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President Obama Is GQ’s Man of the Year: His 10 Most Memorable Quotes From the Interview

President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama in 2014

POTUS for the win. GQ announced on Tuesday, Nov. 17, that President Barack Obama is the magazine’s Man of the Year. The leader of the free world’s accompanying interview with Grantland founder and 30 for 30 co-creator, Bill Simmons, includes several insightful revelations about his relationship with his wife, Michelle Obama, and his teenage daughters Malia and Sasha.

This is the president’s second time gracing the cover of GQ. Here, Us Weekly rounds up the 10 most memorable moments and quotes from his Q&A.

1. He Would Travel Back in Time to Tell Himself This in 2008

“‘You’re going to be busy,'” Obama told GQ. “Coming in, we were going through an unprecedented economic upheaval, combined with an upheaval in the Middle East that we hadn’t seen in our lifetimes. There was going to be a huge amount of disruption. I would probably tell myself to communicate more effectively early on than I did. We ran a great campaign. It wasn’t as great as it seems in retrospect — there’s always rose-colored glasses but there’s no doubt that we captured the country’s imagination. And somehow in those first two years, I think a certain arrogance crept in, in the sense of thinking as long as we get the policy ready, we didn’t have to sell it.”

Related: Obama Family Album

2. He Compares Himself to Aaron Rodgers Under Pressure

POTUS knows football! The leader of the free world compared himself to Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers when he’s under pressure. “One thing I learned during the campaign was that I’ve got a good temperament. I don’t get too high and I don’t get too low. I’m able to stay focused even when there’s a lot of stuff going on around me,” he shared, saying he was “maybe Rodgers in the pocket, in the sense of you can’t be distracted by what’s around you, you’ve got to be looking downfield.”

Related: President Obama's A-List Pals

3. He Would Answer the Phone for These Five People While He’s on a Date With Michelle

“Malia and Sasha,” Obama told GQ with a laugh. “And maybe my mother-in-law. My national security advisor, Susan Rice, and Denis McDonough, my chief of staff. Those are the only people whose call I would take during a date night with Michelle.”

Michelle Obama and Barack Obama
President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama dancing at the Inaugural Ball on January 21, 2013

4. He Considers the Sandy Hook Shootings Among “the Worst Few Days” of His Presidency

“Think about 2013, right after I’d been re-elected: Our goal was to lead with a big push on immigration reform,” Obama recalled. “And then, before the second inauguration has even happened, [the school shooting at] Sandy Hook happens. Which remains, by the way, the worst few days of my presidency. I went up and visited with those families and — you know, Bill, you’ve still got small kids. These are 6-year-olds, right? And you have 20 of them who’ve been massacred. Right away, our focus had to shift to ‘Is there a way for us to capture this moment to see if we can get over this incredible hump to try to put in place some common-sense gun-safety rules?’ And we knew it was a stretch, just because of the politics of Congress and the NRA. But we had to try.”

5. He Marvels at His Daughters’ Cell Phone Habits

“It’s so interesting watching my daughters. Both are complete ninjas on the phone, right? And they can do things that I don’t even understand — they’re doing it in two seconds,” Obama shared. “But I even see a difference between Malia, who’s 17, and Sasha, who’s 14. There’s almost a mini-generational gap in terms of Sasha being so connected seamlessly to this smartphone in a way that Malia, who was already a little bit older when it really started to take, is not.”

6. He’s Entertained by Obama Conspiracy Theories

Obama revealed that the most entertaining theory he’s read about himself was this: “That military exercises we were doing in Texas were designed to begin martial law so that I could usurp the Constitution and stay in power longer. Anybody who thinks I could get away with telling Michelle I’m going to be president any longer than eight years does not know my wife.”

President Barack Obama on the cover of GQ
President Barack Obama on the cover of GQ

Related: Obama Family Album

7. He Finds Some of “the Secret Stuff” Disappointing

“People always ask me about Roswell and the aliens and UFOs, and it turns out the stuff going on that’s top secret isn’t nearly as exciting as you expect,” the president said. “In this day and age, it’s not as top secret as you’d think.”

8. He Is Not Pleased With How Some People Look at Malia

The president was asked if anyone has driven up to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to pick up his eldest daughter, Malia, for a date. “No,” he replied. “But I’ve seen some folks glancing at her in ways that made me not happy.” In fact, Obama joked that he tells the Secret Service to “keep an eye on him.”

Jokes aside, Obama praised the women in his family. “My daughters are amazing girls. They’re smart, they’re funny. They take after their mom, and Michelle’s done a great job with them,” he gushed. “You get these teenage moments — they love you, but what I think really affects you most is they just don’t have time for you. It’s not an active disdain for you. It’s just their calendars start filling up and they’ve got all these friends who are much more interesting.”

Malia Obama, Sasha Obama, and President Obama
Malia Obama, Sasha Obama, and President Obama spoke onstage at TNT Christmas in Washington in 2014

9. He Reveals the Presidency Perk He’ll Miss Most

“So the clear answer would be Air Force One: an amazing plane with an amazing crew, they clear out airspace so you don’t have to wait. And you land anytime, you leave anytime,” Obama replied. “But it may be Marine One, because even post presidency, I may be able to round up a private plane sometime, but it’s tough not to have your helicopter waiting for you.”

10. He Would’ve Enjoyed Running Against Donald Trump

“I would’ve enjoyed campaigning against Trump. That would’ve been fun.”

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