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Obamas discuss pandemic, voting, anxiety and community in new podcast

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Former first lady Michelle Obama launched a new podcast on Wednesday with former President Barack Obama as her first guest.

In a wide-ranging conversation centered around ideas about building community, Michelle Obama referred to her husband “as a former president who reads and knows history let’s just take a moment to pause and think about that.”

“Everybody’s feeling this uncertainty, this anxiety, this sense that what we’ve been doing isn’t working the way it should,” the former president said, summarizing the state of the country amid the coronavirus pandemic and protests over racial injustice.

“We can’t deal with a pandemic by ourselves,” he said. “There are just certain things that you have to do collectively because they’re too big, they’re too expensive.”

The Obamas also discussed young people, many of whom are leading protests, and whether they would vote in the coming election.

“They have been told, the message is sent every day, that government doesn’t work,” Barack Obama said. “They take for granted all the things that a working government has done in the past. … The danger for this generation is that they become too deeply cynical in government. Not understanding that all government is us collectively making decisions together.”

“There’s really no structure to market government,” said Michelle Obama. “The average young person knows more about the cereal they’re eating and the car they’re driving than they do about what government actually does for them.”

Michelle Obama, referring to Barack Obama’s campaign slogan, told her husband: “You are the eternal optimist. You’re the ‘yes we can’ man.”

“You just think things have to get super, super bad before folks figure stuff out,” he responded.

“Well, I hope we’re at that point,” Michelle Obama said.

“I’m always thinking, maybe we could learn a little bit,” Barack Obama said.

“Before we crash into the sun,” she agreed. 

“The Michelle Obama Podcast” is available on Spotify. Guests are expected to include late-night host Conan O’Brien, former Obama White House aide Valerie Jarrett, actor Craig Robinson and Sharon Malone, who is married to former Attorney General Eric Holder. 

“Part of what I hope listeners will take away from this conversation is not that we have the answers but these kind of conversations need to happen around our dinner tables and in our smaller communities,” Michelle Obama said of the show.

Tags Barack Obama Eric Holder Michelle Obama podcast Spotify The Michelle Obama Podcast Valerie Jarrett

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