In The Know

Obama describes wife Michelle’s resistance to presidential ambitions

Former President Obama described how he and his wife, former first lady Michelle Obama, moved past her resistance to him running for president in a wide-ranging interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes” that aired Sunday evening.

CBS’s Scott Pelley asked the former president about a passage from his book in which the then-future first lady is quoted as firmly rebuffing her husband’s presidential ambitions, telling him: “I do not want you running for president. God, Barack, when is it going to be enough?”

“And then she walked out of the room. Why did that not stop you?” Pelley asked.

“It’s a legitimate question,” Obama responded. “Keep in mind, the context … just two years earlier I had run for the U.S. Senate, in an unlikely race. Two years before that I had run for Congress.”

“Couple years before that I had run for state Senate,” he added. “We’ve got two young kids. Michelle’s still working, and I ask myself in the book: How much of this is just megalomania, how much of this is vanity, how much of this is me trying to prove something to myself?”

Obama said his wife eventually “made a conclusion that, ‘I shouldn’t stand in the way of this.’ “

“And she did so grudgingly. And the fact that I ended up winning didn’t necessarily alleviate her frustration because the toll it takes on families is real,” he added.

Pelley noted that “I think it’s only after you emerge from an all-consuming job that you realize that everything you hold dear is thanks to the one you love.”

“I think I actually realized that even while I was in the job,” Obama responded. “The fact that she put up with it and forgave me is — was an act of grace that I am grateful for and I’m not sure I deserved it.”

The former president’s interview with CBS comes ahead of the release of his memoir, “A Promised Land,” on Tuesday. In the interview, Obama also issued harsh criticism of President Trump, his successor, following the president’s loss in the 2020 presidential election and Trump’s subsequent refusal to accept the results.

Tags Barack Obama Donald Trump Michelle Obama

The Hill has removed its comment section, as there are many other forums for readers to participate in the conversation. We invite you to join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.

Most Popular

Load more


See all Video