Obama says idea to run for president requires some 'megalomania and insanity'

Obama says idea to run for president requires some 'megalomania and insanity'
© Getty Images

Former President Obama said during an interview that it takes a certain amount of "megalomania and insanity" to run for the White House. 

In a conversation with Oprah WinfreyOprah Gail Winfrey2020's top political celebrity moments Michelle Obama named most admired woman for third straight year: poll Oprah sells most of her stake in OWN channel to Discovery MORE on her Apple TV+ show "The Oprah Conversation," the former president discussed his upcoming book "A Promised Land" and reflected on the toll running for the highest office in the U.S. had on his family, his wife and on his personal ego. 

"Time and again, you question in 'A Promised Land' your own vanity and ego. And this happened quite a bit actually during the time you were deciding to run for president," Winfrey said. 


"Once you run for president, win the presidency — it's the most — it's the greatest popularity contest in the world, does that fill whatever hole there might have been?" she continued. 

Obama responded that a lot of the questions about his own personal fulfillment and ego in running for public office had "burned off." What he found, he said, was that he want to know what good he could do. 

"What matters is your own assessment of 'what good am I doing?' " Obama said. 

But, the former president admitted, "to actually imagine yourself running for president requires a certain element of megalomania and insanity." 

"You have to have something in you that is willing to put yourself through and your family through a crazy process." 


Since leaving office, Obama and former first lady Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaShould there be a 'Secretary of Thought'? Obamas to attend Biden inauguration Michelle Obama slams Trump, rioters at Capitol: 'They desecrated the center of American government' MORE have maintained a relatively low profile. The two work with the Obama Foundation and When We All Vote, a voting rights nonprofit started to increase registration across the country. 

However, Obama took to the campaign trail recently for President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenAzar in departure letter says Capitol riot threatens to 'tarnish' administration's accomplishments House Democrats introduce measures to oppose Trump's bomb sale to Saudis On The Money: Retail sales drop in latest sign of weakening economy | Fast-food workers strike for minimum wage | US officials raise concerns over Mexico's handling of energy permits MORE in the lead-up to Election Day. During rally speeches, Obama offered a searing assessment of President TrumpDonald TrumpCIA chief threatened to resign over push to install Trump loyalist as deputy: report Azar in departure letter says Capitol riot threatens to 'tarnish' administration's accomplishments Justice Dept. argues Trump should get immunity from rape accuser's lawsuit MORE, arguing that his administration left his successor with a pandemic playbook, and attacking Trump for caring about his inauguration crowd. 

The full interview with Winfrey debuts Nov. 17.