First Lady Michelle Obama Shares With Oprah Why She Won't Run For President

"People don't really understand how hard this is."

In the nearly eight years since her husband first took office, Michelle Obama has become one of America's most beloved first ladies. This year, between her rousing DNC speech (which introduced the oft-repeated mantra, "When they go low, we go high") and her position as one of Hillary Clinton's strongest campaign assets, many Americans only grew to admire her more. 

Even before Election Day, calls for Mrs. Obama to run for president swarmed social media. Now, with Donald Trump as the president-elect and the Obamas' time in the White House nearing its end, the idea of seeing them return in 2020 has only become more appealing. In October, President Obama said that his wife "will never run for office." Still, many have held out hope.


We may want to place our focus on a different candidate, however, as Mrs. Obama herself has now made it clear that her plans for the future do not include a presidential campaign. In an interview which aired Monday night on CBS, Oprah Winfrey asked the first lady point blank, "Would you ever run for office?"

Her immediate response? "No."

And yes, she means it. "Look, that's one thing I don't do — I don't make stuff up, I'm not coy," she said. "I have proven that. I'm pretty direct. If I were interested in it, I'd say it. I don't believe in playing games."

Mrs. Obama went on to say that the public's strong desire to see her run "speaks to the fact that people don't really understand how hard this is, and it's not something that you cavalierly just sort of ask a family to do again."

"Let me just tell America, this is hard. It's a hard job. I said it on the campaign trail. It requires a lot of sacrifice. It is a weighty thing, and it's not something that you even look to one family to take on at that level for that long of a period of time ... I wouldn't do that to my kids, because what people don't understand is that you run, their lives stop, at any age. I mean, the next family that comes in here, every person in that family — every child, every grandchild — their lives will be turned upside down in a way that no American really understands."

For Mrs. Obama, one of her biggest personal sacrifices as first lady has been her anonymity. "There's nowhere in the world I can go and sit and have a cup of coffee and watch the world," she said.

But she also shared how proud she is of her accomplishments in the position, saying, "One of the greatest things [is] when I see young women — particularly African-American women, but young women generally — seeing somebody educated, strong, outspoken, just seeing that on a regular basis."

Hear the first lady's full comments on running for office in the video below:


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