President Obama attributes much of his success to First Lady Michelle Obama, whom he often calls “his rock.”
“Direct and plainspoken, with an edgy sense of humor uncommon in a political spouse, she complements her husband’s more grandiose style,” Newsweek reported in February 2008. “She can be tough, and even a little steely… If [Barack Obama’s] loftiness can set him apart from the crowd, her bluntness draws them in.”
Michelle Obama had kept a fairly low profile prior to early 2008 and has spent the past eight years championing progressive initiatives focused on pushing the healthy food movement forward.
“Your husband’s administration, everything, was all about hope. Do you think this administration achieved that?” Oprah asked Mrs. Obama in her final interview before leaving the White House.
“Yes,” Michelle Obama answered. “Because we feel the difference now. See, now we’re feeling what not having hope feels like,” she explained.
Michelle Obama went to sleep on election night, she said. By the time she woke up, the woman she had rallied behind for months had been defeated.
“Anything that I felt about the election I said and I stand by,” Michelle Obama told Politico nearly a month later.
On the campaign trail, Mrs. Obama delivered one of the most powerful political speeches in years in response to comments made by Donald Trump on the leaked Access Hollywood tape.
“I’m saying that—a candidate for president of the United States has bragged about sexually assaulting women. And I have to tell you that I can’t stop thinking about this. It has shaken me to my core in a way that I couldn’t have predicted,” Michelle Obama told a Manchester, New Hampshire, crowd.
It was her final speech on the campaign trail.
“Hope is necessary. It’s a necessary concept,” she explained. “And Barack didn’t just talk about hope because he thought it was just a nice slogan to get votes. He and I and so many believe, what do you have if you don’t have hope?”
Mrs. Obama also spoke about her husband being a positive role model for America’s children.
“Our children respond to crisis the way they see us respond… I feel that Barack has been [there] for the nation in ways that I feel people will come to appreciate,” she explained. “All of this is important for our kids to stay focused and to feel like their work isn’t in vain.”
At the 2016 Democratic National Convention, Mrs. Obama spoke about trusting Hillary Clinton’s leadership as a result of her “lifelong devotion” to America’s children, adding, “I want a president with a record of public service, someone whose life’s work shows our children that we don’t chase fame and fortune for ourselves, we fight to give everyone a chance to succeed.”`
The full interview of the CBS special “First Lady Michelle Obama Says Farewell to the White House” airs Monday night at 8pm.
Watch the trailer: