First it looks like the President's hope springs eternal when it comes to reaching out to Republicans.
Parade: You said recently that the mistake of your first few years was thinking the job was just about getting the policy right—that, in fact, you have to tell a story. At the end of the Democratic convention, if you can do it in one sentence, what’s the story people should understand?
PO: As hard as the last decade’s been for a lot of middle-class families, we’ve got all the tools we need to succeed. We’ve got the best workers in the world, the best entrepreneurs in the world, the best colleges and universities in the world, we’ve got incredible diversity, and we’re a young nation. What’s preventing us from taking advantage of it is our politics. What we need right now is an end to the uncompromising views that have so dominated Washington.
Parade: So how are you going to talk to Republicans differently if you are reelected?
PO: Republican voters, if you ask them about my particular policy positions, often agree with me. So there’s a difference between Republicans in Washington and Republican and Republican-leaning voters around the country. I think that after this election, we’ll be in a position to once again reach out to Republicans and say that the American people have rendered a judgment, and the positions we’re taking are well within what used to be considered bipartisan centrist approaches.
Parade: Are you saying there’ll be a difference in how you approach Republicans, or their attitude will be different if you get reelected?
PO: My approach has been pretty consistent from the start; I’ve often proposed ways to solve our problems that used to be embraced by Republicans. There’s no better example than the health care bill, which was designed originally by the now Republican standard-bearer and is working pretty well in Massachusetts. The Recovery Act that helped us avoid a depression, a third of it was tax cuts. My hope is that the Republican Party, post election, steps back and says, “Now that we’re not so worried about beating the president, maybe we should spend a little time focusing on solving the problems.
You know THIS is one of the things that drives me crazy, and that is when the Republicans claim that the President was the one who stopped reaching across the aisle, when in fact it was THEY who decided right out of the gate to sabotage EVERYTHING the President put forward as a policy. And every time the President reached a little further to compromise, he lost a little bit more of his base, and essentially allowed the Republicans to manipulate him into appearing weak.
He wasn't weak, he was just trying to do his job, and keep his promise to the American people to try and rein in partisanship. The Republicans needed him to fail, and did everything in their power to make that happen.
The President makes a good point about his health care plan being initially a Republican idea, but I am not NEARLY as optimistic as he is about Republicans coming around after this election. However this is one of those times that I would REALLY like to be proven wrong.
Here are a few questions for BOTH the President and the First Lady. (I found these questions really demonstrated the strong love between the Obamas, which seems very obvious in how they finish each others sentences and tease each other.)
Parade: One last reader question. Robyne H. of Maryland writes, "From all appearances you have a wonderful marriage. Can you share one occasion when you were absolutely furious, Mrs. Obama, with your husband? And Mr. President, how did you make it up to her?"
PO: The problem is that she’s got so many examples, that may take …
Oh, pick one!
MO: This last three and a half years, it’s been hard to be really furious at him, because he’s working so hard and doing it at great personal sacrifice, but he’s still managing to be the father and husband he was before. So I have a harder time taking [issue with] his little foibles, whether it’s leaving his shoes out or not.
Parade: Are they still there?
MO: You know, we have people [here] who pick them up. [Otherwise] they’d still be there.
PO: My pants would still be hanging on the top of the door.
MO: But little things, like, I’m waiting for him today for 30 minutes, ’cause I’m always waiting for him. He comes down and he’s, “All right, let’s go!” And it’s like, “Oh, so now you’re in a rush?”
PO: She’s more punctual than I am. I’m going to help her out—
MO: What, you remember something I was really furious about?
PO: Well, I think the hardest time in our marriage was when our kids were really young. And that’s probably not unusual when you’ve got a working—
MO: —two working—
PO: —two working parents. Because no matter how enlightened men like to think they are when it comes to child rearing and balancing work, I think it falls a little harder on women.
MO: And the emotions are different. My emotions about my role as a mother are a lot more — not to say that he doesn’t want to be the best father, but he’s much more laid back about it and I’m much harder on myself, like many mothers.
PO: My general view was, if the girls went out and their hair didn’t look great, I was [chuckles], “Well, we’re busy right now.”
MO: Or they didn’t do anything all summer …
PO: Send them outside, let them run around.
MO: Or did they get tutoring? And he’s like, “They’re smart enough. They’re fine.” That’s him. That’s absolutely him.
PO: As the girls get older and more independent, that relieved some of your stress.
MO: And then you see, actually, they turned out okay.
PO: They turned out okay. They’re a little more resilient.
MO: And they feel loved, and they love us.
I have been married twice and I can tell you that it is very hard to fake this kind of easy affection. They might be able to pull off a few PDA's but this kind of banter and good natured teasing is harder to fake.
I think it humanizes them in a way that I certainly did NOT see with the interviews that were conducted with Mitt and Ann Romney. Not that the Romneys aren't in love, just that there were a lot of set pieces trotted out to decorate Mitt's bland life and to make him appear more compassionate and interesting than I think he actually is in REAL life.
Just my opinion of course.
P.S. There was, of course, mush more. And if you want to read it just click the link at the top.