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Michelle Obama tells ABC's Robin Roberts when it come to putting daughters in public eye, still "figuring this out." Talked to Hillary, Tipper Gore. Transcript.

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The public has a big appetite for news about the lives of the Obama family. They recently allowed their two young daughters to be interviewed with them on TV; later presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) said it was a mistake. Michelle Obama talks to ABC's Robin Roberts about putting the kids in the public eye.


MS. ROBERTS: But one thing's for certain: the public's and media's appetite for the Obamas.

The couple's still feeling their way on how much is too much when it comes to their two young daughters.

MS. OBAMA: I think we're all figuring this out, and I've had an opportunity to talk to people who've done this before. I had a great conversation with Hillary Clinton. I also talked to Tipper Gore -- lots of folks who have had great advice on how do you make sure that your kids are whole and grounded. And part of it is keeping them -- keeping their worlds very much their own.

So we're learning and growing and figuring it out, and making some decisions and changing our minds and moving forward.--

Transcript courtesy Federal News Service.

ABC "GOOD MORNING AMERICA" INTERVIEW WITH MICHELLE OBAMA, WIFE OF SENATOR BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESUMPTIVE DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE
SUBJECT: 2008 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN INTERVIEWER: ROBIN ROBERTS

7:04 A.M. EDT, THURSDAY, JULY 7, 2008


MS. ROBERTS: And now to our exclusive interview with Michelle Obama. I spent a jam-packed day with her in Norfolk, Virginia, where she was also spending a lot of time meeting with military families.

We talked about a host of issues from the campaign trail, including those controversial political ads.

(Begin videotaped segment.)

MS. ROBERTS: The Paris Hilton/Britney Spears ad, I mean, both sides have commented on that, good and bad. And it seems that Senator McCain has gotten a little momentum following the Paris Hilton ad.

(Ad clip plays.)

What was your reaction when you saw it?

MS. OBAMA: You know, frankly, I didn't see the ad. I rarely look at these -- these ads, so I don't know firsthand the content. I've heard people talk about it.

But first reaction is -- it's funny to have anybody characterize Barack as an elitist. You know, this is the kid who was raised by a single mother who didn't have access to many resources, who has walked away his entire life from lucrative careers to work in the community.

You know, we have to stay focused on the real issues that matter to most families. And it's better gas prices, decent jobs, health care that makes sense and doesn't leave people out of the system. Those are the kind of issues that Barack will continue to bring these conversations back to, and it's really all that the American people really care about.

MS. ROBERTS: But the controversial New Yorker cover where you're portrayed as being militant, Barack Obama is being defined as a Muslim with the turban. And that, as you know, caused quite a stir on both sides in this country.

MS. OBAMA: Yeah. Well, again, didn't focus too much attention on it --

MS. ROBERTS: What did you think, though, when you -- I mean, when you pick it up and you see it.

MS. OBAMA: You know, you think, this is -- well, this is tacky. But then you move on. Then I pick up this great article about me in Ebony. (Laughs.) So there's up and down, good and bad.

I just don't emotionally go to those high highs or those low lows.

MS. ROBERTS: What she has turned her attention to is improving the lives of military families. She's traveling around the country listening to their stories of struggle.

(Video clip plays.)

You said that you'll go back and you'll talk to Barack, that you're really here to listen.

MS. OBAMA: That's right.

MS. ROBERTS: What will you tell your husband?

MS. OBAMA: You know, I'll tell him what I've told him in the past, that I think he's on the right track with a number -- the proposals that he's laid out.

But I'd also tell him that spouses are struggling, and that I'd want to remind him that when we send our troops to war, the families go with them. And that we have to keep the funding in line to make sure that we're making sure that these families are whole and healthy and that they're not just surviving, but they're thriving.

MS. ROBERTS: You know there are some people that look at this and say, you know what, it's a photo opportunity. That the reason that you're here is purely political.

MS. OBAMA: Yeah.

MS. ROBERTS: What do you say to those people?

MS. OBAMA: I've been doing this for a while. And for me, this is real. This is personal. Because when you think about the quality of support that you would want for families, the assumption would be that the military families are getting that, right? But then to find out that they're still struggling means that we have to get them on track, even before we can make sure that those same benefits and resources are available to all families throughout this country.

So -- I hope to continue to do this no matter what the outcome of the election is in November.

MS. ROBERTS: But one thing's for certain: the public's and media's appetite for the Obamas.

The couple's still feeling their way on how much is too much when it comes to their two young daughters.

MS. OBAMA: I think we're all figuring this out, and I've had an opportunity to talk to people who've done this before. I had a great conversation with Hillary Clinton. I also talked to Tipper Gore -- lots of folks who have had great advice on how do you make sure that your kids are whole and grounded. And part of it is keeping them -- keeping their worlds very much their own.

So we're learning and growing and figuring it out, and making some decisions and changing our minds and moving forward. So --

MS. ROBERTS: Do you remember the advice that Hillary Clinton gave you? Because Chelsea has never really -- few of us have even heard her voice.

MS. OBAMA: I think you see her advice in her actions, and I think she's done an outstanding job at modeling how to keep the kids out of it. And she's a strong advocate of that, and I respect that. And she's been just amazingly gracious in her advice and sharing her wisdom, and I've been truly grateful to her.

MS. ROBERTS: And how's this potential first lady handling the pressure of her impending convention debut?

MS. OBAMA: I'm not in the anticipatory mode yet, because quite frankly, we're going on vacation! (Laughs.)

MS. ROBERTS: That's what you're thinking of before the convention is vacation.

MS. OBAMA: Yeah. It's like one step at a time --

MS. ROBERTS: And going to Hawaii.

MS. OBAMA: To visit Barack's grandma.

MS. ROBERTS: Are there any kind of Obama family vacation traditions or --

MS. OBAMA: There can be mean games of Scrabble. He and his sister Maya -- oh, they're deadly, in fact. Sometimes we all just walk away and let them compete into the night.

MS. ROBERTS: But despite the whirlwind days of the campaign and the media frenzy that ensues, she still remains grounded.

MS. OBAMA: I am Michelle Obama. I live in Chicago. (Chuckles.) I'm married to this guy Barack. That's about it. That's about how I see myself.

9 Comments

Talked to Hillary, the MASTER of raising a productive child in the White House and STILL doesn't know?
You use kids and dogs to sell newspapers--not political campaigns.
It's fluff like this that is making it possible for the IMPOSSIBLE to happen.
Camp obama should have a 20 point lead already.
If they can't figure out it, then let's push for HILLARY to be the candidate cuz I can't take another 4 years of criminals in the white house.

Michelle and Barry felt so threatened by Chelsea Clinton (whose mama Michele supposedly consulted about raising kids in the White House) that they said nada when Hillary was accused of 'pimping' her out.
Now Michelle's been letting the kids into the spotlight at such tender ages.
And we still lack a big lead on McSame.

How can anyone think the Obamas are not elitest! Thats the way they totally come across, they are privledged and think themselves way above everyone else. They try to make is sound like they are lower middle class, but totally elitest. What the public really wants is awnsers for what they stand for, who they really are. Someone needs to first start explaning why Obamas birth certifcate is altered. Why did he attend a Madrassa, and this man who is for abortion even in the third trimester. Sadly more then 80% of abortions happen to black babies. More then 3700 abortions a day, and here we have canidate that say how terrible we have lost 4000 troops.

America is just pure racist. I hope Barack will win in Nov. They've got 2 beautiful children and Michelle's a darling

The interview was GREAT. Michelle is a regular person, and those who try to make her anything else is a LIAR. We spend our lives listening to the rhetoric about 'bootstraps' and striving to achieve Horatio Alger-istic goals. So, when someone DOES IT SUCCESSFULLY, they are lambasted in the press and called 'ELITIST.' This is B.S., and you all know it. The fact is--the Obamas are AFRICAN-AMERICAN and SUCCESSFUL, and that's the ONLY problem that people are having with them. McCain is married to a BEER HEIRESS, for God's sake, who paid for his entry into politics. His grandfather has an army base named after him; what kind of CHANGE do you think he'll make? Get everyone drunk on beer, and continue to spout veiled racist remarks? GIVE ME A BREAK.

Julie---I'm not voting for McCain--I'll vote for Obama but I bet he loses without Hillary (hillary would win with him or without him)--but Michelle's comment is STUPID and insulting to Hillary.
I don't care if obama's polka dotted white black--I['m damn upset about his support for 'clean coal' and the FISA bill and trending to the center which is what Hillary used to argue with Bill over.
Hillary wouldn't make this mistake.

YOU NEED TO GET OVER HILLARY, IT'S OBAMA'S TIME!
HE HAS BEEN VERY GENEROUS TO THE CLINTON'S!
PRESIDENT OBAMA WILL GIVE HER A GREAT CABINET
POSITION!

I think we all need to grow up in America. It is still amazing that we elected Bush. The bottom line we should not elected someone over the age of 65. I am so tired of his commercials about being a veteran that the war in Iraq. I think the Obama theme of change is very true and much needed. When will anyone step up and admit that McCain commercials and many comments are childish and rarely does he make a point.

I guess Obama is considered ELITE because he is successful. That is crazy and America needs to grow up.

I think we all need to grow up in America. It is still amazing that we elected Bush. The bottom line we should not elected someone over the age of 65. I am so tired of his commercials about being a veteran that the war in Iraq. I think the Obama theme of change is very true and much needed. When will anyone step up and admit that McCain commercials and many comments are childish and rarely does he make a point.

I guess Obama is considered ELITE because he is successful. That is crazy and America needs to grow up.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on August 7, 2008 12:12 PM.

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