Michelle Obama Gives President ‘Fresh and Honest Feedback’ on Speeches
(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) -- First lady Michelle Obama's speech at the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday night energized delegates and drew praise from pundits, but it was the approval of a certain 11-year-old that surprised her the most.
"I called home, talked to Sasha, the youngest, who never compliments me on anything and she said, 'You know, mom, you gave a really good speech last night. All my friends told me to tell you what a good job you did,'" Obama told ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer. "I was like, 'That's so sweet, honey.' So, you know, hey, I got ... a compliment from an 11-year-old."
Obama said her husband also told her how proud he was of her speech and she revealed that he knew what was coming because he read it prior to the convention.
However, Thursday night, when President Obama takes the stage, there is a possibility Michelle Obama will not have read the text in advance because she wants to be able to give a genuine answer when he walks up to her after the speech and asks, "How did I do?"
"One of the things I don't like to do is read or hear his speech beforehand, because I like to hear it fresh," Obama said. "I always like to give him a fresh critique like, 'That really moved me,' or, 'This part, I wasn't clear on it.' So I try to give him really fresh and honest feedback."
In terms of the job her husband has done, she told Sawyer she can honestly say the country is better off than it was four years ago.
"We're growing to understand just how much we've accomplished -- ended two wars, our economy was on the brink of collapse, we're now consistently creating jobs," she said. "Our grandparents can afford their medicine. Our kids can stay on our health care until they're 26 years old. I could go on and on and on. This is what I'm doing nearly every day when I go out on the campaign trail."
"As President Clinton said, 'Is Barack Obama satisfied?' Absolutely not. Is anyone in this arena satisfied, absolutely not. We have more to do, but we're on the right path. And we need some patience and persistence to get the rest of the job done."
As the first lady spoke on Tuesday, her daughters, Malia, 14, and Sasha, 11, were watching at the White House with President Obama. The White House released a photo of them watching the speech together and many were struck by how quickly the girls are growing up.
"They've gotten so big. I think that's what Barack and I look at," Obama said. "We don't look at the moment. We really measure things by how much the girls have grown."
Despite her professed fears about raising the kids in the White House, she is "pleasantly surprised at how normal they are."
"I did worry what this life would be like for them," she said. "Could I keep them normal? Could I ... instill in them the values that we learned growing up -- humility and decency and treating people with respect? And they are wonderful young women. And we are so proud of them."
"They are level-headed, they work hard, they care about people and, you know, they don't take their position for granted," she said. "But they definitely don't in any way exploit it or, you know, or show any signs of entitlement. They're just good, solid kids."
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