tv First Ladies CNN February 7, 2021 5:30pm-7:00pm PST
>> she hasn't forgotten that journey and the challenges that she faced. >> in this great country, where a girl from the south side of chicago can go to college and law school and the son of a single mother from hawaii can go all the way to the white house. >> it's the idea that you can break through. that much more is possible than you might have thought. michelle still carries that forward. every time she walks into a room. >> when you've worked hard and done well and walked through that doorway of opportunity, you do not slam it shut behind you. no, you reach back and you give other folks the same chances that helped you succeed. >> from the moment they enter into the white house, it becomes historic. but this is also a representation of americans' better selves. >> that is the story of this country. the story that has brought me to this stage tonight. the story of generations of people who felt the lash of
bondage, the shame of servitude, the sting of segregation, but who kept on striving and hoping and doing what needed to be done. [ cheers ] so don't let anyone ever tell you that this country isn't great, that somehow we need to make it great again. because this right now is the greatest country on earth. [ cheers ] ♪ ♪ >> when you were little, did you ever want to be the first lady? >> no, i didn't. i didn't know i could be the first lady. sometimes you can only be what
you know exists in the world. and no one like me was ever the first lady of the united states. [ cheers and applause ] >> all first ladies are thrust into the spotlight, but michelle obama will be scrutinized more intensely than any of her predecessors. we talk about civil rights history, we talk about the series of firsts. this is within our lifetime. >> are you prepared to take the oath, senator? >> i am. >> it took my breath away. and i thought, oh, my gosh, this is really happening. >> i stand here today humbled by the task before us. >> the sea of humanity spread as far as the eye can see. >> mindful of the sacrifices born by our ancestors. >> the reality of what they were about to embark on must have been very, very vivid for her at that moment. >> michelle traveled farther and overcame more on her journey to the white house than any first lady before her.
>> she knew that she was making history and that her movements would be scrutinized ten times, 100 times more than any other first lady. >> everything that michelle obama has been doing in her life has really been preparing her to walk this tightrope. >> michelle was integral to barack obama's presidential campaign from the beginning. >> so we're looking forward to the first day of school. welcome back. i know that all the parents out here are happy to have their kids out of their house. [ laughter ] you can admit it. let's give a cheer for that. >> 15 months before the election, polls show barack obama trailing hillary clinton by double digits. >> we've got two beautiful little girls and we have a wonderful life. nothing would have been more disruptive than a decision to
run for president of the united states. >> she knew enough about race in america, about breaking barriers, to know what that would mean for her. that she would face constant criticism, constant scrutiny. who would raise their hand enthusiastically and say sign me up for that? >> you know the reason why i said yes was because i am tired of being afraid. [ applause ] the game of politics is to make you afraid so that you don't think. we have a chance to make something real happen. think about that. and help us. >> in schools, churches, county fairs across iowa, michelle tells their story to voters month after month after month. >> for someone who avoided politics for much of her life, she had to take a crash course. his political career was very separate from her. >> michelle has never publicly engaged in any of her husband's political campaigns but she was influential behind the scenes. >> my first meaningful exchange
with michelle was when we were filming our first ad. >> i'm barack obama. i'm running for the united states senate and i approve this message to say, yes, we can. >> he turned to me and said yes, we can, yes, we can. is that too corny? he turned to michelle and said, what do you think? she said, not corny. so right away i saw where i stood in the pantheon of strategic advisers. but other than that, she was happy to keep her distance from all of it. >> what many people don't know, she was actually the breadwinner in the family. vice president of community affairs and outreach at the university of chicago. that is a big job and it's a job that she loved. it. >> all changed, of course, when he decided to run for president. >> i said i'm not giving up my career for my husband.
i'm giving up my career because i'm passionate about this. >> when we started, we were pretty casual about it because michelle was such an impressive person and we thought she's going to kill out there. >> let me tell you a little bit about michelle obama. i'm a south side girl. very simple. my parents were working class folks. what we saw in my household was hard work and sacrifice first hand. >> she just told them her story. and her story is not that different than half the people she would meet in iowa. she talked about her parents and how she was raised. >> my father had multiple sclerosis. but he went to work every single day. he was never late and he never made excuses. >> and then she moved into the barack obama years. >> mixed guy named barack obama who grew up in hawaii. that's what i learned about him on paper. i thought this guy's got to be weird. >> she knows her husband probably seems as unorthodox to her audiences as he did to her back in 1989. >> michelle was involved in recruiting a prominent law firm
in chicago. across her desk comes the resume of this hot shot from harvard who is being brought in as a summer associate. the firm asked if she would be his mentor. she meets him the first day. he shows up late but they hit it off. at a certain point barack is interested in something more. he wants to go out on a date. she agrees. >> i learned that he became a community organizer. i was impressed. this guy could have been making money but he's working on the far south side what a bunch of churches. >> the entrance of barack obama into her life really shifted where she was headed. >> i met mrs. obama in the summer of 1991 when she was michelle robinson. her resume was sent to me. it said a brilliant young lawyer exploring opportunities of public service. i gave her a job offer on the spot. a few days later, she said, i have bad news. my fiance doesn't think it's a good idea. i said who is your fiance and what does it matter what he thinks? i think they were mature before
their time. there was not a step that he took without her sitting right there as well. it was true partnership. >> in her memoir "becoming," she describes their wedding in october 1992. we stood there with our futures still unwritten. whatever was out there, we would step into it together. 15 years later, their shared future takes a dramatic turn. obama surges from behind to win iowa. michelle's months on the stump pay off. but now the couple must confront a new kind of challenge. >> there were concerns about his security that were very real and very dark. >> barack obama is given a security detail earlier than any other presidential candidate in history. >> there was a resignation in the black community that you cannot rise up without being shot down.
>> we've seen what has happened to iconic black leaders in america. >> med gar evers, malcolm x, dr. king. if you come from the black community, almost every hero you read about was killed, and only michelle, who certainly had more to lose than the rest of us in the risk he was taking, could reassure people that it was worth the risk. >> we need a barack obama presidency right now. [ cheers ] >> she would go in a room and she wouldn't leave the room until every single person in that room was committed. but because she was so effective, she came under attack. >> hope is making a comeback. it is making a comeback. and for the first time in my adult lifetime, i'm really proud of my country. and not just because barack has done well, but because i think people are hungry for change.
>> it is an unfortunate statement. i don't think it came out the way she intended. in the words of desi arnaz, she has some 'splaining to do. >> it's a tough time to be black. to say we're on the verge of putting some of that behind us, she got smacked down hard for it. >> i just want to make the statement that i am and always will be proud of my country. >> a conversation we didn't need to have but apparently we do. this, ladies and gentlemen, is called the fist pound. >> the reaction to the fist bump was ridiculous. >> could they even be jihadists? >> that's what one person suggested on fox news. >> one television network referred to her as barack obama's baby mama. >> michelle obama was met with every single negative stereotype about african-american women. and i think there were forces that felt if they assaulted her
enough, maybe she and her entire family would just go away. but they didn't. >> i called her in to show her what people were seeing, and i turned the sound down and just let her see herself. >> in a country, in a world based on fear -- >> she got it immediately. >> she was out on the campaign trail getting more and more passionate and she had been so effective that i didn't see that it was being perceived as angry. >> the easy trope of the angry black woman, when in fact what she was displaying was passion. >> nobody had taken the time to flag for her sooner that she has to stop and pause and smile, or she has to use her hand gestures in a different way. >> she felt like she had failed. and she wasn't used to failing.
>> she had a choice to make. go back home and pick up life with her children and her high-powered job, or did she just try to figure it out? >> in her memoir, michelle remembers the impact of that moment. this was a turnaround point. no one, i realized, was going to look out for me unless i pushed for it. after a year and a half on the campaign trail, michelle that's why dove renews your skin's ceramides and strengthens it against dryness for softer, smoother skin you can lovingly embrace. renew the love for your skin with dove body wash. the world needs more love than ever. a new goddess is here to help cupid. and make love shine even brighter. say hello to valentina. it's the valentine's day gifting event. get 25% off everything. zales.
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the campaign trail, michelle prepares for her national debut. >> for people, this would be their first chance to really get to know her. >> and i come here as a mom whose girls are the heart of my heart and the center of my world. >> she practiced her stump over and over and over again. >> and that's who she is. she prepares. >> and barack and i were raised with so many of the same values, that you treat people with dignity and respect even if you don't know them and even if you don't agree with them. [ cheers and applause ] >> her favorable rate jumped 20 points overnight. >> let's stand together to elect barack obama president of the united states of america. thank you. >> that was a real watershed event in her public life.
>> michelle has survived a political trial by fire and emerges a star. >> malia, sasha, how do you think mom did? >> i think she did good. >> boosting her husband's popularity as well as her own. >> i think so too. >> and here we are. now cnn can project at 11:00 eastern time, that barack obama is the next president of the united states, the first african-american president in u.s. history. >> it feels like something really big and bold has happened here. like nothing ever in our lifetimes did we expect this to happen. >> i would not be standing here tonight without the unyielding support of my best friend for the last 16 years. >> in her memoir, michelle describes that night. >> the love of my life -- >> it felt like her family got launched out of a cannon into some strange underwater universe.
>> the nation's next first lady, michelle obama. [ cheers ] >> i still get verklempt thinking about what it meant, that image of this splendid african-american family, now the first family of the country. >> the next day, headlines said change has come to america. and i remember thinking at the time, people will interpret that headline in very different ways. >> on inauguration day, everyone was celebrating, but there was in the back of everyone's mind, the fact in the morning, we were going to come in to face an epic financial crisis, two wars, and more pressures than any president had faced probably since franklin roosevelt. and michelle, the god's honest truth, i don't think she knew what she would make of the position and it took her some
time to figure it out. >> there is, as michelle puts it, no handbook for incoming first ladies. >> the role of the first lady is a throwback. we set up the white house as a royal court, in a way. and i think for michelle obama, a modern woman, a career woman, to suddenly be the great man's wife was an adjustment. >> she describes the role as a strange kind of sidecar to the presidency. >> the first lady is not a job. hillary clinton learned that when she turned it into a job. we don't want that. that's going too far. >> she said the one that she took the greatest inspiration from was laura bush. >> after a bruising campaign, michelle is determined to control her own message. >> she starts with a simple statement, deeper than it first appears.
>> how would you define your role as first lady? >> you know, i joke that my first job is going to be mom in chief because with little kids i have to make sure that their feet are on the ground. >> obviously she's going to be mom in chief. >> she's not shy about being the mom in chief. >> describe her role more as first lady. >> she was concerned about her daughters but was also just a savvy way of saying, don't worry. i'm not here to make policy despite my executive experience. >> if i want to play the traditional first lady role, i can play the traditional first lady role, but don't be fooled. in a country that consistently demonizes black mothers, welfare queens, drug addicts, because of the decline of the black family. a statement as simple as, i'm first mom and that's my priority, is something that is profound because it's something
that's been denied for black women for so long. >> she decided that in creating her role as first lady, that she was always going to keep in mind the young michelle obama. she says in her memoir, i grew up to the sound of striving. that's what the south side of the chicago was. one of the biggest receptacles for people who were living alabama and mississippi. >> michelle's great aunt and great uncle bought a house on the south shore and invited michelle's mother and father, and of course, michelle and craig, who were then toddlers to move in with them. >> she grew up with cousins around the corner and grandparents around the corner. >> her parents and grandparents were ambitious, they were smart but there were obstacles every step of the way. >> i grew up playing basketball
with michelle's older brother craig. they were shaped by the community. they were forged by the community. and i think she acutely felt the inequity in resources, the inequity in education opportunity. >> in many ways, chicago is the place to create michelle obama. it's a place that is undergirded by a lot of the racial tensions in inequality that will shape her viewpoint in the world. >> this is where dr. king went and was defeated. the poverty and the racism in chicago is so profound that even dr. king can't move it an inch. >> i have never seen even in mississippi and alabama a mob as hostile and hate-filled as i've seen in chicago. >> chicago is a place where politicians are corrupt and idealists go to get defeated. she grew up in the middle of all that. it had been a very long time since politics had been a source
of inspiration for anybody. >> for many, the obamas represent the triumph of inspiration of politics but her optimism is tempered by what she calls the ugly red versus blue dynamic which has taken over washington. >> she goes to watch her husband give his first speech to a joint session of congress. >> members of congress, the first lady of the united states. [ applause ] >> she's looking over this sea as she describes it, a sea of whiteness and maleness. this is ceremonial.
but it's more than that. it's symbolic. >> now is the time to act boldly and wisely. >> she is very aware of the body language and the expressions of many republicans in a way that their arms are crossed. >> in her memoir, michelle recalls that republican members of congress looked obstinate and angry. >> the american people expect to us to build common ground. >> more than anything, she adds, it seemed they just wanted barack to fail. >> thank you and god bless you. and may god bless you and the united states of america. >> she watches as all the republicans remain seated but the first lady is being watched as well. the next day she gets a lesson about life in the spotlight. >> this may have been one of the most talked-about moments from last night. michelle obama and her sleeveless dress. >> style over substance. it's always unfair, but it was especially unfair for michelle obama because jackie kennedy wasn't criticized for completely changing the look of the first lady. >> with michelle obama showing a liking for the sleeveless look, even in winter, baring arms has a whole new meaning inside the
beltway. >> the people zeroed in on her arms because they were not the arms of a fragile damsel who was white. nonwhite americans have for years looked at a white first lady and were so able to say that she represented them. but i think it becomes much more challenging for some white americans to look at a black first lady and see themselves in her. instead, they simply saw her as an alien. ♪ at panera, when we make a pizza... we don't just “make a pizza.” we use fresh, clean ingredients... to make a masterpiece. order our new pepperoni and four cheese flatbread pizzas for delivery or pickup today. panera.
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four months into the obamas' first term, michelle takes her first official trip abroad accompanying her husband to london for the g-20 summit. >> that level of scrutiny is unlike anything you have ever experienced and will ever experience. everything that's going on on camera could at any given point become a thing. ♪ >> the first lady is a hugger. she hugs all kinds of people. she hugged the queen. people clutched their pearls. >> the big deal is the queen is an almost sacred person. perhaps not known in the republics. >> the queen seemed fine. i think she hugged her back.
the queen made the first move. for all i know, this is a break of white house protocol. >> the next day while her husband huddles with other g-20 leaders, the cameras follow michelle and she meets with their spouses. >> but she wasn't going to go as a figure head and a spouse. she actually wanted to interact with real people. and so michelle makes a solo visit to a girls' school a few miles across london but worlds away from buckingham palace. >> everyone had rumors going around, whispers on the playground. >> i remember seeing snipers on the roof and thinking, okay, this is someone really important. >> please welcome to the stage the first lady of the united states of america. [ cheers ] >> michelle writes, looking at those london girls, i almost felt myself falling backwards into my own past. she said, i see myself in them. and i'm not sure that we've heard first ladies speak like that before. she grew up surrounded by a lot of people who weren't able to go as far as their talents would
take them. they were placing all their hopes and their dreams and their children. >> you have to be stronger, smarter, you have to be twice as good with half the resources. and this is something that michelle's family, her community, her experiences really instill in her. >> there's a little bit of vertigo in that, being told you're going to bust through that glass ceiling or burst through that wall and take us forward. >> all of are you jewels. you are precious and you touch my heart. and it is important for the world to know that there are wonderful girls like you all over the world. >> she started reading her remarks, and then she stopped reading her remarks and she just talked. >> we are counting on every single one of you to be the very best that you can be.
because the world is big and it's full of challenges. and we need strong, smart, confident young women to stand up and take the reins. we know you can do it. we love you. thank you so much. [ cheers and applause ] >> that simple statement, i see myself in them, there's so much in that, and not just saying that, but then figuring out how to act on that. >> my name is alex acosta. i'm 12 years old and i want to ask what is your job as first lady? >> what's my job? i don't know, that's a good question. >> every first lady is expected to have at least one crusade. barbara bush, literacy. nancy reagan, say no to drugs. >> what can do i that is useful with this role? >> michelle wants to focus on young people, but that still leaves a lot of options.
>> mrs. obama set some ground rules for us. one was that there is only one elected person in the building and that's the president. so whatever we do should be in service of his agenda. because otherwise why are we doing it? >> michelle's crusade was to empower children and their parents to eat better. >> the president and congress are going to begin to address health care reform. nearly a third of the children in this country are either overweight or obese. >> there will be less of a burden on health care if people did eat better. >> the scope of michelle's initiative is strategically masked by her simple opening move which she describes as a harmless and innocent undertaking by a lady with a spade. >> hi! elmo and his friends are here with someone very, very special, the first lady, mrs. michelle obama. >> hi, everyone.
we're here digging up soil because we're about to plant a garden. >> get some shovels. come on. let's go, let's go. >> i came to help do dinner but also help her develop a big health initiative. when you have one in three kids on track to have diabetes in their lifetime, it doesn't matter what we do with health care if we don't solve that side of the problem. and the garden was step one. when we were doing our first planting, there's kids running around and you could hear all the cameras clicking constantly. she looked at me like, this better work. >> there they are. it's all pretty cute. of course we're all in favor of healthy eating, but is this really the best way got first lady to use her considerable influence? >> let's move! let's move! >> now to first lady michelle obama. she's out promoting her let's move campaign and taking the motto to heart. >> every time we saw her jumping rope, playing football, hula hooping, all those fun things were very strategic ways that we were weaving in these values in our culture. >> instead of just talking about this problem and wringing our
hands, it is time to do something about this. >> helping kids get healthier, that seems like a solvable problem. >> the united states was entering a very partisan, very polarized environment. and even something as innocuous as eating better became politicized. >> many of michelle's actions have been symbolic. but when she openly supports a legislative agenda, the gloves come off and the attacks ramp up. >> 31 million american children participate in the federal school meals program, and many of these kids consume as many as half their calories daily at school. >> she has the audacity to say, maybe kids should eat good food. now, this strikes me as a noncontroversial thing for a mom to say. >> we'll start by updating the law that sets nutrition standards for what our kids eat at school. >> and yet you would have thought she was ushering in
stalinism through the lunch room. >> who should be making decisions, what you eat, school choice? should it be the government or the parents? it should be the parents. >> there are conservative republican who's are always looking for evidence that democrats want to tell them how to eat. >> it is the nanny state. >> it is not a nanny state. >> some republican conservatives believe democrats would love the federal government to be involved in all aspects of your life. >> it's no longer father knows best or mother knows best. it's what government knows best. >> despite the pushback, michelle stays on message. >> what we're doing is creating a new normal where there just wasn't junk food in the schools. >> and 18 months after launching her garden, she enjoys her first legislative victory. the healthy hunger free kids act passes through the white house with bipartisan support. in december 2010, the president signs it into law. >> my husband worked very hard to make sure that this bill was a priority and i am grateful to you. >> because i would have been sleeping on the couch. [ laughter ]
>> uh-huh. but i am thrilled to be here. we won't go into that. [ laughter ] let's just say, got done. >> it's a big win but the food industry fights back, doubling spending on lobbyists to undermine the law's implementation. >> well, now one of the first lady's major health initiatives is in jeopardy. >> they say pizza qualifies as a vegetable because it has two tablespoons of tomato paste. >> there's a lot of money at stake with selling people unhealthy food. our top issue was to put into main stream culture. that's what we did. >> michelle knows how the handle the political fire that her nutrition campaign draws, but personal attacks are different. >> when people started to hit her, the family, it hit him. it hurt her.
>> the more confident she grows in her role, the more intense these attacks become. >> it was part of a strategy. it was a strategy that tapped into a kind of nativism that we see to this day. in the beginning of the story, barack obama is the star. (burke) at farmers, we know a thing or two because we've seen a thing or two. like how nice it is to switch and save on your auto policy. but it's even nicer knowing that if this happens... ...or this happens... ...or this... ...or even this... ...we've seen and covered it. so, call 1-800-farmers to switch your auto policy and you could save an average of four hundred seventy dollars. get a quote today. ♪ we are farmers. bum-pa-dum, bum-bum-bum-bum ♪
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in the beginning of the story, barack obama is the star. she's in the sidecar. but at a certain point in the presidency, something changed. >> ladies and gentlemen, please welcome michelle obama! >> the first lady in recent memory who so many are fascinated by. >> what she is, who she is, her fashions are real, at least they come across as real. and it makes her a star in her own right. >> michelle embraces pop culture in a way that no other first lady has ever double before. >> she's not a creature of d.c. she didn't consume cable news. she consumed hgtv and "ellen." >> she takes to tv and tv takes to her. >> two years into the first term, michelle steps into a brave new world. >> i just pressed tweet. do i press this? >> she is the first first lady in the age of social media.
and that, too, has transformed the landscape. >> i did it. >> yay! >> i'm pretty certain there was some consternation about the use of social media by the east wing. because it was not done. it was not in anybody's playbook. >> there are all kinds of people in the white house who are there to say no. don't do this. don't take a risk. it's never been done before. >> fairly run, people pay a lot of attention to what the first lady looks like, what the first lady is wearing. and of course, what the first lady says. and you can easily see how a phrase can be twisted around. >> as a lawyer, i was one of the strong naysayers against the president or first lady ever having a twitter account. because words matter. every presidential statement is heavily vetted. >> but we had a young staff who realized that social media was where a lot of the people we were trying to reach were going. >> don't waste your time trying to connect with your kids via email.
that antiquated method is as useless as morse code. [ laughter ] if you really want to get their attention, use symbols, little symbols. >> the first lady was, in a sense, the guinea pig. >> can you do a little dougie? oh, yeah. there we go. >> the west wing came to realize that there's an energy vortex in the east wing that is a little bit different than they'd seen in previous administrations. >> after seeing michelle's success, the west wing follows suit. >> there it goes. my tweet has been posted. that's what i'm talking about. >> they realized how incredibly effective a medium social media was for getting the message across. >> that's going viral. >> happy fourth of july, everyone. >> >> michelle now has a direct line to millions around the country eager to hear her message. but social media is a two-way street. >> careful what you wish for.
>> social media allows people to say things in a public square that they normally wouldn't share at the lunch table. now i'm going to think it, say it and put it out for the whole world to read with the hash just sayin'. there's so much anger and pure hate every time a public person says anything. >> did you see the picture of his wife yesterday? >> like she's her mama dressing up in little clothes. >> the trolling that happened any time there was coverage of her was unlike anything any nader had faced before. michelle faced racism. there's no other way to describe it. >> she wasn't engaging, which was the right thing to do. >> she would get up and really, really early in the morning and she would work out. and she uses that as a way to find the strength to take on life's challenges.
>> that's who he's married to. what does that tell you? >> did you even see that picture? i mean, what is that? >> you could not go to a reputable website, "the washington post," "the new york times," and look at the comments section and scroll down more than an inch and not see n-word, n-word, n-word, monkey, monkey, monkey on any article about michelle obama. >> obama is trying to tell us -- >> she did that weird, fake accent. >> we're in this moment where a good portion of the american public declares we're in a post-racial america. >> and then to be hit wave after wave of just viciousness. >> i'm focused on what's in front of me. >> she didn't blink. >> it is my responsibility to work with all americans. and i want to stay focused on the work rather than, you know --
>> other things. >> other things. >> she tried to ignore most of it but you can't ignore all of it. >> i feel strongly about the fact that barack obama should provide the public with a birth certificate. and he should do it soon. look, his birth certificate. >> the birther movement was an excellent example of where something was completely made up and then used to try to incite hate. >> we're going to send mr. obama home to kenya or wherever it is. we're going to do it. >> he's not even a citizen of the united states. and they're hiding that. >> one in four believe president obama definitely or probably was not born in the united states. >> it was ludicrous. but at the same time, it was in keeping with something that was growing in the country. >> he was more than just finding a reason to disqualify barack hussein obama. it was about finding a reason to disqualify more than 10% of the american population. >> in her memoir, michelle
describes these attacks as crazy and mean-spirited, but also dangerous. >> i have to say that every single day, it was in the back of my mind that it just takes one crazy person. >> she adds, what if someone with an unstable mind loaded a gun and drove to washington? what if that person went looking for our girls? >> this was something that michelle lived with in a really intense way. >> donald trump, michelle continues, with his loud and reckless innuendos, was putting my family's safety at risk. and for this, i could never forgive him. >> she understood the consequences could be fatal for her husband, her children, for herself. but if you get home and your "ooh" is more of a "hmm..." you have 100 days to change your mind. that's the visionworks difference. visionworks. see the difference.
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knowing that her family is a target for violence. >> secret service, 1600 pennsylvania avenue. i need to report shots fired on 17th and constitution northwest. >> i think we were coming back from a trip to hawaii. somebody had shot a rifle from constitution avenue into one of the windows in what is known as the yellow oval. >> seven bullets hit the white house, one smashing a window by the living room. sasha and michelle's mother are inside. >> foot pursuit of an individual that fled from the vehicle. a black honda, ak-47 found in the vehicle. >> the shooter proclaimed that president obama had to be stopped. >> the thought is that we could have been out on the truman balcony. our children played all over. she had been assured it was safe out there. that wasn't the only incident
but she put her head down and trusted the men and women of the secret service to protect her children because she was not going to let undisciplined people tell her how to lead her life ever. she was the first lady of the united states. she was the first lady to all people of the united states, whether they liked her or not. >> i now have the privilege of introducing the star of the show, michelle obama. >> she writes "i understood it was better for all of us not to acknowledge the hate or dwell on the risk." >> she threw open the doors at the white house as a place where americans were allowed to see themselves. >> tonight's event is another way for us to open up the white house and make it the peoples house. >> the idea of the people's house was not new. andrew jackson talked about the white house as the people's house. after 9/11, the white house became a fortress.
michelle obama calling it the peoples house was an effort to -- an element to move it forward. >> michelle said she wanted for people who had never been to the white house be comfortable in a way. >> just get comfortable here. get comfortable with a little greatness. >> we wanted to bring in diverse bodies and people and genders. everybody, we said come on in. >> if you think this day was special and it is because we think you all are special. >> whether it is kids that got in trouble before or college dropouts. >> you belong right here in the white house. >> that is a game changer because they can see themselves there in the future. >> remember this moment and remember the first lady of the united states told us that you can do anything that you want to. >> the 2012 election is only a year away, and the president's approval rating is worrying low. but the first lady's popularity is soaring.
>> people responded to her. she became far more popular than the president himself. >> so i get to speak first while he stands and watches. i love this. look at me adoringly. >> one of the useful roles she played in the white house was to keep him grounded. she was part of a very contemporary marriage. not a marriage that served one man's ego the way so many other white house marriages have. >> heading towards the election, americans are worried about the economy and unemployment and frustratedly gridlock in washington. >> re-elections are the president's to lose. there is a power that comes from incumbency that is hard to defeat in american history. >> he genuinely viewed her as a friend that had his interest at heart and deep, deep insights.
michelle was the president's lifeline to humanity. >> so many people had a hand in our success, from the teachers that inspired us to the janitors that kept our school clean. >> she had a common sense quality that helped to ground these lofty discussions. >> being president does not change who you are. no. it reveals who you are. >> that was enormously valuable. >> let me tell you today, i love my husband even more than i did four years ago or 23 years ago when we first met. >> barack obama comes from behind in the polls to secure a
definitive victory and a second term as president. >> we often said the first election was aspirational. the second was affirmational. >> watching the thousands of performers on inauguration day, michelle does not know that one of them, a high school majorette from chicago will drastically impact what she fights for in her second terms -- term. michelle obama is returning to attend the funeral of a 15-year-old, a bystander shot dead in a chicago park a week after performing at the president's inauguration. >> the 42nd person killed this month in the president's hometown. >> i ran chicago public schools for seven and a half years. on average we had a child killed every two and a half weeks due to gun violence.
>> no matter, no father should ever have to experience this. >> she was a straight a student and she was a casualty of a stray bullet walking home from school and mrs. obama knew it could have been her at any time as a little girl on the southside of chicago. it affected her deeply. >> we thank you and the other officials that have come to comfort. >> a shooting on the streets of chicago rarely sparks national outrage but a mass shooting in an elementary school does. the senate votes on two gun control bills brought about by the massacre at the sandy hook elementary school. 90% backed the measures. both bills are defeated. >> it begs the question who are we here to represent? so all in all, this was a pretty shameful day for washington. >> with the president's
legislative efforts blocked michelle is tackling gun violence the way that she knows best. >> we read that story day after day, month after month, year after year, in the city and around this country. >> while her husband was fighting his own battle about gun rights and trying to reduce the number of guns falling into hands, she used her own platform to talk about gun control. >> i am not talking about something happening in a war zone halfway around the world. i am talking about what is happening in the city that we call home. >> to use her voice in a way that would lift the young people up. >> let me tell you it is hard to know what to say to a room full of teenagers that are about to bury their best friend. >> michelle understood from a very visceral and very personal level how horrific the violence was. she couldn't solve it by herself
but she had to try and create some hope and some inspiration for kids in community that were living on a daily basis with a level of fear and trauma that is unacceptable. it's not right. >> what it takes to build strong, successful young people is not genetics or pedigree or good luck. it's opportunity. i love you guys. >> michelle has been spending time with young people traumatized by gun violence, and a new goddess is here to help cupid. she'll inspire you to celebrate the love that kept you going. the love that just started. the love that stays strong. ♪ she's here to make love shine even brighter. say hello to valentina. it's the valentine's day gifting event. get 25% off everything. zales. the diamond store.
i love you guys. >> michelle has been spending time with young people traumatized by gun violence, and they provide the motivation for her next initiative. >> every scar that you have is a reminder not that just you got hurt, but that you survived. >> it is about creating a sense of opportunity. when that opportunity is unseen >> instead of letting the feelings defeat you, let it motivate you. >> she could have gone eight years and never talked about education. there was probably no better spokesman on the planet than her for this issue. it was like a match made in heaven. ♪ ♪ >> i never thought i would be at the white house trying to get approved a script for the
first lady to do a rap video with someone from saturday night live. people were a little worried. are we going to make mrs. obama look foolish? are people go to say that is not what a first lady should be doing? we get the edit back. people in the office were like i don't know, is this going to be okay? i knew something was going right when it was trending in italian and had 23 million views in 24 hours. >> michelle's campaign is aimed at kids who might think college is out of reach. >> tell us where you are going next with the hashtag reach higher. >> while the administration offers grants, loans and tabs credits -- >> education is the economic issue of all time. >> michelle's approach is more personal. >> i want you all to succeed. i want you to understand how people like me go from being kids like you to standing here
as first lady of the united states? >> mrs. obama feels that sense of luck and the sense of privilege. >> if i can do it, you can do it. >> that is why she spent her life and her career trying to make sure everyone had the same opportunities she had. >> she was visceral and emotional and it stems from her own life experience. >> i set my sights high. i decided i was going to princeton. >> she was that public school kid who had a college counselor that she wasn't good enough to get into princeton. >> they told me i would never get into a school like princeton. i still hear that doubt ringing in my head. so if there is anybody telling you that you are not college material, i want you to brush them off, prove them wrong. >> this was not just some issue that was important to her. this was her life story. this defined her. this was who she was. >> i remember it like it was yesterday. and feeling like what am i doing here. >> in her memoir, michelle recalls arriving at princeton from the southside and feeling like a pop see seed in a bowl of
rice. i never stood out in a crowd or a classroom because of the color of my skin. >> princeton in 1981 was very white and until recently entirely male. >> princeton was a wonderful but not always welcoming environment. she was viewed as someone that there because of affirmative action and seen somewhat through suspicious eyes. >> when it came time for michelle to write her senior thesis she said princeton made her more aware of her blackness than any time in her life and at times she felt other students saw her as a black person first and student second. >> her thesis was very obvious about the way racial exclusion shapes educational experience. but during the 2008 campaign, it was used to fuel a narrative that michelle obama is racist, anti-white, essentially angry.
>> it was gibberish. >> boring. resentful. slightly sinister. >> qualities in a white potential first lady would have been celebrated. deep curiosity, ivy league education. all of these qualities were degraded. >> michelle's response to these attacks is mirrored in the message she shared with these students, work harder, reach higher. some young african-americans are being attacked by more than words. >> we begin with the latest in the travyon martin case. >> unarmed teen, michael brown. >> eric garner's death at the hands of a police officer. >> his last words, i can't breathe. >> the road ahead is not going to be easy. it never is, especially for folks like you and me.
>> michelle doubles down on her message of hope. >> after the 2012 election the caution that really defined the obamas during the first administration, some of that goes by the wayside. >> no matter how far that you rise in life and how hard that you work to be a good person and a good parent and a good citizen, for some folks it will never be enough. >> we see a michelle obama that is less coy about race. >> it can make you feel like your life somehow doesn't matter and those feelings are playing out in communities like baltimore and ferguson and so many others across this country. >> you can say it would have been massive opportunity to say something transformative, but at the same time she's still operating within the boundaries of the white house. >> she's quite clear about the
role of poverty and sexism and racism, but she is also not going to let anybody off the hook. she's going to tell you all, look, it sucks, it's bad, but you are born for more than that. >> today i want to be very clear that those feelings are not an excuse to just throw up our hands and give up. they are not an excuse to lose hope. >> five, four, three, two, one. >> one month later, the spirit of yes, we can that has taken the obamas so far will be brutally challenged. at 9:05 we received a call of a shooting here. s21 5g. can get a fry the leader in 5g coverage. the fastest 5g speeds and a free samsung galaxy s21 5g.
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when all this is over, who will you be? at 9:05 we received a call of a shooting here. on calhoun street. >> in the summer of 2015, a 21-year-old white man joins a bible study at the episcopal church and starts shooting. >> it is unfathomable someone in today's society would walk into a church when people are having a prayer meeting and take their lives. >> the shooter accused the black congregation of taking over the country. nine people are killed. >> too long we have been blind to the way that past injustices continue to shape the present. >> what does it mean to be proud to be the first african-american
inhabitants in the white house and know that it's linked to movements and individuals that see that as an affront to things that are rightfully theirs. their progress riled up some of the worst forces in our world. it really does create, i think, this deep existential sense of our presence may lead to the absence of others. >> the way to defeat hope is to make people angry and resentful. we're going to make you angry that these people are in the white house and we're going to make you certain that every problem you face, every misfortune is the fault of people like that. >> hatred is really just fear in a different octave. at the end of the term she was
using her voice to speak to the hatred and the fear that she had. >> here in america we don't give into our fears and build up walls to keep people out. we know that our greatness has always depended on contributions from people that are born elsewhere but sought out this country and made it their home. >> it was an expectation that they in particular would lead the conversation about race. >> that is the american story. >> people didn't think they did it enough. >> it is the story that i witness every day when i wake up in a house that was built by slaves, and i watch my daughters, two beautiful black young women, waving good-bye to their father, the president of the united states. >> they kind of talked about it all the time in subtle ways and often in ways that just kind of went right over people's heads. >> you are the living, breathing
proof that the american dream endures in our time. it's you. >> you might have heard someone jumped the white house fence last week, but i have to give secret service credit. they found michelle, brought her back. she is safe, back at home now. only nine more months, baby. settle down. >> the obamas' time in the white house is coming to a close. >> last question, make it a good one. >> michelle makes no secret of her relief. >> were you going to work after you be the first lady? >> i don't know. >> she was ready. >> my kids are growing up. >> in her opinion, it was time to go. >> it was hard to believe that it has been eight years. >> in michelle's final convention appearance, she delivers a rebuke to donald
trump's attack on their family, sharing the mantra they used in the years in the white house. >> i told you about our daughters, how we urged them to ignore those that question their's father citizenship or faith. how we explain that when someone is cruel or acts like a bully, you don't stoop to their level. no, our motto is when they go low, we go high. >> for two terms, for eight years, she had been criticized for tiny little things. both of them bent over backwards to respect presidential norms, and yet in the campaign they see someone who doesn't care about them. >> i am automatically attracted to beautiful -- i just start kissing them. you can do anything.
>> she felt she had to say something. knowing that people looked to to her for inspiration. >> i can't believe i am saying that a candidate for president of the united states has bragged about sexually assaulting women. >> she shook off her supreme caution that she had exercised for eight years. >> too many are treating this as just another day's headline. >> she became a great first lady because she spoke for so many. >> as if our outrage is overblown or unwarranted. as if this is normal. just politics as usual. >> i think she reached eleanor roosevelt territory. >> but new hampshire, be clear. this is not normal. this is not politics as usual.
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michelle spends election night watching a movie. as the messages start coming in she heads off to bed. >> donald trump wins the presidency. >> the day after election day was extremely difficult, and i think that none of us wanted to go to work but we all picked ourselves up. we came into the office. mrs. obama e-mailed the chief of staff and i at the time and said i would like to talk to the staff. >> the first lady brought us all together and she said i want to hear from you all. how do you feel? >> people were afraid that a lot of the work that we poured our hearts and souls into would be
unwound. >> she assured us what we did was remarkable and to go on and continue that. this house was just the beginning for some of us, but it is not the end. the trumps came to the white house the next day. >> it was the same day that lebron james and the cavaliers were coming, too. we didn't have much time to think until it was done. >> we celebrated the last few months at the white house and we accomplished more than we ever could have imagined with the spotlight on us no other administration ever had. >> maybe you still can't believe we pulled this whole thing off. let me tell you, you are not the only ones. michelle. [ cheers and applause ] you took on a role you didn't
ask for with grace and with grit and with style and good humor. you made the white house a place that belongs to everybody and a new generation sets its sights higher because it has you as a role model. >> she was exhausted. we were all exhausted. i mean, the dogs were probably exhausted. it's like you're running a marathon for eight years and then all of a sudden it stops. >> january 20, 2017 michelle obama walks out of the white house for the last time. >> one of the things that struck me knowing her as i do was how chilly michelle was toward the
new president. and she sent a very strong message, i thought, through her body language. >> on inauguration day 2017 we see michelle obama who has slicked back her hair and shows none of the usual care we see in moments of political import. it's such a clear moment. it's such a clear moment that she's over it and done. >> michelle stays out of the limelight for a time and then bursts back on to the scene. more than any other first lady, michelle obama has become a symbol of hope and possibility for millions across the united states and beyond. >> she redefined the role of first lady on her own terms. >> her background is something that she celebrates as much as her accomplishments.
i think that is one of the reasons why she is such a unique first lady. >> each of us has a mission in this world. >> she gave a lot of kids around the country permission to be themselves. walk a little taller, think a little bit bigger, dream a little bit higher. >> my story can be your story. >> i think that is her legacy. >> are you listening to me? do you hear what i'm telling you? >> as great as michelle obama was in the white house, she's free now and you have not heard or seen anything yet. >> i always knew from the first time that i met her that she was special. she always had this inner strength and tenacity and conviction and compassion. >> so don't be afraid. do you hear me? young people, don't be afraid. be determined. lead by example with hope. never fear. >> yes, she has grown mightily. but the core essence of michelle
robinson who i met in 1991 is still there today. >> being your first lady has been the greatest honor of my life, and i hope i've made you proud. the following is a cnn special report. she is the first. vice president kamala harris. >> kamala harris harris solemnly swear. rising to the highest office ever held by a woman in the united states. >> so help me god. >> a lifetime of shattering boundaries as a woman of color. >> i knew she was a person of destiny. >> the system needs drastic repair. >> challenging the status quo.