there were some questions early on about, is barack obama black enough? and you never heard that sort of thing about michel a bomb of course, and i think part of that is rooted in the more traditional african american experience. and so in that way she kind of serves as a validator for him
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in many ways. she definitely served as a validator in chicago. politics >> that was important. >> so what do you want to add about the robinson family? history >> just as you say. her family's history is quintessential it's in that some of her family stayed in georgetown and she has relatives who are still there. there was a train depot very close to town at least one of her male and sisters, i think it would've been, her grandfather, her great-grandfather travel to chicago because that's where the trains went and was able to settle in the south side where there were the packing plants in the stock yards and all of that industry. labor there was still a lot of racism, there's two different wage scales for white black black men and white men but it was better than the south. in the robinson family was able to establish a very broad and
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rooted family in chicago so that when she and barack obama were first going out, that was his, that was a real epiphany for him. i mean an experience to be in such a rooted family where your uncles were coming around and people were visiting with each other, it was just a different family life than he had. experienced >> before we leave her childhood years, adrian wilbur on twitter asks, mrs. obama isn't to having children exercise size more wonder she's played any sports when she was younger. >> she did ballet in high school. >> she danced. her brother writes a little bit about this in his book, describing his sisters being very competitive. she wanted to win board games and foot races in that kind of thing. and if my recollection is right, part of the reason she can continue, let me pause. she said that she didn't do any sports in high school and beyond because like liza said, she was taking the bus back and
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forth and it would've kept or at school to be too late to be able to do some of those after school extracurricular programs. >> because craig went to a different high school. a more pro preschool where he was able to play. basketball and i thought she said at one point she resisted putting basketball because she was tall and people thought that should be likely to play basketball. >> that sounds racist. >> and not being able to be your brother at. it >> first lady is 5:11 do you know once you reach that height? >> i have a photo of my book that was in the yearbook over her in violating berlin she looked pretty tall. >> let me take a couple of calls and then learn about her days at princeton and then law school and meeting the future president. kathy is in aurora, colorado. hi. kathy >> good evening, thank you so much for your program. i've been watching it from martha washington till now. >> will perfect, thanks. >> my comment is that i'm kind of a real romantic for sure. i see some of the presidents and their wives, they seem to to really show a lot of love and all. this in for instance path and richard nixon tint, they didn't
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seem, i think he loved or but he just didn't show it. and i can see it with michelle and president obama but they really do love one another, it's not phony. i think they really do care for one another and they enjoy each other's company. and that was just my comments, and i think that this is so important for the people of the united states or any country to say hey, these two people do love one another. and i don't care what, if you're republican or democrat i think it's so important that they do show that they do care and they don't put on a show. thank you so much. >> thank, you. kathy also, since we've been moving through history with the series, have societies sanders changed who were more welcoming of seeing the emotional, personal emotional side of the people in the white house than we might have been? >> i think so, in part just because of reality television, if nothing else, right? we are so intimately involved
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with people that we don't know well and in some ways people feel like they know the obamas and their relationship because it's on public display in something of the same way. i mean you know we catch a win when they're on date, night we know that last weekend they had an early valentine's day dinner in that kind of thing. and the fact that this is out in public and people see them, warmly touching each other and hugging. and even his campaign at one point sent out a hot photo of them together hugging one another both embracing one another and that just went viral. and then there were pieces in newspapers thinking about what it means to see a kind of modern marriage in the white house and considering those ideas. >> and the other later to that, a modern marriage in the white house and an african american couple you're right and one of your articles ticles
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of valeri jared who s been with the first lady si ce her days at the mayor aley's office said they're co nizant of this role model imp rtance that they hav would your comments about then how much of this is a conscious effort? >> i think it's very conscious and i think it's not just for young people who have been a focus of both the president and first lady but also for families. there is so much talk now about how you do family well in this country and they understand the people are hungry for that information how. do you raise well adjusted teenagers and still have a woman doing that in the white house and kind of giving parenting tips to the other day she gives parenting tips to justin bieber's mother, people want that kind of information and i think it also provides some of that personal connection that this white house has done. i would say really well and helping people to feel like the
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white house is the people's house, and this is a family that could be the family next door. that you can relate. to >> it is really the first fully social media white house. they have advantages on social media that past presidents did not. so we have seen lots of them in lots of different forms then we have a really presidents and first. ladies john is in houston, hi john, you're on the air. >> hi this show is great. and i called during hell and tough show about what, my questions are after they killed osama bin laden, when they saw the pictures, what was his reaction what was her reaction and will they ever release them? and how can they never least? them thank you. >> thank you very much. to either of you know whether or not she had a reaction about osama? >> no idea. if i'm remembering correctly that night, he was, was the white house correspondent? stutter and i think she went out to dinner with his his sister, maybe.
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so we don't know anything about their private reaction to those photos. we do know the we do know they were not in the white house. >> yes. keith in green up, illinois. hi keith. >> hi, thank you for taking my call first of. all it's obvious that michel and barack obama are really good, parents and i was appalled with that ad campaign that came out this last election, that was talking about their kids was getting special treatment and this and that and they should have, they're the president's children. but how did that affect michelle and how did she maintain and not just go viral on tv after that was done? thank you. >> i think i know what he's referring to, i believe it was the nra, it could've been another organization when we were in the midst of the gun rights debate. >> right.
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>> i think it was a web ad and not an ad for television that asked some questions about the president's daughters being guarded by secret service and men who are carrying guns and why shouldn't other young people have armed guards in their schools? and i believe the president himself reacted and said that he didn't think those sorts of ads were appropriate. but this brings up an interesting point about just how protective this white house has been of the obama daughters and you do see some very fine lines there were some companies that try to create some dolls name session maleah early on, and the white house quickly shut that down. and so this sort of thing that the daughters are off limits has been pretty true to form. >> and also interesting, and i have to move the story along, here but further back in history there were some presidents with really embraced having the children be available, making
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advertisements out of them in the like. so this one another storyline as our series is progress that we've seen over the wine evolve or the. white house >> other first ladies have also handed down advice. like jackie kennedy handed down advice illiterate clinton had hidden advice initially bomb about how to raise little kids in the white house. >> but we're dancing the story because we have heard not yet a princeton. so she's a successful student at princeton and at a time when there were about 90 african americans on campus to 1000 and 1100 i think. one of the things that has stayed with her one of the things that he stayed with her in politics is a thesis because she was sociology major insulin on the subject of black princeton alumni. >> would you talk about that thesis and how it evolved into a political tool for the opposition. >> yes, i have to say as someone who was at princeton that about the same time and what csis, the thought that it would end up in the public view and be used against you, just sort of boggles the mind. it's not something that you would ever think would happen when you are struggling through
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your senior thesis. she was on the princeton campus that are really interesting time. the campus had opened up to women, to african american students, to a more diverse student body but there was definitely resistance and backlash against that. it was a time where a lot of students that campus didn't have a lot of experience, having traveled a lot, and so we're coming to campus and sort of made aware of their difference in a way that they had never been made aware of before. so her thesis talking about the fact that for the first time on the campus at princeton, she realized that she was black seems completely and surprising to me, and yet it's interesting, it was a sociology experiment where she was writing alumni and saying so did you feel, for you graduate while you are here in the afterwards, it you feel more comfort with white people are black people? and what kind of responsibility now do you feel to the lower
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income black community? she was working out all these changes and questions that she was asking herself in a way that seems to me so normal and so many other students of different gender or racial groups or ethnic groups would also be asking themselves on this campus exposed to a lot of different people. >> you're making a really big class jump and you kind of have to figure out what does that mean. and what does that look like? and how do i stay connected to our come from, which is really important to me and also move into some of these opportunities that are ahead of me? >> right. >> but the lesson in american politics today for the highest office in the land is anything severe, game right? so she moves from princeton to harvard and decides to study law. what took her in the direction of law? >> i think really part of it was that what everybody around campus if you weren't quite sure what you are going to do, you went to law school.
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i think also for many people at that point, you thought the civil rights act was not that old. you thought all change the world that'll be what i do if i could alaska. but there was a pretty strong can form a sort of push to law school at that time and i did interview an administrator there at princeton. he knew her very well and try to talk about of going to law school. and eventually she said mcgill michelle did call her when she was at harvard law saying you know you are probably right. >> but she chose to go back to chicago and get a job at a corporate law firm that specialized in telecommunication law. so she took the conventional path with her law degree. >> she did, for a while and i i'm sure you might want to comment on. this i think that getting back to the what do i owe my community and what will might make my parents? proud i think both she and craig were part of the first half first integration of african american citizens who did have the opportunity to go into corporate america, or work for corporate law firm and have access to this kind of job in a way that their parents had not.
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so they asked themselves, should i take advantage of that opportunity now or should i go back and work on behalf of my community and the community that i came from? and i think that something that she's wrestled with ever since. he uses in portland oregon, you're on the air. >> hi, her brother craig lives here in oregon and i was wondering if you fairly certain that she and the president are going to return to chicago. >> okay, thanks. >> they're beginning to talk about what they might do. >> i think we don't know where they'll eventually end up. they have talked about perhaps staying in washington right after his term ends, because their youngest daughter will still have a couple of years and high school. and after having uprooted their lives to come here for as the president has said, to fulfill his dream, some other members of the family will kind of come first in deciding where they go
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next. >> i think we can look for the youngest daughter sought to have quite a bit of input into where they and. and whether eventually they make their way back to chicago or oregon or hawaii or any number of places, i think we can't be sure. >> lauren hines, ill georgia. hi laura. >> hi, thank you, thank you so much. i lived in indiana in 2008 and michelle obama came to speak. and there was a group of us, allen county for obama, and it was about about 150 of us. and she spoke at a high school and everyone in that room had tears. she was just amazing, she is amazing and i really enjoyed the series, i've been watching it ever since martha washington. and thank you so much, thank you. >> all right, thanks for
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telephone. call to advance our story she takes a job it simply, we mentioned the big law firm in chicago, and it was a fateful decision because she meets a young summer law intern from harvard. would you tell the story of how the two of the met and how long you are? souter >> right. he was a summer associate and she was his boss, she was assigned as his supervisors. i think probably like modern workplace laws would not permit this relationship to develop. but in fact i think he was taken with. her her colleagues were interviewed, became aware that in the late afternoon as they, walk by her office and he sort of perched on her desk, and they could tell that something was developing. and i don't think it took too long actually before they were going out and both smitten with each other. >> but they didn't marry for four. years >> that's right, that's right because they he had to go back to law school. so she was in chicago, he was
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going back to harvard law. and so there were several years where they were not necessarily living in the same town. and she does tell a funny story on herself where she began to pressure him and they were going out to dinner in chicago she sort of started in on when are we going to get? married and he for a while he would say oh marriages, just a word, etc. so she started in then with the desert rain was delivered with the desert, and she tells a story on herself where she says you know, that did shut me up. >> they were made in 1982 in michelle obama's church which would also become part of their political story. it was the trinity united church of christ in chicago, and the pastor there reverend jeremy right. how did his story, their story together become important to the obamas politically? >> it becomes an important part of the 2008 campaign and it really speaks to i think in so
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many ways this kind of latent question that was always out there like isn't america ready for african americans in the white house is america? ready for a black president? and so in some ways jerry my rights stands in as a kind of charge point for that question, he comes out of a kind of strain of african american pastors and thinking black liberation the allergy, where there were many radical sermons which were eggs upset exerted and lines taken from them that become a huge political problem for the you bomb us but he was also a man who for a time had quite a bit of influence on him president obama takes when he's in the u.s. he takes the title of his second book, audacity to
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hope, comes from one of reverend writes sermons and in that sermon ribbon right is talking about this idea of not having very much for helping anyway and holding on to hope. and so these are some of the kind of ideas that connect them to him and the church. but when this breaks open in the campaign, if we all, remember there's a really a large sort of national conversation about race that begins. >> they were married in 1980. to maleah, their first daughter, didn't arrive until 1998. what was life like for the young couple in those six? years >> they were working very hard. at a certain point i think barack obama helped persuade michelle obama that she could leave corporate law. she could leave sadly austin, and she could do something less conventional and more interesting that she didn't have to follow a really kind of predictable path. and i think that's one thing he did for her at the same time that she gave him a very rooted,
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family the sense of belonging in chicago. i think he gave her a sense of the possible about was possible for. her so she took a job in the city government, then she took a job with a nonprofit called public allies. and for that period, then he was teaching at the law school and getting started in politics. and they were both really working very hard and very intense, the two very intense people. >> is it true that addition to her more community oriented jobs she was also serving on corporate? ports so i read in a biography that she served on several corporate boards during a. period >> she was on some boards and i think one was a board of a dance company, i'm not sure about corporate boards actually. >> all right, so the distinction would be important in her developments. >> yes, yes. >> so when barack obama starts to move from community organizing into elective politics, how supportive was? michelle >> i have a quote. >> okay. >> i have a quote from the audacity of hope when he's talking about after sasha is
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born michelle would often, say you only think about yourself. i never thought i'd have to raise a family alone. and this was an argument, this kind of classic murder argument that happened in their household repeatedly during this time because she was shouldering so much of the weight of raising a family. says >> and supporting the family. >> right, right. so this is a difficult point for them in their marriage and kind of what he's going to do this lie. >> and not the first time in the history of the first ladies were a political why is left to really raise the family as the husband is pursuing a political career. >> it's a real commitments on the parts of both spouses to pursue. this >> and there have been first ladies who have prayed for their husbands defeat. i mean there have been first ladies who were really dragged into the white house against their will. it >> doesn't feel like she was in that camp. >> not quite, not quite. >> yes, yes. >> sandy is uncollectible, tennessee.
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i. sandy >> hello, i want to commend you guys were doing an excellent series in a very private proud that you guys done this. the question i have is probably twofold. the main one is the presidential library. i know that after the president and the first lady first and their service are they offering to do it either in holland or in chicago? >> you are the more likely to know. no one knows but we do know that they have formed a committee to begin to think about the library and where it will be, and they will begin some of the sitting i guess you would call them bits from cities and different occasions. chicago is on the list, to hear that new york is also vying, president obama spent some time at columbia, hawaii will put in a bid there could be some other cities that they just pass through that are hoping.
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. can make sense because there's a political start was there, they got the roots, but it doesn't feel at this point that it's been completely settled. and even within chicago there are different locations that are hoping to eventually win the library. >> we're going to fast forward to the obama's life is time as a state senator in illinois, and his bid for the united states senate successful bid coming to washington and then the decision to start running for president. this first from the united states senate. how much a part of that decision was michelle obama? was this something through them strategized together and decided and made the decision together to? do >> he had to convince her according to the way her brother tells the story. >> first brock obama went to michelle obama's brother craig robinson and had a conversation with him more, i think this is the opportunity i think i should do this and he said have you talked to your wife?
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and barack obama says i thought you could help me with that and so craig robinson flows with floats with both his mother and his sister this idea, and in some ways, sort of paving the way. and as a family they make the decision that this is something that they would do with councillors and strategists. >> we're going to go back to that 2008 wisconsin speech official bomb out on the campaign trail, because another part of that speech contains a section that has stayed with this first lady throughout her tenure in office. let's listen. >> but what we've learned over this year is that hope is making a comeback. it is making a comeback, and let me tell you something, for the first time in my adult life lifetime i'm really proud of my country. and not because barack has done
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well, but because i think people are hungry for change. and i have been desperate to see our country moving in that direction, and just not feeling so alone in my frustration and disappointment. i've seen people who are hungry to be unified around some basic common issues and it's made me proud. >> i can tell you that tonight on our facebook page lots of people were quoting that line back to us all, years later. it is stayed with people as their view of how she thinks about american society. has she talked about what she was saying there and what she was trying to say? >> i think she did soon after talk a bit about that. and in fact at the time she had said express the same sentiment different. ways what happened in that moment was the political press hadn't been paying much attention to her from day to day. she was out mostly speaking to
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grassroots and supporters. i saw her a couple of times when she was on the campaign trail, got applause from. crowds people enjoy hearing her in part because unlike the candidate she wasn't so strictly message, she just kind of spoke from her heart without a lot of notes, and at that time the democratic grassroots found that refreshing pm. and then comes this moment where there is one line is extrapolated from this speech and it begins to define. her and the campaign gear has to immediately snap into action and begin to create a different story around her because one emerges that is not favorable. >> any comments on that narrative and how it defined her and then how the opposition used it to create a narrative about the president as well? >> right. and so it sort of lined up with,
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the princeton thesis and reverend, right so all sort of used as al allegedly evidence that she was unhappy with america. i think to me where that line came out and she was talking a lot at that time. she would talk about racial division if she was on a college campus talking to soon she say look at our white students there that are black students sitting there, i know that's. like you guys need to come. together she will talk about america being isolated so that you know people who were fighting a war, the people at home were going shopping and the twain weren't meeting. a sense that there was a coming together that still needed to happen. i think that is where that was coming. from but the campaign definitely kicked into gear after. that there was not another episode like that. >> so during the primary hillary clinton was the primary rival of barack obama. would you comment a bit about this interesting relationship of a former first lady, who is
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now a presidential candidate and ultimately, is defeated by this opponent, then goes on goes on to service a secretary of state and has a first lady that she can give guidance to about time in the? white house how did that relationship between the two women all work out. ? >> it's interesting because during the 2008 primary campaign it really becomes a dogfight towards the end. they're grasping, and i got ugly at some points and you had to really define camps within the democratic party and there were the clinton-ites and the obama's. and there were some question as to whether everyone was going to be able to come together in a very natural way and this idea that hillary clinton would serve as secretary of state did a lot in terms of mending those bridges. and early on, in the obama's term, michelle obama goes over
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to the state department and they have some interaction in our very warm to each other publicly. and that was another moment of coming together. michelle obama has a very different has been a very different kind of first lady think hillary clinton. was and so in many ways she's relied on laura bush is team to give her staff early on guidance about how things would operate in the east wing because hillary clinton had an office in the west wing, which was different in the way she planned to set things up. >> after the reverend right controversy, barack and michel went to nbc and talk to the today show about the issue and we got a chance to see them interacting as a couple were going to show a short clip from that and then talk about how they used in the campaign the national media to present a portrait of themselves. let's watch. >> so you never sit there and get upset about these? >> never, i never get upset, meredith.
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>> do i get upset? >> (laughs) she starts reading the newspapers. >> i take the paper and eyeball it up and i throw it in the >> corner (laughs) >> of course, there are frustrations. >> she gets protective of me. >> i do. >> i love my husband. you don't want anybody talking poorly about the people that you love. >> right. >> but franklin for quite frankly, i think he's handled this stuff. i'm so proud of how he is maintained his dignity, his cool, his honor. >> >> i know you're trying to cut me off and i'm talking nicely about. you >> yeah, it gets embarrassing. >> but >> but i am proud of you. >> i know, i appreciate that. >> what do we take away from this and other experiences that
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we talk another expenses like that that the public south of the national? media >> well it's always interesting to see them interacting with each other, the sort of playfulness the way they sometimes because each other and joke with each. other and seems they generally enjoy being together. and i think that more than anything the idea of this family this relationship in addition to president obama addressing some of the issues around the reverend right controversy head on in the speech that he gave on race, did much to toss that issue out the window and lead him right to the white house. so >> so when john mccain jill sarah palin as his vice presidential pick and wondering about whether or not that in gendered a national dialog about the role of women that happened during to run the 2008 campaign. >> yes but i wouldn't say it was a very it was i wouldn't say was a very coherent conversation with the role of. women i mean one thing also the struck me about much alabama particularly compared to
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hillary clinton if she did define herself also as mom in chief and i think that had a big effect on changing her. image because one thing that you saw is that before the 2008 election she was still polled, her favorable's were high with democratic women and democratic men. but what you saw after the election and the inauguration was that her favorable is really rose with conservative women. and so i think presenting herself as a mother first and foremost it a lot to change your image and to soften her image. it's also something that women of hillary clinton's generation could not say of themselves hillary clinton was into the generation where you couldn't even have a photo of your children on your desk if you wanted to be seen as a credible working woman. >> because you'd be too soft? >> right, too soft and you will remind people that you had children and you weren't supposed to do that in the 19 eighties, you are supposed to be all there at the workplace. and i really thought like that was generational difference between the two women. >> we're going to look next to the 2008 convention where people of both parties, political junkie who watch and size of the candidates and independents of course as well, a chance to see michelle obama
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in long form before this national audience. >> what struck me when i first met barack was that even though he had this funny name and even though he had grown up all the way across the continent in hawaii, his family was so much like mine. he was raised by grandparents who are working class folks just like my parents, and buy single mother who struggled to pay the bills just like we did. and like my family, they screamed and safe so that he could have opportunities that they never had for themselves. and barack and i were raised with so many of the same values, like you work hard for what you want in life, that your word is your bond, that you do what you say you're going to do that you treat people with dignity and respect them even if you don't know, them and even if you don't agree with them. >> so what was she doing?
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there >> introducing herself and her husband to the american public. >> the guy with the funny. name >> the guy with the funny. name >> and she really did a lot of that early on during the campaign. the role of the first lady in the modern campaign has been to humanize, if that's the right word, the candidates, to help people connect with who he is as a person, and you know what he's about and what he's like at home. in her campaign stump speech which she traveled around. she will talk about he use leaves his socks out sometimes and he snores and that kind of thing and he is a real guy. and i think in talking about him as a man. i >> i think in her case it was more important because she was also americanizing.
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him she was confirming okay, this guy is a funny name i thought he had a funny name to when i first met heard of him when i was at stately austin. but then when i met him i realized he was just as you know, just as american as you and me is a midwestern family. and so i think she walked through the audience through that process. >> that she went through herself? >> right. >> david is watching from pro, vote you to. hi david. your question. >> thanks susan, first off, i want to thank c-span and the white house historical association for the series, i really learned a lot about our first ladies. the question is i know one of the issues that michelle obama has been interested in is military families. i was just wondering if the panelists know where that issue originated from and how she is influenced military families today. >> yes. so michelle obama got involved with the issue of military families really early on. during the campaign she talks about having met in many cases
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women who are raising their families without their husbands, who were away at war and just being really moved by their sacrifices. and wanting to do something for not only the veterans but their families who are left behind in realizing that like herself, most americans don't have relatives who are serving in the military. and so she along with joe biden joe biden's wife who do have children who have served joining forces in the name of the program which serves military. families and they've done more than just finn visit families and go to bases. she went to the business roundtable and spoke to ceos there about talk companies about the needs to hire more veterans in there and there, families and got some companies
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to sign pledges to say how many they would hire so it's a program that isn't many faceted and she says she place to continue it throughout her time in the white house. >> in the 2008 election night the obamas are victorious, and we have one of those iconic pictures of the fist bump on the two of them that people remember seeing can you comment a bit on the historical significance of that night? for the record of the series. >> they were going to be in history books regardless because they are first and so there comes the moment when the history is made and you see in the photos of grant park, this sense of jubilation amongst their supporters there and still a very divided electorate but you heard afterwards many people on both sides on the aisle who felt this pride in the country for having at least
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eclipsed that barrier. and as the president himself said, he thinks he people were excited about that i think he said something like for about five minutes and then they want to know what you're going to do. and i think they both face that pretty quickly, this idea that they did not only want to be history making for having achieve this really remarkable feat of being the first, but then to leave a legacy that's greater than that. >> and of course remembering that they came in the midst of the 2008 eight financial. crisis people were wanting whoever wanted to get immediately to work. we had an interview at c-span with the first lady in 2009 shortly after she took over in the job when she talked about her approach to it let's listen. >> i think every first lady brings their unique perspective to this, job if you didn't you couldn't live through.
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it i think to the extent that this feels natural to me at any level, and i would never have thought that living in the white house and being first lady would feel natural, it's because i try to make it me. i try to bring a little bit of michelle obama into this but at the same time respecting in valuing the tradition that is america's. >> and as you mentioned earlier, they reached out to laura bush for ways in which they might emulate some of the approach she took to the role of first lady when she came to the white house. >>. writes leaned on some of that staff knowledge there and just how things sort of work in the house. i mean it's a significant institution and michelle obama unlike some other first ladies had not been a governor's wife so did not have the experience of really setting up shop at home in that way, and so she has to figure out how to do that. especially to get some help from get some help there.
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nancy reagan came in i think they had, luncheon until some of nancy reagan's advice was you, know have lots of state dinners. >> so she does kind of talk to those who know as she prepares for this. roll >> early on, the first lady went out to visit various cabinet agencies, which was an unusual thing for first ladies to do, also homeless shelters and soup kitchens in the city meeting with local officials. and we have an article that you wrote, chris thompson, about another thing she did which was unusual with first ladies she really lived in washington d.c.. you've got a story that was called missile bombers washington with a graphic that over the course of her first time, all the places in the washington metropolitan area that she visited, went out to work in, made speeches that went out to restaurants. how is how does that differ from other first families in this town? >> it was interesting because she clearly made this place home. and i was able to talk to her staff about that, it was the nonprofits, it was visiting the
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agencies but also going out to restaurants with girlfriends and her daughters being in school there, so she's at soccer games in catching shows at local theaters and that sort of thing. just really getting to know the city as a place outside of federal washington. and that's become not only rare for first families but for political families in washington in general, where you have folks who are getting back to their home states every weekend. and the idea of spending time in washington is almost for your political. life but she made, she made a concerted effort to get to know this place and this city, this town. and as i was putting the list together of all the places she's been, at colleague saying she's been to more restaurants in town than i have. and so she has not allowed the white house to be as martha
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washington, said something like up prison, though martha washington wasn't in the white house. but the idea that you can't get outside this bubble. she found ways to do that. including >> famously from time to time is in places like target in the washington d.c. suburbs. is she alone in first ladies and doing things like that are? the able to sneak away incognito in this town? >> she's probably alone and having visited target. sometimes though, for her in terms of being along with her family and freed also means leaving washington,. it means going to camp david, or going someplace where she can sort of walk around and not be the target of people. >> yes, other moderates have done similar. things >> right. >> yes. laura bush went and taking in georgetown and would check out the shops there and that kind of thing. and so the idea that you have to find some way to maintain a life outside of just the
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strictures of the. white house >> and, you know, bill clinton would famously go running and not so much hillary clinton but i feel like the clinton today presence in washington as well, actually. >> so the media, really, has covered the first lady extensively. we've had some graphics of the number of magazine covers that have been done on her. if you look, and you wrote a book but it was highly competitive. there are lots of books coming out about michelle obama in various parts of her life and the like. is this the way it will be four first ladies, or is there something particularly special about this first lady? >> there is intense interest from the beginning and i think a willingness to engage the public outside of, you know, the traditional press corps. and the magazine covers, i think, are one example of that. it's everything from vogue to
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better homes and gardens to, you know, amtrak magazine, prevention, essence. it's just such a broad spectrum and you are speaking to those audiences of those magazines in a very personal way in the same way, you know, she's on univision and she's on urban radio and talking to people directly and in some ways just like social media that removes some filters and she's able to connect. >> that's one thing i want to ask you because this is all pretty soft stuff. the covers of women's magazines, using social media. your both journalists who want to cover this woman and this white house. how accessible have they been to you in that role? >> that's what i was going to say. i mean, part of that is actually bypassing the traditional media and going to soft outlets which, of course, are very eager to cover her. when i was writing my book, not accessible, and they were being
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very, very careful about her public image. it was after the -- you know -- does she like her country episode and so they were being very careful about her public image and really not making her accessible. she was not being accessible, in a way i had to find other ways to report her story but i think that's really still the case. >> here's another clip that demonstrates the obama administration's approach to the entertainment media, really, to help leave us with an imprint of the first family. let's watch. >> thank you, jack, and welcome to the white house, everyone. i am so honored to help introduce this year's nominees for best picture. this is my midlife crisis -- i couldn't get a sportscar, they won't let me bungee jump so instead i kept my bangs here. >> you went for the bangs. >> you are still in charge, you
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are the boss of your hair. (laughs). ♪ ♪ >> you can take it from me, eating the right food can help make you a better athlete. >> (laughs). >> i was just wondering if you can do more pushups than i can do? >> you, know it depends on how your back is. i know you get these back issues. >> no, no. no, now. (laughs) (applause) >> 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19. (applause) >> so it has been fascinating during the series
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since television arrived in the president political scene in the late 19 fifties, you mentioned jacqueline kennedy and her tour of the white house, to watch how the political campaigns the white house is have used this medium to communicate with the public and to portray an image. how is this white house doing and how has the public been receiving it? >> you know, it's fascinating to look at the ways she especially has sort of collapsed the space between pop culture and politics and the public in the ways that she has operated in that. creating these videos that go viral on youtube. and she's on instagram but she's not just on instagram. she's like posting a throwback thursday photos and just really engaging in a way that captures kind of the public imagination. and again, like lies a was saying, it's not doing that through the filter of the mainstream press and so you are constantly cultivating an image
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and being very present in the lives of everyday people. and she's a popular figure. i don't know everyone's poll numbers now but she is probably one of the most popular figures within the democratic party and so to have her be such a public presence, you know, with a team like the miami heat and the basketball thing that got shared around, you know, so much is a really interesting and strategic way to look at her public image. >> i want to do two things. i'd like to put a slide which we've done in each one of our series about the key, some of the key events that have happened during the presidents from so far. but we also have a graphic from pew research. stories that compares the president's approval ladies and the first ladies. let's take a look at key events from his presidency so far which included the 2008 financial crisis on the stimulus package and all the permutations thereof.
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the prosecution of the iraq and afghanistan wars and the policy based over that. the passage of the health care act, the 2010 election which brought the republicans and their standoff relations with congress, and again, so many aspects to that story including the closing of the government and the debt ceiling debates. osama bin laden's killing and then, of course, the 2012 reelection campaign. some of those. now, along the way these are how pew research has tracked the president and first lady's approval ratings. you can see that the president's story has been one of coming down over time and the first lady has been both higher and consistent along the way. president from 79, now in the area of about 45, michel obama 68, 76, 69, 66. fairly consistent along the way. to what do we owe that? >> i think that everything that
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krissah said, the management and tending of her public image, the very strategic approach as well as to print media, at the mom in chief. the fact that the family does seem to be flourishing and it is and it remains a very appealing family tableau. and the issues that she's chosen. i mean, they are not hard issues. they are not mold breaking issues, let's move campaign. they are in the lines with literacy and sort of traditional first lady programs like that. >> melzar in jacksonville, florida. go ahead. >> the question i have for you is concerning mrs. obama and dr. biden. they would seem to be so recognizable and that they work so well together as political wives, but do they ever go out together and socialize just the two of them, if they're allowed to go outside the white house
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together? >> that's an interesting question. i wrote a piece about doctor biden during the 2012 campaign and so got to talk with some of her staff and see her and read up on her and she made the point that they work well together, they are friendly but they both have very busy lives and so the idea that they are sort of socializing are hanging out very regularly just doesn't happen in addition, you, know to being the vice president's wife which comes with much fewer but some additional duties. jill biden also continues to teach at a local community college. she's an english professor and so, you know, often when she was traveling during the campaign she had her papers with her. she would be grading papers and that kind of thing. and i think that, you know, that idea that they are just enjoying one another's company
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doesn't happen very often. >> it's also a lesson that the second lady can continue to pursue her career but it's something that so far the first lady has not been able to do. so far. something laura bush talked with us during the series. >> and you mentioned that she chose somewhat non controversial issues including the eating well and the let's move campaign. >> her staff would argue with you about that. >> not controversial. from facebook comments i can tell you it is controversial, yes, with some people. we have another clip of her talking to young people at the white house. these were students who were brought in from washington, d.c. and it all happened with a c-span event from our student camp competition. one of the students did a documentary about that let's move concept and mrs. obama met with students to talk about it at the white house. we will watch a little bit of that. >> having the platform of the white house is really helpful and getting attention to stuff, right? a lot of times when i do some live camera shows up and people tend to watch and write about
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it, sometimes they write about more than what i'm wearing (laughs). so i think it's my job to help shine a light on things that are already working so that's one of the reasons why i chose this as my initiative. i also think that one of the reasons why i think we can move this effort, one of the reasons why i think we can be successful is that it doesn't require, i don't believe, and others may have struggled a bit more, it doesn't require hole scale changes in your life. the beauty about kids, you guys, is that your young. your metabolism's are really healthy which essentially means that once you start moving and eating right you are going to, you know, you guys change really quickly. your growing and everything is working right so if we make some little changes, get you guys moving more, a little more
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movement, a little less tv. if we take out sugary drinks. if we can make school lunches better. if we get you guys educated and your families about what to eat, these are all things we can control and it doesn't take millions of dollars and a whole bunch of legislation to get it done. we don't have to count on people passing stuff, thank god, to move this problem along. >> but to your point of calling sugary drinks a problem for people and also the school lunch debate. >> there is a lot of money tied up in the food industry and so, you know, there's also some strategy in how you address these issues. you know, food politics for those who are involved in it, you know, are very contentious. and you see some of this in the debate, this idea that she's a part of the nanny state and telling kids what they can't eat. and, you know, in the video she talks about not needing to pass
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legislation to get some of these to happen but she very much was supportive of the legislation that changed the school lunches which in some corners has been a bit controversial. you don't, there are pretty big changes aside from some teenagers making videos complaining about, you know, not having as much junk food at lunch. people are trying to figure out how to implement these things and, you know, there is some support in some corners and not so much and others. >> liza mundy, we have a photograph of the organic garden at the white house, you mention it's going to become a permanent part of the white house grounds, as far as i know. is that right? >> it is, like an eternal garden. >> well, as the first lady wrote her gardening book which made the new york times bestseller list at least in the beginning, the proceeds for the book are all going to a
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foundation that's supportive of the garden. so there is money there to continue to attend it even after the obamas are no longer in the white house. >> and that's very much in keeping with the tradition of the white house, right? there used to be animals grazing so they could bring in some urban chickens at some point. >> right, i think left the wilson administration. the other part that we don't see, the influence that she's had on the president, what is known about how she's been able to move him in the direction of causes that matter to her from a policy perspective? >> well, he talks about this system and, you know, this idea that especially on social issues she's pretty progressive and their family talked about same sex marriage before he came out in support of gay marriage. and, you know, she was for it and it was a family conversation. and even in her 2012 stump speech before the vice president came out for same sex marriage, before the president
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came out for same sex marriage, she was talking about not discriminating against people because of who they love. that line was in her speech. it didn't generate a lot of headlines but she, you know, sort of made clear where she stood on that issue. and similarly, you know, early in her time in the white house there is this moment where she's with the first lady of mexico, they are in a school and, you know, in the washington, d.c. -- i think they were in the suburbs. and there is a young girl who's in the audience, they are just having a conversation probably about something related to healthy eating and she raises her hand and says, you know, and said what should i do? my mom doesn't have papers? to the first ladies who were there. and that was a really gripping moment. and so it's hard to imagine that there weren't conversations back at the white house about this encounter in immigration. >> liz is watching us in bridgewill, delaware.
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hi, liz, you're on the air. >> hi, susan. thank you for the program. i've been enjoying it. i'd like to ask your guests how michelle obama interacted or felt about her in laws. i know family seems to be very important to them and i'm wondering how much they met with each other and did she have a fond affection for her in laws? >> thank you so much, ashantix on twitter asked the same question, did michelle obama ever meet the president's mother? if yes, what was the relationship? >> you know, that's a really good question and i can't answer that at length. they did meet. of course, she would not have met barack obama's father. >> we have a picture of that she was at the wedding. >> right, right. i don't know a great deal about their relationship. i don't think that it was close. do you, krissah? if you remember? >> i don't know. you know, the president talks a bit about his mother's passing when he talked about health care. i'm not sure how much time that
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they did have to spend together. >> tomorrow night there's going to be a steak dinner at the white house. you mentioned earlier that they used the state dinner. we've asked in each program about the first ladies job as steward of the white house. how has mrs. obama approached life in the white house? what has she done for the mansion and how does she use it perhaps differently than other first ladies? >> well, we just talked about the garden a bit. that has been a signature part of her stamp on the place. it seems to be the part that she's most excited about. we see her regularly going out for the kind of ceremonial plant things and harvesting and being out there with children but also using the house, she's referred to it as the people's house, this idea that whoever comes to the white house should be welcomed in and what are ways to do that and the kind of bringing in folks who have never been there before. so you see lots of school children coming through for
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workshops. when there is a celebrity who's giving a musical performance there will be a workshop earlier in the day with students from local schools. and so this idea that you can kind of use it as a third space or in some ways a community center is, i think, you know a little fresh and different. >> we must remember that for a number of years in the beginning of their administration it was closed to public tours because of the financial downturn so restrictions were happening at that point. so they had different public interface with the white house then in previous administrations. we have just 15 minutes left and a lot to cover in this amount of time. you mentioned, krissah thompson, that after the election was won the election was one, the first lady got together with strategists to talk about issues that she would get more involved in and one of those clearly going to be education. we have a clip from boeing state university last year, a
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historically black college, where the first lady talks about education and its importance. let's listen. >> for generations in many parts of this country it was illegal for black people to get an education. slaves caught reading or writing could be beaten two within an inch of their lives. anyone, black or white, who dared to teach them could be fined or thrown into jail. and yet just two years after the emancipation proclamation was signed this school was founded not just to educate african americans but to teach them how to educate others. it was in many ways and act of defiance, and eloquent rebuttal to the idea that black people couldn't or shouldn't be educated. but today more than 150 years after the emancipation proclamation, more than 50 years after the end of separate but equal, when it comes to
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getting an education to many of our young people just can't be bothered. today, instead of walking miles every day to school they're sitting on couches for hours, playing video games, watching tv. instead of dreaming of being a teacher or a lawyer or a business leader they are fantasizing about being a baller or a rapper. >> what can we expect from michelle obama on this issue in the years ahead? >> it's interesting, i was there when she gave that speech and i don't know if you can hear the applause clearly there but it was very well received and holding those meetings and thinking about what she would spend her time doing in addition to the healthy eating and military families, the sort of connectivity that you could see that she had with these audiences where she was talking about issues around education became clear to her staff. and so they, you know, planned
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to develop this issue of education as one that she will be focused most closely on students working with the department of education to just reinforce to high school students, particularly those who are, you know, still early in their high school years that they really need to be preparing themselves for college. you know, going through the very minutiae of it, i think just last week she was at a seminar where they were talking about the importance of filling out your financial aid forms. she's done a video where she shared some of her experience when she first got to princeton and, like, didn't have sheets that were long enough for her bed. these kinds of things. the idea that she knows what it feels like not to be completely prepared for this process but that you could go through it anyway. that you could be successful and really, again, this idea of a role model-ing these things and saying that there is no magic here. that's her message in this education. >> calvin in portland, oregon.
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you're on. go ahead, please. >> thank you very much. this is calvin from portland, oregon. i want to say to the host and also the guests invited that you all, my family, my mother is really enjoying the show. >> thank you. >> i've got a quick question. but first, former texas governor and richards and barbara jordan said that women are always dubbed with a double standard. that's why you have to know your own purpose. i think michel obama exemplifies knowing her own purpose, so i just want to say this is a great show. is there a possible consideration for a hillary clinton and michelle obama ticket in 2016? thank you very much. >> thank you. we've had a number of people on twitter wondered whether or not the first lady has political ambitions of her own. >> people often ask that, will she be like -- they draw the parallel between her and hillary clinton because they're both lawyers. because, and i always say, i'd be interested to hear what krissah thanks, i don't think children for political office.
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i think hillary clinton had a passion interested in policy from early on but you may, you may disagree. >> no, no, it's interesting. she has said emphatically many times that this is not something that she's interested in. some politicians say that if you kind of know in the back of their minds that there's a sneaking suspicion that they'll run. but she is expansive about it, you know? she talks about, sort of, feeling like she doesn't have the personality for it. that she'd be too impatient for running for office. and you get the sense, especially in the way we were talking about messaging and the way she enjoys connecting with the public that, like, going through the rigorous of dealing with the political press were not be something that she would enjoy. i think that, you know, she'll be making an impact after the white house. >> she'll stay in public life somehow. >> definitely. >> carrie robinson on twitter wants to know how is michelle changing the role of first lady that future first ladies will emulate or model?
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do we know yet? >> i think the way that she has engaged with entertainment and pop culture has been in some ways groundbreaking. i have to say as a reporter who covers her, when i saw her at the oscars it was like a head turning kind of moment, like, what's the first lady doing on the oscars? and talking, her staff talked about it later, she loves the movies and the idea that she could do it and that there was an invitation and maybe some of these folks in hollywood with dead come and support some of her programs to help kids. and so just really kind of being outside the strictures of politics, i think that that's a trail that she has blazed that we may see some other first ladies follow. >> so in the time we have left, we looked at her high approval ratings, consistently high in the sixties and also higher than her husbands for much of the time. but she's had some criticism
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and we talked about some that she'd engendered through the choices of phrases that she's used as a surrogate for her husband. but also there have been things like trips and vacations that she's taken which she's gotten criticized for. what are your comments when you look at how she's approached that and the white house has responded? >> right, and her expensive sneakers worn to a soup kitchen. i think, you know, she did make a comment there about you know, sometimes they write about something other than what i'm wearing. she has cultivated the public image of being, you know, very fashionable and she is quite interested in her clothes as well. i think, i think every now and then there has been a misstep in terms of taking expensive vacations at a time when the country is really suffering. krissah, comments? >> you know, there has been, she hasn't had to do much to animate folks who don't like her. there, we looked at the poll
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numbers earlier, the favorable rate has stayed pretty steady and so has the unfavorable rate and so there is about, i guess it's around a quarter of the american public that doesn't like this first lady and that's not uncommon. and you hear from them on even issues like the healthy eating. and when she, you know, shows up on the oscars, there are tweets and folks who are kind of like, she's everywhere! why is she everywhere? and so, you know, it hasn't been a universal love fest, that's for sure. >> you write in your book and this is sort of the behind the scenes and how she organizes the staff around her. she's had some turnover in her staff in the years that she's been in the white house. you write in your book she's a better boss than employee. >> right. >> she likes to be in charge, she does not like her time to be wasted and she is forceful and can be intimidating. so what's the michelle obama that the public doesn't see? >> well, i think, you know i don't think that would surprise
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anybody. i mean, we don't see that person i would say a lot but i don't think it would surprise people. she is, she does have a forceful and i think charismatic personality. what you also don't see, interestingly, when she was in high school she was terrified of public speaking and she had to work up the courage to give a public speech when she was running for office. and, boy, i mean she has really grown into a role of being so comfortable, having fun and giving speeches and really, you know, she's found the spotlight and is very comfortable in it. >> let's take a call from jackie who is watching us in clare moore, texas. hi, jackie. >> hi, thank you so much for taking my phone call. i have two questions. the first one is which first lady do you think michel obama is most similar to? and the second question is, if michelle obama, if you could arrange from a shell obama to have dinner with any of the first ladies which one would it be and why?
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>> well, thank you. those are great comments as we not only close the michelle obama program but also close out this series. do you have any responses for her? >> that's interesting, because she gets compared to hillary clinton, i don't think she's like hillary clinton. she gets compared to jackie o nasa's and i think in some ways the glamour and the arts and the harnessing of culture i would make more of a comparison there, actually. >> i think you can take pieces of first ladies, you know, and kind of compare them because there is some of the jackie o with the cultivation of the image and the family. and then you can see a little bit of laura bush in the kind of being able to maintain that popularity, being very popular with the base. she was also, you know, a popular fund-raiser within her party. you know, hillary clinton is a more difficult comparison but i think that michel abominate is ambitious in her own way just as hillary clinton clearly is. so you can sort of take slices
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of the modern first ladies and i think michel obama told, you know, c-span that it is the modern first ladies that she sort of relates to much more than some of the other first ladies who seem sort of like pages of a history buck. >> well let's listen to the first lady talk about the role once more. this is from her 2009 interview with c-span. >> but i think it's all in evolutionary process. you grow into this role. and my sense is that you never get comfortable if you're always pushing for change and growth, not just in your south but in the issues that you care about, you are never done so there's never a point in time when you feel like, there, i am now here and i can do the same way all the time. it's always changing. it changes giving the state of the issues of the country and you never know what those are going to be from one day to the next. so you have to be flexible and fluid and open to evolve.
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>> and on the evolution, again, we are kind of coming full circle on her three years that she has left. what can we expect? >> what would you say? >> i think the education initiative is going to be paramount. it's interesting because i do think that 2013 fell, you know, like a continuation of the first term. this idea of whether things will be much different in the next few years, we have already seen her be really busy about building this new program but she is also saying that she's going to continue with what she's been doing. i think we may see, have seen the michelle obama that we are going to see in the next three years. i don't think that she'll stray very far from course. >> and they are also going to be sending a daughter to college in the next three years which, i think, you know, is a really significant transition
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as a family. i don't know that we'll see much of that but that is a significant transition. >> because of the protection, the bubble they've put around the kids. >> we were talking earlier, she will be 16 the older daughter, the time that many children learn to drive. how do you learn to drive when you are in the white house? >> exactly. >> right. >> it'll be interesting to watch. and michelle obama has a quote which i think you reported on, krissah thompson, about her life in the white house saying i will be in my early fifties when i leave and i have so much more that i should do whether as a mother or as a professional or as a mentor to other kids. >> i think she's very representative also with many women. and we may see that women in general, that our crew rear tractors are a little different than men and that women careers may peek a little later than mans because of that child rearing period. so she has been in this, in addition to being the first lady, she's been in an intensive period of child rearing. and i think when she comes out of all of this she will re-enter the workforce, if you will, in a very significant the
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way. >> it's marriages about taking turns and this has been his turn there maybe we will see her turn. >> right. >> and so we ended from martha washington to michelle obama our yearlong series on the lives of the first ladies. one of our early colors mentioned the white house historical association. i want to put the book on screen that they have written which is the biographies of all the first ladies. and to help make the special edition available to you throughout the year they have also provided so much as many other historical associations did of the materials research that we did to produce the series and as we close out here i want to say thank you to his series. and as we c ose out here, i want to say thank you to them and t all of the folks along w y interested n preserving american his ory and helping to tel these stories. >> an to our two guests tonigh liza mundy and krissa thompson, thank you for helping us unde
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after michelle obama left the white house she wrote her autobiography, becoming. the american library association asked her to speak to the group about her life and time in the white house. and now the person you all came to see. (applause) michelle lavon


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