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tv   The Presidency First Ladies in Their Own Words - Michelle Obama  CSPAN  April 18, 2022 11:57am-12:41pm EDT

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i am so excited to be introducing our amazing first lady, michelle obama.
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[ cheers and applause ] >> hey there. you guys are pretty fired up, right? i like that. i like that. if people wonder, yes, hillary clinton is my friend. she's been a friend to me and barack and malia and sasha and bill and chelsea have been embracing and supportive from the very day my husband took the oval office. now you may have noticed that i have been doing some campaigning for hillary. i know that there's some folks out there who have commented that it's been unprecedented for a sitting first lady to be so actively engaged in a presidential campaign, and that
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may be true, but what's also true is that this is truly an unprecedented election. that's why i'm out here. i'm out here first and foremost because we have never had a more qualified and prepared candidate for president than our friend hillary clinton. never before in our lifetime. i say this ever where i go, i admire and respect hillary. she's been lawyer, professor, first lady of united states, secretary of state, first lady of arkansas -- she has -- >> that was michelle obama. a popular sitting first lady
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campaigning in 2016 for a former first lady turned presidential candidate. a lawyer, mother of two young daughters and the first african-american first lady, you'll hear in her own voice how she experienced her eight years in the white house. first you'll hear from michelle obama in 2009, a c-span interview in her first year in the white house. she talks about how she sees the role of first lady and how she expected to grow in the job. >> i think every first lady brings their unique perspective to this job. if you didn't, you couldn't live through it. to the extent this feels natural to me and i would have never thought 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
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michelle obama. you grow into this role and my sense is that do you never get comfortable if you're always pushing for change and growth, not just in yourself but the issues you care about. you're never done. there's never a time that you feel like there, i'm now here and i can do this the same way all the time. it's always changing. it changes given the state of the issues of the country. you never know what those will be from one day to the next. you have to be flexible and fluid and open to evolve. >> this american history tv. just a month after moving into the white house she hosted children in east room. an event marking african-american history month.
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>> hello. welcome to the white house. how are you guys doing? >> fine. >> that's good. it's good to see you all. i heard you've all been quiet as mice. you been behaving in here? is it exciting? it's exciting. isn't this a beautiful house? >> yes. >> we are so, so very proud and happy to have you here. we were all very much kids like you guys. we figured our fate was in our own hands. we made decisions to listen to our parents and to our teachers and the work very, very hard for everything in life.
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it belongs to all of us. just remember that, okay? as the people's house, we believe the white house should be a place for learning and for sharing new and different ideas. sharing new forms of art and culture and history and different perspectives. we want you to visit and take advantage of these opportunities and maybe see something for yourselves that maybe you never thought you could do or be. i'm happy to welcome you here for our little black history month celebration. i'm glad you guys are here. so many milestones in black history have touched this very house.
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did you know that african-american slaves helped to build this house? you knew that. you know right up stairs in a bedroom called the lincoln bedroom, president lincoln signed the emancipation proclamation marked an important step. you knew that. did you know in 1878, rutherford b. hayes was president at the time that's correct.
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would you like to stand. you want to say that one more time. >> first african-american president of the united states. >> very good. [ applause ] very good. >> this is american history tv and you're listening to michelle obama in her own words. african-american history and challenges and accomplishments of black americans were themes the first lady returned to often. in 2013, she hosted the cast and crew of the movie 42 about jackie robinson who broke the color barrier in major league baseball. >> we watched the movie over the weekend. it was just us because our girls were away. they are definitely going to
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watch this movie. we think everybody in this country needs to watch this movie. i can say with all sincerity that it was truly powerful from us. we walked away from that physically moved by the experience of the movie of the story. it wasn't simply the wonderful performances because the performances were brilliant. brilliant. i mean, i'm no movie critic but you're all pretty good. pretty good. it wasn't the wonderful screen writing or the dreking. it was the raw emotion that it just makes you feel after the experience.dreking. it was the raw emotion that it just makes you feel after the experience.idreking. it was the raw emotion that it just makes you feel after the experience.rdreking. it was the raw emotion that it just makes you feel after the experience.edreking. it was the raw emotion that it just makes you feel after the experience.cdreking. it was the raw emotion that it just makes you feel after the experience.tdreking. it was the raw emotion that it just makes you feel after the it was the raw emotion that it just makes you feel after the experience. watching them go through the out
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right discrimination from every turn. the fans in the stadium to the airport receptionist, even from some of his own teammates you're left asking how on earth did they live through that? how did they do it? how did they endure the taunts and the bigotry for all of that time? while so many in this country still face clear challenges, they still exist today. i was struck by how far removed that way of life seems today. i mean, there's work to be done but things have changed. major league baseball is fully integrated. you can't imagine the baseball league not being integrated. there's no more whites only signs posted anywhere in this country. although it still happens. it's far less acceptable for someone to yell out a racial slur while walking down the street. still happens but not tolerated.
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for us to sit in the same room as rachel robinson. do you understand, we are here with rachel robinson. [ applause ] the woman who livered through that life. whose memories and perspectives will forever be shaped by those experiences. her appearance here today makes us realize just how connected we are to that part of our history. it is very real and very tangible. i can't help but marvel of how far we have come over the course of this woman's life. it also reminds us how far we have to go. how much more work we have to do. jackie and rachel robinson story reminds us how much hard work it takes to move a country forward. it reminds us how much struggle
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is required to make real progress and change. as you reflect on this story, not just today but i hope you keep thinking about it for the rest of your life, i want you to think about how much strength it took, day in and day out for rachel and jackie robinson and for thousands of other people just like them all across this country to keep pressing ahead. some folks wouldn't treat them like they were human being. they just kept pressing ahead. it would be easy to get mad. i know i was mad. just watching movie. it would have been easy to get mad or give up. instead they met hatred with decency. i want you all to keep that in mind. they met hatred with decency. they gave their absolute very best every single day. they gave their best every single day from the time they
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were young people just like all of you. they worked hard to prepare themselves for greaness so when the opportunity came their way, they were ready for that greatness. this would have been a totally different story had they not been prepared. had they not trained themselves, educated themselves. jackie robinson was a tremendous athlete but he was so much more than that. he bravely served in our armed forces. he attended college at ucla. he competed as hard as he could at every thing he did so that his gifts wouldn't go to waste. rachel robinson was in every way his equal. in every way his equal. she made her education a priority. she worked hard in school. she eventually became a nurse.
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they prepared themselves for greatness. you can be great in your profession. you can earn a lot of money but the question is what are you doing for others. i know we have a few jackie robinson scholars here today who are studying at howard and georgetown and yale and brown and even my alma mater, prince
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ton. >> first ladies in their own words continues now on american history tv.>> first ladies in t words continues now on american history tv. michelle obama traveled to alabama to speak at tuskegee. she acknowledged criticism directed at herself and president obama and spoke about dealing with racism. >> while the history of this campus isn't perfect, the defining story of tuskegee is the rising story of rising hopes for all african-americans. now graduate, it's your turn to take i that cause. you should feel so proud of making it to this day. i hope you're excited to get started on that next chapter. i also imagine that you might think about all that history, all those heroes who came before you and you might also feel a
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little pressure. pressure to live up to the legacy of those who came before you. pressure to meet the expectations of others. believe me, i understand that kind of pressure. i've experienced a little bit of it myself. [ applause ] graduates, i didn't start out as the fully formed first lady as i stood before you today. i had my share of bumps along the day. back when my husband first started campaigning, folks had all sort of questions of me. what kind of first lady would i be? would i be more like laura bush or hillary clinton or nancy reagan? the truth is those same questions would have been posed to any candidate spouse. that's just the way the process works. as potentially the first african-american first lady, i
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was also the focus of another set of questions and speculations, conversations rooted in the fears and misperceptions of others. was i too loud or to angry or to emasculating or was i too soft, too much of a mom? not enough of a career woman. then there was the first time i was on a magazine cover. it was a cartoon drawing of me with a huge afro and a machine gun. it was satire. if i'm really being honest, it knocked me back a bit. it made me wonder, just how are people seeing me. you might remember the on stage
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celebratory fist bump that was referred to as a terrorist fist jab. folks have used plenty of interesting words to describe me. one said i exhibited a little bit of uppityism. cable news referred to me as obama's baby mama. of course, barack has endured his fair share of insults and slights. even today there's still folks questioning his citizenship. all of this used to really get to me. back in those days i had a lot of sleepless nights worrying about what people thought of me. wondering if i might be hurting my husband's chances of winning his election. fearing how my girls would feel if they found out what some people were saying about their
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mom. eventually, i realized that if i wanted to keep my sanity and not let others define me, there was only one thing i could do and that was to have faith in god's plan for me. i have to ignore the noise and be true to myself. i have learned to block everything out and focus on my truth. i had to answer some basic questions for myself. who am i? no really, who am i? what do i care about? the answers to those questions have resulted in the woman who stands before you today. [ applause ] a woman who is first and
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foremost a mom. look, i love our daughters more than anything in the world, more than life itself. while that may not be first thing some folks want to hear from an ivy league educated lawyer, it is truly who i am. to me, being mom in chief is and always will be job number one. i've always felt a deep sense of obligation to make the biggest impact possible with this incredible platform. i took on issues that were personal to me. issues like helping families raise healthier kids, honoring the incredible military family that i met out on the campaign trail in spire inspiring our yoe to value education and finish college. now some folks criticize my choices for not being bold enough but these were my choices. my issues and i decided to tackle them in a way that felt
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most authentic to me. in way that was substantive and strategic. i immersed myself in the policy details. i gave speeches to ceos, military generals, hollywood executives but i also worked to ensure my efforts would resonate with kids and families. that meant doing things in creative and unconventional way. yeah, i planted a garden. i did some lawn dancing on mom tv. i celebrated military kids with kermit the frog. at the end of the day, by staying true to the me i've always known, i found that this journey has been incredibly freeing because no matter what happened i had the peace of mind of knowing that all of the
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chatter, the name calling, the doubting, all of it was just noise. it did not define me. it didn't change who i was. most importantly, it couldn't hold me back. >> this is american history tv. you're listening to michelle obama in her own words. as first lady, she took up the cause of supporting men and women in the military and their families. she made a plea on behalf of veterans before a 2010 meeting of the clinton global initiative in new york. >> she reminds me of her work to be a voice for america's military families. using her platform to make sure they get support and respect and the appreciation they deserve. i would like to introduce you to my first lady, america's first lady, michelle obama. [ applause ]
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>> as you lift up more families, save more lives, how can you find new ways to tap the stills and talents of more people. how can you create and train new leaders. not just here in america but around the world. how can you, as president clinton put it earlier this week, get people involved in our common endevours. in pondering these questions, i'm here to ask you consider an issue near and dear to my heart
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and one i believe that is vitally pornt to just about everything you're working to accomplish. that is the challenges faced by america's veterans and military families and also they have to offer particularly as they transition to civilian life. i know it may seem to strategic in scope but right now the human potential of america's veterans and military families is both vast and woefully under utilized. that's not just an issue for those individuals or if this country. it also significantly impact what is you and so many others are trying to achieve not just here in america but around the world. i've met them on base, hospitals
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and communities all across this country. i always come away from these visits not just with a sense of pride and gratitude but with a sense of awe. while most folks share my respect and admiration for their service, a lot of folks have no idea what that service entails. many still don't know full power of their human potential. just consider for a myself the kind of work that they do. members of our military master state of the art technologies. some of the most advanced information and medical and communication systems in the world. they run the world's most complex operations, distributing supplies to thousands loaf
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indications, moving tons of equipment halfway across the globe. they oversee hundreds of their colleagues recruiting the top talent and inspiring folks from diverse backgrounds to succeed as a team. many of them are barely older to vote. they shoulder more responsible than many ceos undertaking missions where there's no margin for error. where the bottom line is often matter of life or death. these are skills i know many business, including those represented here today are desperate the find. the fact is right now more than 150,000 recent veterans are still struggling the find jobs. the fact is that america's veterans and military spouses have years of experience and training doing precisely the
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kind of work that all of you are doing every day across the globe. are you building roads or schools or shelters? they've done that. are you establishing health clinic in remote parts of the world? they've done that too. are you trying to recruit and manage teams of volunteers? are you working to get clean water into a village? are you trying to move people to safety in the wake of natural disaster? that's all in day's work for these folks. >> first ladies in their own words continues now on american history tv. michelle obama focused a spotlight on childhood obesity and the health of the nation's children. she used the white house as a platform to advance the issue. you'll hear from her next at the 2010 white house easter egg roll where the south lawn was convert into a sprawling playground. >> hey, everybody.
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is this not the perfect day for the easter egg roll. let's say thank you to mother nature. we're so excited to have you. welcome to the 2010 easter egg roll. the theme for this year's event is ready, set, go. as you guys know, this year i launched a nationwide initiative to try to end the epidemic of childhood obesity. it's called let's move. today we have transformed the south lawn into a playground. we have wonderful food stands in back. with have some of the best chefs. you can learn to cook.
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there's farmers market. you can see the garden. we also have some great activities. we have several athletic centers. we have football, basketball. we have our washington redskins here. we have olympians. we have billie jean king. in the center we'll have some dancing opinion we have dj tony from the ellen show who will do some stuff. if that's not enough, you can just go over to justin bieber.
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you know justin bieber? thank you amber for the rendition of the star spangled banner. we have jk rowling. we have tons of people who are here just to have fun with you guys today. the only thing you need to do is to get ready, set and do what? >> go. >> the first lady also oversaw the planting of a white house garden to promote healthy eating as part of her let's move campaign. she worked hand in hand with local school children to plant and harvest the garden. >> it cannot only feed my family but feed the staff at the white house. we'll use the vegetables to help serve you guys.
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we can produce enough fruits and vegetables to feed us for years and years to come. for just a couple hundred dollars. we're looking for you guys to help us make it happen. we'll plant the seedlings today. in a few months, hopefully right around time you get out of school, you can come and help us harvest the fruits and vegetables and come into the white house with all our chefs and start doing a little cooking. how does that sound?
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>> you'll hear her speech before the democrat national convention in philadelphia which nominated hillary clinton for president. michelle obama signature line from that campaign, when they go low, we go high. >> it's hard to believe this it's been eight years since i first came to this convention to talk to you about why i thought my husband should be president.
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remember how i told you about he has character and conviction, his decency and grace. the traits we have seen every day that he served our country in the white house. i also told you about our daughters. how they are the heart of our hearts, the center of or world. during our time in the white house we have watched them grow from bubbly little girls to young women. a journey that started soon after he arrived in washington when shay set off for their first day at their new school. i will never forget that winter morning that i watched our girls just 7 and 10 years old pile into those black suvs with all those big men with guns. i saw their little faces pressed up against the window and the only thing i could think was, what have we done?
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at that moment i realized that our time in the white house would form the foundation for who they would become and how well we manage this experience would truly make our break them. that's what barack and i think about every day as we try to guide and protect our girls through the challenges of this unusual life in the spotlight. how we urge them to ignore those who question their fathers citizenship or faith. how we insist that the hateful language they hear from public figures on tv does not represent the true spirit of this country. how we explain that when someone is cruel or act like a bully. you don't stoop to their level. no, our motto is, when they go
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low, we go high. with every word we utter, with every action we take. we any our kids are watching us. we as parents are the most important role models. let me tell you, barack and i take that same approach to our jobs as president and first lady because we know that our words and actions matter. not just to our girls but to children across the country. kids who tell us, i saw you on tv. i wrote a report on you were school. kid like the little black boy who looked up at my husband, his eyes wondered with hope and he wondered, is my hair like yours. make no mistake about it, this november when we go to polls, that is what we're deciding. not democrat or republican, not left or right.
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in this election and every election is about who will have the power to shape our children for the next four or eight years of their lives. >> in her last official remarks as first lady, michelle obama spoke in the white house east room in early january 2017. the event was the honor school counselors. she talked about the administration's efforts to improve education. she gave one last pep talk and expressed a personal hope. >> as i end my time many the white house, i can think of no better message to send to our young people in my last official remarks as first lady. for all the young people in the room and those who are watching, know that this country belongs to you, to all of you. from every background and walk
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of life. if you or your parents are immigrants, know that you are part of a proud american tradition. the infusion of new cultures, talent and idea, generation after generation. that has made us the greatest country on earth. if your family doesn't have much money, i want you to remember that in this country, plenty of folk, including me and my husband, we started out with very little, but with a will the of hard work and a good education, anything is possible. even becoming president. that's what the american dream is all about.
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if you are a person of faith, know that religious diversity is a great american tradition tool. that's why people first came to this country, to worship freely. these are teaching young people about justice, compassion and honesty. i want our young people to continue to learn and practice those values with pride. our glorious diversity, our diversities of faiths and colors and creeds,s that is not a threat to who we are. it makes us who we are. to the young people here and the young people out there, do not
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every let anyone make you feel like you don't matter or like you don't have place in our american story because you do. you have a right to be exactly who you are. i also want to be very clear. this right isn't just handed to you. this right has to be earned every single day. you cannot take your freedoms for granted. just like generations who come before you, you have to do your part to preserve and protect those freedoms and that starts right now when you're young. right now you need to be preparing to add your voice to our national conversation. you need to be engaged to serve and lead and stand up for our proud american values and honor them in your daily lives. that means getting the best
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education possibl so you can think critically. so you express yourself clearly. so you can get a good job and support yourself and your family. so you can be a positive force in your communities. when you encounter obstacles, and i guarantee you will and many of you have, when you are struggling and start thinking about giving up, i want you to remember something my husband and i have talked about since we first started this journey nearly a decade ago. snag has dearcarried us through every moment in this white house and every moment of our lives and that is the power of hope. the belief that something better is always possible if you're willing to work for it and fight for it.
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our hope that if we work hard enough and believe in ourselves then we can be whatever we dream regardless of the limitations that others may place on us. being your first lady has been the greatest honor of my life, and i hope i've made you proud. [ applause ] >> thank you for joining us on american history tv for first ladies in their own words. our program on michelle obama. next week, melania trump. she's only the second first lady who was not born in the united states and the first to become a naturalized u.s. citizen. first ladies in their own words
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is also available as podcasts. you can find it where ever you get your podcast.
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rosalynn remained a gracious campaigner. >> people ask how can you stand for your husband to be in politics and everybody know everything you do. i just tell them we were born and raised in georgia. it has a population of


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