First families are (almost) like Us — as we learned from Steve Kroft’s interview with President Barack Obama on 60 Minutes‘ Sunday, January 15, episode. Obama, 55, described their average family life as somewhat resembling that of many Americans — along with revealing what he sees as his life after the White House.
With Obama’s daughters getting older — Malia is 18 and entering Harvard University, and Sasha is a 15-year-old high school sophomore — the family is looking forward to a different kind of journey out of the presidential glare. He also revealed that his wife, Michelle, “never fully took to the scrutiny” of being first lady, despite nearly a decade in the role.
Here’s what we learned about the Obama family from the exiting president’s final TV interview as commander in chief.
1. The White House family grocery bill was paid out of pocket by Obama and the first lady. “We buy our own toilet paper,” the president said. “Our toothpaste, orange juice — that all gets paid.”
2. Carrying his own wallet will be among Obama’s new responsibilities as he returns to postpresidential life. “It is true, I don’t carry my wallet that often,” he said. “[I’ll be] catching up with how day-to-day things operate.”
3. A swing set outside the Oval Office was built for Sasha and Malia when the first family moved into the White House. Several years later, the swing set was dismantled and given away. “Being able, every once in a while, to look out the window and see your daughters during the summer, swinging on that swing set, that made the presidency a little sweeter,” Obama said during the interview.
4. Obama’s prized mementos in the Oval Office included a bust of Martin Luther King Jr. and a framed program from the March on Washington.
5. Obama named sleeping late as what he’s looking forward to after the presidency. “Here’s one thing is — I’m not setting my alarm,” he said. “That, I’m certain of. That, I am absolutely positive of.”
6. Michelle — who the world saw dancing with Ellen DeGeneres or appearing on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon — “never fully took to the scrutiny” of her post, the president said. “She’s thrived as a first lady, but it’s not her preference,” Obama said. “Which is ironic, given how she good she is.” When pressed by Kroft about whether all is good in the marriage today, Obama quipped with a smile, “So far, as far as I know. I better check later.”
7. Reconnecting with Michelle will be a top priority for Obama after the presidency, as each of the Obamas has been preoccupied with their individual demands, the president said. “I’m going to spend time with Michelle,” he said. “We’ve got some catching up to do. We’ve both been busy.”
8. Sasha and Malia are at the age when the insular protections of the Secret Service may be pushing up against their personal development, Obama said. “They’re ready to go,” the president said of his daughters (in addition to Michelle). “I mean, the girls, obviously, they are now at an age in which the constraints of Secret Service and bubbles and all that stuff have gotten pretty old.”
9. Asked about incoming president Donald Trump’s stream of Tweets about everything from international policy to Meryl Streep, Obama said not to take Trump lightly. “I think everybody has to acknowledge, don’t underestimate the guy, because he’s going to be 45th president of the United States,” Barack said.
Tell Us: Were you surprised by Obama’s interview details? Why will you miss (or not miss) the president?
60 Minutes airs on CBS Sundays at 7 p.m. ET.
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