Remarks by the First Lady in Q&A With Children at Take Our Daughters and Sons To Work Day
11:32 A.M. EDT
MRS. OBAMA: Well, you guys, welcome to the White House again. How many of you have been here before? Oh, gosh. This is old hat for you guys. All right. So let me tell you this, there’s one thing I would say: Don’t say, “Do you remember me?” Because you guys grow every year and you change so much. So who -- what you looked like last year is very different, because I can see some faces I do remember, and you guys have grown, okay? So stop it. Stop growing! That’s what I tell my kids, “Please stop growing!” (Laughter.)
Well, as you know, each year, we guys -- get you to come in and see what your moms and dads and families do here at the White House. And every time you come, I thank you guys. And I’m going to do that again, because this is going to be our last year doing this. And I think you guys are terrific, because I know your parents are busy -- when they work here, they have a lot to do and it takes up time. I know my kids sometimes, they’re a little grumpy when me and their dad have to travel or we miss something because of work. And I know it’s hard on you guys too.
But as I’ve said each year, because you guys do what you’re supposed to do -- you do your homework, you listen to your parents most of the time -- you make their jobs easier. And we’re all doing this for you. Everything you see us do -- whether we’re working on making the environment healthier or making sure people have health insurance, or the work that I do to make sure that kids are eating healthy -- all of that is to make sure you guys have the future you deserve so you can be great people, sing and dance, playing a sport, studying science.
So I’m proud of you. And I’m particularly proud of Mada. That was a beautiful introduction, and I think you are going to be a phenomenal advocate. You already are. So thank you so much. Let’s give Mada a round of applause. (Applause.)
So you guys know the drill, right? We’re going to ask some questions, let you guys ask some questions. And I’m going to try to go section by section, and I’m going to try to alternate between boys and girls, front and back, okay? But it’s not going to be perfect, so I’ll try to get to as many people as I can.
But we have a first questioner already selected. You want to stand up tell us your -- tell everybody your name. Because I know you, but I want to make sure that everybody else knows who you are too. We just got to meet backstage. So introduce yourself, sweetheart.
CHILD: Okay. Hello. My name is Keniya Brown. And my question for you would be, how do you plan to keep the Let’s Move! program and any other health organisms [organizations] that you’ve already made during the White House -- how do you plan to keep those up?
MRS. OBAMA: That’s an excellent question. You may be seated, my dear. We’re starting to think about that now. We’re trying to figure out what organizations we can continue to work with when we leave the White House, how best to use the new platform as a former First Lady. The President is thinking about the same thing.
But the short answer to the question is, we’re going to keep doing that work and we’re going to figure out what are the best ways we can impact these issues. And we hope that a lot of the stuff that we’ve done here, particularly the White House Kitchen Garden that you guys got to see, that that will continue to be a fixture of the White House so that that won’t go away, so that that’s something that other Presidents and First Spouses and families continue to enjoy and continue to share with the rest of the community and the rest of the country. Because it’s really sparked a conversation about community gardening, and there are more gardens in schools, and kids are eating what’s grown in the garden. It’s really starting to change the conversation.
So we’ll have a better sense of exactly how we’ll do it when we leave. But we’re going to be working on that. One of the things an ex-President has to do is start a presidential library. I don’t know if any of you have ever visited any of the existing presidential libraries -- have you? Is that what your little hand is for? I’ll get to you in a second. But that’s where -- it’s sort of like a museum. It’s part of the Smithsonian. But it’s also a place where people can learn about what the President has done, how his legacy has impacted the nation. And usually it takes a few years before that library is planned and open.
So we’re going to be working on that. That’s a pretty big project. All right? Thanks for being here.
All right, let’s start over on this side and I’ll work each section, okay? Let’s start in the back. I see a young lady way in the back. Yes, you, you! You, young lady. Yes. They’re going to bring you the mic. Speak up. Tell me your name, your age, and if you know where your parent works -- but if you don’t, don’t worry about it.
CHILD: My name is Addison (ph.)
MRS. OBAMA: Speak up just a little more.
CHILD: My name is Addison. I’m 9 years old. I don’t know where my dad works. And my question is, what’s it like to live in the White House?
MRS. OBAMA: It’s very special. But in many ways, living in the White House is -- at least the part of the house that is our home -- like, this floor is sort of the ceremonial floor, right? This is where all the state dinners happen, and all the important stuff. This isn’t where we live every day. We live upstairs, right? And when you get upstairs, it still feels like home. We tried to make sure that our home here at the White House still felt like a regular home. Because, you remember, when we first got here, Malia and Sasha, our daughters, were little. They were in fifth grade and second grade. So it was important to make sure their rooms felt like little-kid rooms, and not like they were living in a museum. We made sure that how we eat dinner and what we do every day feels just like being at home.
Because you can imagine, if you were that age, moving into the White House, you wouldn't want to live in a museum, right? I mean, it would be cool a couple of times, right, maybe -- and sometimes when they were little they’d sneak down here, they’d play hide-and-seek. But the older they got the less excited they were about living in a museum, and they just wanted to live in a regular home where they can have their friends and have sleep-overs.
So, in many ways, it's like living in a museum, part of the house that we share with the world. And we’ve got visitors here -- thousands of people visit the White House every day, and they’re walking through. We've got staff that are walking through sort of the public part of the White House. But then we get on the elevator and go upstairs and it's just a big home. Okay? Does that answer your question? But it's been fun. It's been a lot of fun.
All right, we've got this section. Okay, we're going to go with the young gentleman in the blue with the Polo -- yes, you. What’s your name?
CHILD: My name is Eamon. And my question for you is, how does it feel being on TV the whole time?
MRS. OBAMA: The whole time. (Laughter.) Sometimes it's really, really weird. I don't even like to watch myself on TV. So I usually don't watch the things I do. Like I'll tape something -- because a lot of times when you're on TV, you tape it maybe weeks, sometimes months in advance, and then it comes on later. Just like all this stuff that you guys see me on iCarly and Doc McStuffins, and what else have I done -- guys remind -- Jessie -- that's right, Jessie. I can't forget Jessie. Pitch Perfect -- did I do Pitch Perfect? Okay, see, I'm getting old, I'm forgetting that stuff.
But when we do that, like Jessie -- I taped Jessie like almost three or four years ago. Can you believe that? It's been that long. And then they rerun it. So we tape it and go to the set and I do what I'm supposed to do, and then it airs. And a lot of times I don't even watch it because it's kind of uncomfortable for me to watch myself on TV.
Can you guys understand that? Like I don't want to look and see -- it's, oh, I don't like the way I looked. Oh, I sounded funny. So I just kind of ignore it.
CHILD: I love it.
MRS. OBAMA: You love it? You love being -- I love Jessie, too. We love Jessie, right?
MRS. OBAMA: I mean, the cast is cool. You know the thing I like most about Jessie, is all the cast members in real life, they’re real people, they’re really nice people and they’re smart and they work really hard. Can you imagine being that young and working every day on a TV set, and need to know your lines and do things again and again and again?
MRS. OBAMA: You got to learn some poetry? Poetry is hard. Yes.
So it's fun to do, but I don't like to watch it.
All right, let’s go over here. We're going to do a girl. In that pink coat. Yes, you. What’s your name?
CHILD: My name is Anayah (ph). I was wondering, you like to run, right?
MRS. OBAMA: Yes. I'm a little scared of this question. (Laughter.)
CHILD: There’s a race here -- it's called Girls on the Run --
MRS. OBAMA: Yes, I know Girls on the Run.
CHILD: I was wondering if you could come support us on our 5K run.
MRS. OBAMA: When is your 5K run?
CHILD: May 14th.
MRS. OBAMA: May 14th. You know what, this is one of these important-people responses. I have to check my schedule, because there is stuff they put on my schedule way ahead. But I know Girls on the Run. We work closely with Girls on the Run for our Let’s Move! work. So you're doing a 5K? Did you train for your 5K?
MRS. OBAMA: Are you ready to do this?
MRS. OBAMA: Okay. Well, if I can't come, know that I am supporting you every step of the way, because I'm so proud that you have committed to getting good exercise every day. And running is, like, not that easy, right? Don't you get tired sometimes?
CHILD: I do.
MRS. OBAMA: How many people here, how many kids are runners? I love that. I love that. It is so important for you guys to get exercise on a regular basis. And it doesn’t have to be running. It doesn’t have to be a sport. Some kids are good at sports, but it can be dancing. It can be playing with your dog. It can be going for a walk with your parents. But it is so important for you guys, if you want to grow up to be big and strong and capable, to make sure that you start figuring out how to incorporate exercise in your life in some way, shape, or form. Okay?
Good luck on your race, babe. I’ll be thinking about you. Thank you for the invitation, though.
All right, we’re coming over here. All right, young man in the checkered shirt in the third row. You, yes. You’re looking around -- well, this kid in the third row. What’s your name, babe?
MRS. OBAMA: Logan. Welcome.
CHILD: What’s your favorite thing to do with your dogs?
MRS. OBAMA: Just squeeze them. (Laughter.) I let my dogs do a lot. They can sit on my lap, they sit on my chair, they cuddle with me. I like to lay on the floor with them and blow in their face. (Laughter.) I like to make them run and chase each other. But they’re so cute, I just love to just cuddle them and massage them. I give them massages, I do. That’s why they love me, because they know I’ll give them a massage.
But I just love to love them, you know? I think you guys are going to get a chance to meet them too, hopefully, before you guys -- Bo and Sunny, the very dogs! We don’t have any other dogs, just Bo and Sunny.
All right, let’s come back over here. I’m going to do a girl in this section. Young cutie in the front. Yes, you, in the black and white.
CHILD: Why do you like to exercise a lot?
MRS. OBAMA: Yeah. (Laughter.) Because it makes me feel young. (Laughter.) Because it makes me feel good. It gives me energy, you know? I mean, sometimes -- it doesn’t make sense sometimes that when you’re tired, that doing more work that makes you exert energy would make you feel better, but there’s something about exercise that gets your heart pumping and the blood running that actually makes me feel better.
And when I don’t exercise a lot, I start feeling sluggish and more tired. And I don’t know about you, but I want to live a long time, okay? I want to be -- I’ve said this before -- I want to be, like, a 90-year-old lady that’s really fly, you know? (Laughter.) Do you guys have grandparents that are still pretty fly? They still dress -- you’re like, no. (Laughter.) Well, I want to be one of those grandparents that’s still, like, out in the park running with the grandkids and lifting them up, and maybe doing some runs and things like that. If I want to be that when I’m 90, then I’ve got to be exercising now when I’m 52, okay?
So that’s why I like to exercise. And it’s fun. I try to make it fun.
Okay, we’re coming over here. We’re going to do a -- we’re going to flip it, do a girl here so we can do a boy there so we’re not doing each section the same. Okay. White sweater, hand up, so excited. What’s your name?
CHILD: My name is Rowan (ph.)
MRS. OBAMA: Rowan. How are you? How old are you?
CHILD: I’m 10.
MRS. OBAMA: Ten.
CHILD: And I have two really quick questions.
MRS. OBAMA: Okay.
CHILD: One is, what gave you -- what is your inspiration to do, like, Let’s Move! and Joining Forces and all of those things that you do?
MRS. OBAMA: All my initiatives? Well, they’re kind of different. With Let’s Move!, it’s really -- I’ve seen a lot of kids who are not as healthy as they could be. And when my kids were little, my kids were -- when they were really little, the doctor warned me to make sure that we weren’t giving our kids too much junk food and that they were getting enough exercise.
So I know that when my kids were little, that was something that I had to worry about. So I wanted to make sure that all parents, families were getting the kind of information they needed about how important it is for a child’s overall well-being to make sure they’re getting enough vegetables, not eating too much processed food, not going out to eat at fast-food places too much. Because it does affect how your brain works and what you’re able to do in life.
Because some kids, we were starting to have an obesity epidemic in this country -- we still do. And when kids are morbidly obese at an early age, it makes them more susceptible to things like high blood pressure. They can have strokes and heart attacks when they’re young. And I just sort of thought -- to imagine that these are all preventable things, right? That if parents just knew and got their kids moving, we’d eliminate that issue for kids.
So I was like, I’m going to make sure that more people know about it. So we started Let’s Move!
Now, with Joining Forces -- for those of you who don’t know, Joining Forces is an initiative that Dr. Biden, Jill Biden, who is the Vice President’s wife, and I started. Because Jill Biden had a son in the military, so she was what’s called a Blue Star Mom. And I came to know the military community through campaigning and going on bases and getting to understand all the challenges that these families are facing.
Because most people don’t know -- how many people here belong to a military family? So we’ve got a few military kids. And when your parent is a part of the military, a lot of times kids like you move a lot, right? And when you have to move every couple of years -- the average military kid might be at seven, eight, nine schools in their lives because they’re moving with their parents. A lot of people don’t know that, and how hard that can be on families, right?
Imagine if you had a parent who was deployed year after year -- that means they’re off somewhere fighting in a war and you don’t know how they’re going to be -- that adds pressure to them. And a lot of Americans just didn’t know that these families were out there. They knew about the soldiers that are fighting, right, but they don’t know that back home there are all these amazing families serving right alongside them.
So Jill and I wanted to make sure that the whole country, we were always aware of these families and that we were doing everything we can to thank them and make sure we were supporting them. So those are the reasons I started those two initiatives.
CHILD: Can I have a hug?
MRS. OBAMA: You want a hug? All right, you know, we’re going to do a little hugging afterwards, but if I start hugging, we’ll never get out of here. We’re just going to hug our way out. So I’ll give a few little hugs before I go, okay? All right, sweetie. Thank you!
All right, we’ve got a boy over here, blue T-shirt right in the third row. What’s your name, sir?
CHILD: My name is Joshua.
MRS. OBAMA: Stand up so we can see you, Joshua.
CHILD: And I’m 13.
MRS. OBAMA: Thirteen, ohh, that’s a serious age. What’s your question?
CHILD: Where did you grow up?
MRS. OBAMA: I grew up in Chicago, on the South Side of Chicago. What did you say? Is it what?
MRS. OBAMA: Illinois, yes. Chicago is in Illinois. So that’s where I grew up. I was born and raised there. I went to public school there. Went to grammar school and high school, and then I graduated and went to college, and left home. So Chicago is my home.
All right, let’s go over here. We’re going to go to the back. And we’ve got a young lady in a blue sweater and a white shirt. Yes, you! There you go. What’s your name?
CHILD: My name is Margo (ph.) And I’m 11.
MRS. OBAMA: You had to think about that for a second?
MRS. OBAMA: Like, huh.
CHILD: And my dad works at USTR, over there.
MRS. OBAMA: Nice.
CHILD: And my question was, what is the biggest thing that you’re going to miss when you leave the White House?
MRS. OBAMA: This. Yeah, I’m going to miss all the time I get to spend with kids like you guys. I could do this -- I could sit and talk to you guys all day, every day if they would let me. Because I really do believe that you guy are our future, and if there’s anything that I can do to help kids in our country grow up healthier and smarter, with more opportunities, I think it’s the best investment that we can make.
I love you guys like I love my own kids. I don’t nag you guys as much, but trust me, if you were around me longer I would. So I will miss this. I will miss the opportunities to have a big platform to make a lot of change.
But like I said in the first question, that we’re going to figure out -- the President and I are going to figure out ways to keep doing the things that we love to do even when we’re not here in the White House. All right?
Okay, we’re coming back over here. We’ve got a boy -- all right, you’ve got your hat on -- hat and glasses. Just because you’ve got that hat and glasses on, and I can’t even pretend like I don’t see you. What’s your name?
CHILD: My name is Dominic (ph.)
MRS. OBAMA: How old are you?
MRS. OBAMA: Welcome.
CHILD: And what would you want the next President to do? Like, what would you suggest for the next President to keep doing?
MRS. OBAMA: Doing that we’re doing here?
MRS. OBAMA: That’s a good question. Well, one of the main things I hope that every presidential family and every administration does going forward, which I think this is an easy and important thing to do, is to continue focusing on our military families.
Because sometimes we forget, in a country when we’re worried about how safe we are, and we’re worried about making sure that our enemies are not going to threaten us, that there are families behind all of those cries for strong defense, right? There are families that sacrifice. And we can never forget those families.
And in order to really support them, it’s really helpful if the President and the Vice President and the First Spouse and the Second Spouse make this a top priority. And whether they call it Joining Forces or call it whatever, continuing to put a spotlight on our servicemembers, our military families, making sure they have jobs when they come home, that their kids have a good education, that that’s always one of the top priorities of this country -- I think that’s important.
That would be the only thing. Because really, it’s up to the President and that family to have their own priorities. That’s the prerogative. And I wouldn’t ask somebody to necessarily do the things I thought they should do, because that’s one of the things they get to do. When you’re elected as President, you get to decide your agenda.
But I think that the whole country can always rally around our military and our families and our veterans in a really major, powerful way. I hope the next administration outdoes everything we do on Joining Forces, and I hope that the country holds the next administration accountable to making sure they do that -- do it even better than we’re doing it. Because we don’t mind being outdone on this initiative. We hope somebody knocks the ball out of the park -- and that we’re a country that never forgets the sacrifices that people make to keep us safe. Does that make sense?
All right. We’re coming over here. We’re going to the back. Little one in the red right here. Yes, you. What’s your name?
CHILD: My name is Naomi (ph.) I am eight. My mom works at the New Executive Office Building.
MRS. OBAMA: Okay.
CHILD: My question is, how do you help people in your job?
MRS. OBAMA: In my job?
MRS. OBAMA: You guys are asking some really good questions. My goodness. Gosh, that's a tough -- I hope I'm helping kids think about eating better. I mean, let me ask you guys -- do you guys think about what you eat differently, do you think? Do you guys believe that vegetables and fruit are important? Do you know that's important?
MRS. OBAMA: Tell me more about what you know. Because you’ll tell me whether I'm helping you, whether you're hearing the messages. What do you think about kids’ health?
MRS. OBAMA: I know that's hard.
CHILD: I think maybe we should eat healthier, like there should be no dessert sometimes and eat our vegetables every once in a while, and fruits.
MRS. OBAMA: So we have some balance, right?
MRS. OBAMA: But you can't eat junk food all the time. You can't have dessert all the time. You’ve got to have some vegetables and fruit in there some of the time, right? It's all about balance.
Well, if I've helped kids in any way be more conscious of that kind of stuff -- I hope that I've helped some kids in that way. I hope I've helped some military families feel like they’re getting the recognition and support they deserve.
But we'll see. I mean, it's hard for me to say whether what I've done has actually helped. I hope it has. We're starting to see some changing trends in childhood obesity that I won't go into with you. But that's one thing I hope -- I hope when I leave here, people look back on the things that I've done and they say, wow, Michelle Obama really helped her country. But we'll see. Okay?
All right, we're over here. Way in the back, young man in the blue. Yes. Stand up. Stand up. What’s your name?
CHILD: My name is Theo. I'm 13 years old. And my dad works in the New Executive Office Building. I was wondering, what do you personally think is the most important thing that you’ve done or initiative that you’ve started during this administration?
MRS. OBAMA: Wow. You know, I think the work that we've done on childhood health has been really important because when I first came here and we started talking about childhood obesity, there are a lot of people who said that's not a problem. So we didn’t even realize there was a problem in this country seven years ago. Now we know it's a problem.
And the question is, what do we do to solve it? Can we make improvements in the school lunches that our kids are eating? And we've been able to do that. Are we doing more to get kids more active? Are we incorporating more big-name celebrities to endorse things that are healthy? Like Steph Curry. You know, Steph Curry isn't endorsing a soda, right? He’s endorsing water. And that's huge, right? Because most -- a lot of celebrities, they’ll endorse something that may not be that good for you, right? But somebody as big as Steph Curry is endorsing water. And water is good for everybody, right?
So I think that those are some of the changes that I think can really have an impact. And as I said earlier, I think that anything that helps you guys as kids grow up healthier is going to help our country twelvefold, right? Because if you grow up healthier, grow up more active, grow up with better opportunities to get an education and get a job, that makes our country stronger.
So I hope that even though I'm working with kids, that you guys, as you grow, will carry on those habits and those opportunities to your -- when you go to college, and eventually when you get married and have your kids, if you decide to do that, that those will be things that will be passed on generations after you guys.
All right, let’s go over here. I'm going to come up front. Little Miss Boots. What’s your name? Stand up and tell us who you are.
CHILD: My name is Treasure (ph). My question is --
MRS. OBAMA: How old are you, Treasure?
MRS. OBAMA: I like your boots.
CHILD: Thank you.
MRS. OBAMA: Yes. What’s your question?
CHILD: My question is, how many dogs do you have?
MRS. OBAMA: I have two dogs. One is named Bo, who’s a boy. He’ll be eight years old in October. And Sunny is a girl, and she’ll be three. And hopefully, you’ll get to meet them. You like dogs? Do you have a pet? What do you have? She has a dog. What’s your dog’s name? D.C.? Nice. (Laughter.)
All right, I want to come over here. Okay, okay, okay. Red T-shirt. Oh, yes, right in the back. What’s your name?
CHILD: My name is Deamonte (ph). And I'm 14 years old. And my question for you is, what was your dream job before becoming First Lady?
MRS. OBAMA: My dream job. I went to law school, so I'm a lawyer by training. And I thought being a lawyer was my dream job. And I got a big job at a big law firm and made a lot of money. But then I realized when I got to my dream job that I wasn’t really happy, happy, because what I really liked to do, what I learned was that I like working with people and I like working in the community, and I like helping people develop skills to work in the community and help more people than just me, or just make money. That wasn’t important to me. After I did it and I realized, yes, this is nice, but I want to do more.
So I got the chance to run a nonprofit organization that helped young people who were just out of college find out how to develop themselves for careers in the public service -- working in youth programs, and working in foundations that raise money to help kids do things. There are a whole range of nonprofit organizations that do good work. And I got to help young people gain entry into those careers.
Because a lot of times, you don't know about those careers, right? A lot of times, as you're growing up, people ask you, what do you want to be? And maybe you know about being a doctor or a lawyer, some of the major professions that we know about. But being the director of a youth program may not be something you even know you can do, right? But you can. You can get paid for working in your neighborhood with kids just like you. You can get paid to raise money for organizations that are helping kids go to college.
So that was one of the jobs I got to do. And I got to start a whole new organization on my own. I had to hire staff. I had to raise money. So that was a pretty fun job that got me out of the law and into more public service work, which is what I like to do. All right?
Okay, we're coming over here. All right, we're going to do middle. We have a little pink with the white fluff around your neck. What’s your name?
CHILD: Saya (ph).
MRS. OBAMA: Saya, how are you?
MRS. OBAMA: What’s your question?
CHILD: My question is, what’s your favorite part of your job?
MRS. OBAMA: The favorite part of my job. Sometimes I like to travel when I'm not too tired. Sometimes travel is hard, but it's -- I've been able to see the world, right? I mean, on Friday, the President and I are going to have lunch with the Queen of England. Oh, I know! That's really going to be pretty cool. We're going to go to Windsor Castle and we're going to have lunch with the Queen. Pretty cool.
So we've gotten to do some fun things like that. I got to meet the Pope twice -- two Popes. So travel is a really fun part of being First Lady. But sometimes it gets tiring because you're, like, in another part of the world. You have to get up and you have to work even though you're jetlagged and you're away from your family, and all that good stuff. But it's been fun to be able to see a lot of parts of the world.
All right, we're coming over here. We're going to do a boy over here. There’s a plaid shirt on the end -- yes. I know there are two plaid shirts. What’s your name, babe?
CHILD: My name is Ryan.
MRS. OBAMA: Stand up for me, sweetie.
CHILD: My name is Ryan. I'm 10 years old. What group do you support most?
MRS. OBAMA: What kind of -- what do you mean by group?
CHILD: Like what -- Girls on the Run --
MRS. OBAMA: Oh, what organization. You know what, as First Lady, I get to support a lot of different organizations. I don't have to pick just one. So we work with -- oh, we work with -- I wouldn't even begin to name the hundreds and hundreds of great organizations that we work with to get what we do done. Because the truth is -- I don't know if people know this about the First Lady, but unlike the President, I don't have a budget or a big staff to do all the things that I do. So I have to rely on a lot of other organizations who are doing the work that we think is important. And I help lift them up, right?
So they’re doing the hard work. And there are tons of really great organizations that work with me on military family issues. We've got Blue Star families and great veterans’ organizations, and an organization called Gold Star Families that supports families who’ve lost someone in the war. Let’s Move, we work with all these great youth organizations, like Girls on the Run. From my Let Girls Learn effort, I've worked with the Peace Corps in order to get a lot of that stuff done.
So I could name -- I could go all afternoon naming names. There’s no way I could do what I do without the support of a lot of great organizations. But that’s a great question.
All right, we’re coming over here. We’re going to do a boy, because I’m going to switch it up so we get a girl. In the back, bow tie, because you’ve got a bow tie on. What’s your name?
CHILD: My name is Gabriel Papaul (ph.) My dad works at the Office of the Vice President, and I’m 12 years old.
MRS. OBAMA: Good to have you here.
CHILD: And my favorite -- my question is, what’s your favorite food?
MRS. OBAMA: Favorite what?
CHILD: Your favorite food.
MRS. OBAMA: Favorite food -- hands down, pizza. Pizza! (Laughter.) Don’t you all agree?
MRS. OBAMA: Pizza is the ultimate food, because it can be a junk food, it can be healthy. Like, almost every Friday I’ll eat, like, a veggie pizza on wheat. Now, that may not be something you like, but I like it. You can have dessert pizza. You can do anything with pizza. It’s a very versatile, universally loved food. And I like French fries.
All right. Okay, we’re coming over here, we’re going to do a girl. All right, in the jeans jacket, way in the back with the headband. What’s your name?
CHILD: My name is Alyssa (ph.) I’m going to be 12 in six days.
MRS. OBAMA: In six days? What are you going to do for that birthday, girl?
CHILD: I’m going to Sky Zone.
MRS. OBAMA: You’re going where?
CHILD: Sky Zone.
MRS. OBAMA: Oh, is that like the trampoline place?
MRS. OBAMA: Oh, nice. Well, yes, I know Sky Zone. I’ve got kids. Okay, what’s your question?
CHILD: My question for you is what are you going to do after your -- when you guys move out?
MRS. OBAMA: Well, we’re going to get our house ready. We’ve got to find a place to live because we can’t live here. They’re kicking us out! I’ve got to find a house to live. And you know what, the President and I, we might just take a vacation -- shh, don’t tell anybody. We might just do nothing for a second.
And then, if you remember, I said we’ve got a presidential library, and I’m going to keep doing all my initiatives. But right after we leave here, we might just, like, take a nap. (Laughter.)
All right, we’re coming over here. We’re going to do a boy. In the third row, yes, with the blue shirt, glasses -- oh, yes, you have a blue -- with the glasses on. Your name, sweetie.
CHILD: My name is Cameron. And my question -- I’m eight -- and my question is, why did you choose President Barack Obama as your husband? (Laughter.)
MRS. OBAMA: Oh. That’s a good question. Well, Cameron, sir, I chose him because he was smart. Because he cared a lot about other people; that he didn’t have to make a lot of money to feel important. And he was kind, and he loved children. And he loved his family, so I figured if he loved his family he would love a family we created. And because he’s cute. (Laughter.) All right?
We’re moving here. All right, in the front. It’s getting a little personal in here. (Laughter.) What’s your name, sweetie?
CHILD: My name is Keira (ph.) I’m 11 years old, and my dad works at the USTR.
MRS. OBAMA: Nice.
CHILD: My question was, what do you like to do with your family in your free time?
MRS. OBAMA: You know, we do things like normal families. You know what, teenagers in the room, how many teenagers really care about spending time with their parents? See, mine don’t. They’re beyond hanging out with us. You still like hanging out with your parents? You’re just in seventh grade -- do you? You don’t. Well, that’s good. Enjoy it, because it goes away.
So we try to eat dinner every night as a family. So almost every night we eat dinner together. So we get to catch up, and I love to catch up on the gossip in my girls’ life -- whose friends are mad at who, and what boys are in the scene. And I love all that gossip stuff.
But generally, now that they’re getting older, they want to hang out with their friends. They’re trying to go to a party. They’re trying to do sleepovers. So when you guys get older, you’ll find that your friends are more important than your family. And everybody tells me that that changes -- that after college, they come back to you. I’ll be waiting patiently for that to happen.
So we don’t do anything special. We take family vacations together, and we do a lot of talking. We’ll watch movies together -- nothing special. We’re a pretty regular family. Nothing too exciting goes on upstairs, trust me.
All right, let’s come over here. We’ve got a boy. We’re going to do a boy -- young man in the blazer. Yes, you. Up here in this third row, right here in front. Yes, here he comes. Tell me your name.
CHILD: My name is Jonathan Brezwill (ph.) I’m 14 years old. And my question to you is, do you think Hillary Clinton is -- has made major accomplishments as a female candidate? And would you like to run for President yourself?
MRS. OBAMA: I think Hillary Clinton is a phenomenal woman. And I’ve gotten to know her, and I think she’s made some pretty major contributions over the course of her life. She’s devoted her life to public service, as have many people in -- who are seeking the presidency.
But Hillary Clinton is an impressive woman. I will not do what she has done -- I will not run for President. But there are other things that I want to do to stay involved in working in public service. Great question.
All right, we’re going to -- what? Oh, Pany says this is the last question. Pany, stand up so that you can be the blame. (Laughter.) This is Pany. She looks sweet -- don’t run, Pany. (Laughter.) Don’t run.
All right, here’s what we’re going to do. I’m going to do one more quick question in every section, and then we’ll end it. So it’s got to be a quick question, all right?
Young lady behind you in the floral dress.
CHILD: My name is Cammy (ph) and I’m 10. And I was wondering, if you had a choice would you rather have a private life or would you stay in this life forever?
MRS. OBAMA: You know, once you’ve been in the public light, at least for me, having privacy becomes much more valued, right? I know a lot of kids your age, you think about being on social media and being a star. But as you get older, you start valuing what’s called anonymity -- people now knowing who you are.
Like, right now, I can’t walk out my front door without people knowing who I am. And that sounds cool when you’re maybe your age, or you’re, like, Justin Bieber’s age, or something like that. But when you’re my age, having a little anonymity is a good thing.
But I also want to be able to continue to have impact. So I’m not going to get mad at the fact that people know who I am because that means I can help more people. So if I can keep helping more people, I don’t mind being in the public arena. But a little more privacy would be good. Great question.
All right, last question in this section. Way in the back in the plaid shirt. The young man -- yes.
CHILD: Do you like your job?
MRS. OBAMA: I love my job. Great question.
Here, we’re coming over here. In the red top right there, little girl. What’s your name, sweetie?
CHILD: My name is Isis (ph.) And my mom works because -- for the President.
MRS. OBAMA: Okay. What’s your question?
CHILD: Where are you going to work after you’re done being the First Lady?
MRS. OBAMA: I don’t know! I’m going to work in my house. (Laughter.)
All right, we’ll do one more here. We’ve got time for one quick one. Little one right here. I know! It’s just not fair!
CHILD: My name is Jill. And do Sunny and Bo know any tricks?
MRS. OBAMA: Yes. Bo can sit, speak, roll over. They can both sit, and down. They can both heel. Bo is very good at giving you his paw, he can give you a high five. Yeah, he knows a few tricks. Sunny, if I spent more time with Sunny, she would know more because she’s really smart. But I’ve been a little busy. So when I leave here I’m going to try to teach her some tricks too.
All right, last question! The last one! Young lady right here.
CHILD: Who is going to perform at the Fourth of July?
MRS. OBAMA: That’s a good question. Deesha, who is going to perform at the Fourth of July? Do you have that figured out yet? Because it’s coming.
MS. DYER: We’re working on it. We’re working on it.
MRS. OBAMA: Oh, that means she doesn’t want to say, because -- all right. We don’t know yet, but hopefully it’s somebody good.
Okay, we can do one more, one more, one more! Orange shirt, right there. Last question, make it a good one!
CHILD: If you had braces when you were little, what age did you have them at?
MRS. OBAMA: I didn’t have braces when I was little, and I wish I did.
MRS. OBAMA: I know! See, you guys, I wish I had had braces because my bottom teeth stick out a little bit. And if I had had braces, they would be fixed by now. So for all of you who don’t like your braces, you will appreciate it when you’re my age. And here’s a piece of advice: Wear your retainer! (Laughter.) All right, parents, I’m helping you all out -- if you have braces, wear your retainers. This is around the time you’ll start getting braces. Both my girls had braces right around middle school. They were seventh, eighth grade; eight, ninth. That’s when they got braces.
All right, you guys, this has been -- I know, I wish I could stay longer. You guys are awesome. You asked great questions. We’re going to do a little -- we’re going to try to do some orderly hugging. But I can’t hug everybody, but that means you’ve got to stay in your seat, and I’m going to come to you. You can’t move from your seat, okay? But I’m not going to be able to get to everybody, all right?
2:18 P.M. EDT