Michelle Obama (1964-), the wife of 44th U.S. An Ivy League graduate, she built a successful career, first as a lawyer, and then in the private sector, which she maintained throughout her husband’s early political career. Concerned about the effect the campaign would have on their young daughters, Michelle was initially reluctant to support the idea of her husband’s run for the presidency. Despite her initial misgivings, she proved to be an effective surrogate for him on the campaign trail. After her husband’s election, she chose a number of causes to support; advocating for support for military families and encouraging healthy eating to solve the epidemic of childhood obesity. As a young mother, a fashion icon and the first African American first lady, Michelle Obama became a role model to many Americans.
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Michelle Obama's Childhood
Michelle LaVaughn Robinson was born on January 17, 1964, in Chicago, Illinois, to parents Marian and Fraser Robinson. Although Fraser’s modest pay as a city-pump operator led to cramped living in their South Shore bungalow, the Robinsons were a close-knit family, with Michelle and older brother Craig pushed to excel in school. Both children skipped the second grade, and Michelle was later chosen for a gifted-student program that enabled her to take French and advanced biology courses.
Making the lengthy daily trip to attend Whitney M. Young Magnet High School, Michelle became student council treasurer and a member of the National Honor Society before graduating as class salutatorian in 1981. She then followed her brother to Princeton University, where she created a reading program for the children of the school’s manual laborers. A sociology major with a minor in African-American studies, she explored the connections between the school’s black alumni and their communities in her senior thesis, graduating cum laude in 1985.
Career and Life Before Becoming First Lady
After earning her J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1988, Michelle joined the Chicago office of the law firm Sidley Austin as a junior associate specializing in marketing and intellectual property. Assigned to mentor a summer intern named Barack Obama, she deflected his initial romantic advancements before they began dating. They were engaged within two years, and married at the Trinity United Church of Christ on October 3, 1992.
Michelle left corporate law in 1991 to pursue a career in public service, enabling her to fulfill a personal passion and create networking opportunities that would benefit her husband’s future political career. Initially an assistant to Chicago mayor Richard Daley, she soon became the city’s assistant commissioner of planning and development. In 1993, she was named executive director for the Chicago branch of Public Allies, a leadership-training program for young adults. Moving on to the University of Chicago as associate dean of student services, she developed the school’s first community-service program.
When Obama decided to run for Illinois state senator in 1996, Michelle proved a disciplined campaign aide by canvassing for signatures and throwing fundraising parties. However, their victory presented the family with new challenges; following the births of daughters Malia (1998) and Sasha (2001), Michelle often had to juggle the demands of work and child-rearing alone with her husband tending to business in the state capital of Springfield.
Successful despite the difficulties, Michelle was named executive director of community relations and external affairs for the University of Chicago Hospitals in 2002. She was promoted to vice president after three years, and served on the boards of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, but eventually scaled back her work hours and commitments to support Obama’s entry into the U.S. presidential race.
Tenure as First Lady
Initially criticized for her candor, Michelle soon proved an asset on the campaign trail with her knack for delivering relatable stories about her family. In addition to becoming the first African American first lady upon Obama’s Election Day victory in 2008, she became the third with a post-graduate degree.
Michelle sought to tie her own agendas to her husband’s larger legislative goals, notably targeting the epidemic of childhood obesity while the Affordable Care Act was being created. In 2009, she worked with local elementary school students to plant a 1,100-square-foot vegetable garden on the South Lawn of the White House. The following year she launched the Let’s Move! initiative to promote healthy eating and physical activity.
In 2011, Michelle co-founded the Joining Forces program to expand educational and employment options for veterans and to raise awareness about the difficulties plaguing military families. After helping Obama win a second term in office, she formed the Reach Higher initiative to inspire young people to explore higher education and career-development opportunities.
Continuing the family theme of her campaign speeches, the first lady stressed the importance of remaining a diligent parent and brought her mother to live with her in the White House. She was also recognized for an ability to connect to younger generations by remaining attuned to popular culture. Embracing the use of social media, she encouraged fans to follow her progress on her Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts, and proved willing to bring her messages to audiences by appearing in humorous sketches online and on television.
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First Lady Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama is a lawyer, writer, and the wife of the 44th and current President, Barack Obama. She is the first African-American First Lady of the United States. Through her four main initiatives, she has become a role model for women and an advocate for healthy families, service members and their families, higher education, and international adolescent girls education.
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When people ask First Lady Michelle Obama to describe herself, she doesn't hesitate to say that first and foremost, she is Malia and Sasha's mom.
But before she was a mother — or a wife, lawyer, or public servant — she was Fraser and Marian Robinson's daughter.
The Robinsons lived in a brick bungalow on the South Side of Chicago. Fraser was a pump operator for the Chicago Water Department, and despite being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at a young age, he hardly ever missed a day of work. Marian stayed home to raise Michelle and her older brother Craig, skillfully managing a busy household filled with love, laughter, and important life lessons.
A product of Chicago public schools, Michelle Robinson studied sociology and African-American studies at Princeton University. After graduating from Harvard Law School in 1988, she joined the Chicago law firm Sidley & Austin, where she later met Barack Obama, the man who would become the love of her life.
After a few years, Mrs. Obama decided her true calling was working with people to serve their communities and their neighbors. She served as assistant commissioner of planning and development in Chicago's City Hall before becoming the founding executive director of the Chicago chapter of Public Allies, an AmeriCorps program that prepares youth for public service.
In 1996, Mrs. Obama joined the University of Chicago with a vision of bringing campus and community together. As Associate Dean of Student Services, she developed the university's first community service program, and under her leadership as Vice President of Community and External Affairs for the University of Chicago Medical Center, volunteerism skyrocketed.
Mrs. Obama has continued her efforts to support and inspire young people during her time as First Lady.
In 2010, she launched Let’s Move!, bringing together community leaders, educators, medical professionals, parents, and others in a nationwide effort to address the challenge of childhood obesity. Let’s Move! has an ambitious goal: to solve the epidemic of childhood obesity within a generation. Whether it's providing healthier food in our schools, helping kids be more physically active, or urging companies to market healthier foods to our children, Let’s Move! is focused on giving parents the support they need to make healthier choices for their kids.
In 2011, Mrs. Obama and Dr. Jill Biden came together to launch Joining Forces, a nationwide initiative calling all Americans to rally around service members, veterans, and their families and support them through wellness, education, and employment opportunities. Joining Forces works hand in hand with the public and private sector to ensure that service members, veterans, and their families have the tools they need to succeed throughout their lives.
In 2014, Mrs. Obama launched the Reach Higher Initiative, an effort to inspire young people across America to take charge of their future by completing their education past high school, whether at a professional training program, a community college, or a four-year college or university. Reach Higher aims to ensure that all students understand what they need to complete their education by working to expose students to college and career opportunities helping them understand financial aid eligibility encouraging academic planning and summer learning opportunities and supporting high school counselors who do essential work to help students get into college.
In 2015, Mrs. Obama joined President Obama to launch Let Girls Learn, a U.S. government-wide initiative to help girls around the world go to school and stay in school. As part of this effort, Mrs. Obama is calling on countries across the globe to help educate and empower young women, and she is sharing the stories and struggles of these young women with young people here at home to inspire them to commit to their own education.
As First Lady, Mrs. Obama looks forward to continuing her work on the issues close to her heart — supporting military families, helping children lead healthier lives, and encouraging all our young people to fulfill their boundless promise.
Where was Michelle Obama's born?
Michelle LaVaughn Robinson was born on January 17, 1964, in Chicago, Illinois, United States. Michelle's father is Fraser Robinson who was a city-pump operator and a Democratic precinct captain. Her mother's name is Marian, who was a secretary at Spiegel's but later stayed home to raise Michelle and her older brother, Craig. At just 21 months apart in age, Craig and Michelle were often mistaken for twins. The Robinson family lived in a small bungalow on Chicago's South Side. Michelle and Craig shared quarters, sleeping in the living room with a sheet serving as a makeshift room divider. They were a close-knit family, typically sharing meals, reading, and playing games together. She studied sociology and African American studies at Princeton University in New Jersey before attending Harvard Law School. She belongs to American nationality and her ethnicity is mixed of Irish, English, and Native American. Her zodiac sign is Capricorn and she belongs to Christianity religion.
Mommy and Michelle
Michelle Obama and her brother Craig were raised in Chicago by their loving parents, Marian and Frasier Robinson. Marian (pictured above right) lived a long life as she watched her daughter ascend to national prominence, celebrating her 83rd birthday in July 2020. Michelle praised her mother in a 2018 letter for the Chicago Defender , describing Marian's commitment to her children's education. "My mother became one of the most active members of the PTA at Bryn Mawr, raising money for new equipment, throwing teacher-appreciation dinners, and lobbying for classes and strategies that would better serve the neighborhood's children," she wrote. Michelle further described her mom's independence-minded parenting style in a 2019 People essay, writing, "When it came to raising her kids, my mom knew that her voice was less important than allowing me to use my own. That meant she listened a lot more than she lectured."
Parents' background and meeting Edit
Barack Obama's parents met in 1960 while they were students at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Obama's father, Barack Obama, Sr., the university's first foreign student from an African nation,  hailed from Oriang' Kogelo, Rachuonyo North District, in the Nyanza Province of western Kenya.   Obama's mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, known as Ann, had been born in Wichita. They married on the Hawaiian island of Maui on February 2, 1961.  Barack Hussein Obama, born in Honolulu on August 4, 1961 at the old Kapiolani Maternity and Gynecological Hospital at 1611 Bingham Street (a predecessor of the Kapiʻolani Medical Center for Women and Children at 1319 Punahou Street), was named for his father.    The Honolulu Advertiser and the Honolulu Star-Bulletin announced the birth. 
Soon after their son's birth, while Obama's father continued his education at the University of Hawaii, Ann Dunham took the infant to Seattle, Washington, where she took classes at the University of Washington from September 1961 to June 1962. She and her son lived in an apartment in the Capitol Hill neighborhood.  After graduating from the University of Hawaii with a B.A. in economics, Obama, Sr. left the state in June 1962, moving to Cambridge, Massachusetts for graduate study in economics at Harvard University that Autumn.    
Ann Dunham returned with her son to Honolulu and in January 1963 resumed her undergraduate education at the University of Hawaii.  In January 1964, Dunham filed for divorce, which was not contested.  Barack Obama, Sr. later graduated from Harvard University with an A.M. in economics and in 1965 returned to Kenya.   
During her first year back at the University of Hawaii, Dunham met Lolo Soetoro.  He was one year into his American experience, after two semesters on the Manoa campus and a summer on the mainland at Northwestern and the University of Wisconsin, when he encountered Dunham, then an undergraduate interested in anthropology. A surveyor from Indonesia, he had come to Honolulu in September 1962 on an East-West Center grant to study at the University of Hawaii.  He earned a M.A. in geography in June 1964.
Dunham and Soetoro married on March 15, 1965, on Molokai. They returned to Honolulu to live with her son as a family.  After two one-year extensions of his J-1 visa, Soetoro returned to Indonesia on June 20, 1966.  Dunham and her son moved in with her parents at their house. She continued with her studies, earning a B.A. in anthropology in August 1967, while her son attended kindergarten in 1966–1967 at Noelani Elementary School.  
In 1967, Obama and his mother moved to Jakarta to rejoin his stepfather. The family initially lived in a newly built neighborhood in the Menteng Dalam administrative village of the Tebet subdistrict in South Jakarta for two and a half years, while Soetoro worked on a topographic survey for the Indonesian government.   From January 1968 to December 1969, Obama's mother taught English and served as an assistant director of the U.S. government-subsidized Indonesia-America Friendship Institute,  while Obama attended the Indonesian-language Santo Fransiskus Asisi (St. Francis of Assisi) Catholic School around the corner from their house for 1st, 2nd, and part of 3rd grade. 
Obama's mother met a transgender person named Turdi (later changed to Evie), at a cocktail party in 1969. Dunham was so impressed by Turdi's beef steak and fried rice that she offered her a job in the family home. It did not take long before Turdi was also caretaker for then eight-year-old "Barry", as Obama was often referred to as then, and his baby sister Maya. As caretaker, she also spent time playing with Obama and bringing him to and from school, which she continued to do for about two years. 
In 1970, Soetoro took a new job at higher pay in Union Oil Company's government relations office.       From January 1970 to August 1972, Obama's mother taught English and was a department head and a director of the Institute of Management Education and Development.  Obama attended the Indonesian-language government-run Besuki School, one-and-half miles east in the exclusive Menteng administrative village, for part of 3rd grade and for 4th grade. By this time, he had picked up on some Indonesian in addition to his native English.  He also joined the Cub Scouts. 
In the summer of 1970, Obama returned to Hawaii for an extended visit with his maternal grandparents, Stanley and Madelyn Dunham. His mother had also arranged an interview for possible admission to the Punahou School in Honolulu, one of the top private schools in the city.  On August 15, 1970, Dunham and Soetoro celebrated the birth of their daughter, Maya Kassandra Soetoro. 
Return to Hawaii Edit
In mid-1971, Obama moved back to Hawaii to live with his grandparents and attend Punahou School starting in fifth grade.   In December 1971, the boy was visited for a month by his father, Barack Obama Sr., from Kenya. It was the last time Obama would see his father. This was followed by his mother visiting her son and parents in Honolulu from late-1971 to January 1972.
In 1972, Dunham returned to Hawaii, bringing along the young Maya, Obama's half-sister. Dunham started graduate study in anthropology at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. From sixth grade through eighth grade at Punahou, Obama lived with his mother and Maya.  
Obama's mother complete her coursework at the University of Hawaii for an M.A. in anthropology in December 1974.  After three years in Hawaii, she and Maya returned to Jakarta in August 1975,  where Dunham completed her contract with the Institute of Management Education and Development and started anthropological field work.  Obama chose to stay with his grandparents in Honolulu to continue his studies at Punahou School for his high school years.  
In his memoir Obama describes his experiences growing up in his mother's middle class family. His knowledge about his African father, who returned once for a brief visit in 1971, came mainly through family stories and photographs.  Of his early childhood, Obama writes: "That my father looked nothing like the people around me—that he was black as pitch, my mother white as milk—barely registered in my mind."  The book describes his struggles as a young adult to reconcile social perceptions of his multiracial heritage.  He wrote that he used alcohol, marijuana, and cocaine during his teenage years to "push questions of who I was out of my mind".  Obama was also a member of the "choom gang", a self-named group of friends that spent time together and occasionally smoked marijuana.   Obama has said that it was a serious mistake. At the Saddleback Civil Presidential Forum, Barack Obama identified his high-school drug use as his greatest moral failure.  Obama has stated he has not used any illegal drugs since he was a teenager. 
Some of his fellow students attending Punahou School later told the Honolulu Star-Bulletin that Obama was mature for his age as a high school student and that he sometimes attended parties and other events in order to associate with African American college students and military service people. Reflecting later on his formative years in Honolulu, Obama wrote: "The opportunity that Hawaii offered—to experience a variety of cultures in a climate of mutual respect—became an integral part of my world view, and a basis for the values that I hold most dear." 
|Kindergarten||1966–1967||Noelani Elementary School||Honolulu, Hawaii||Public|
|1st–3rd grade||1968–1970||St. Francis Assisi||Jakarta, Indonesia||Private|
|4th grade||1970–1971||State Elementary School Menteng 01||Jakarta, Indonesia||Public|
|5th–12th grade||1971–1979||Punahou School||Honolulu, Hawaii||Private||High school diploma, 1979 |
|Freshman–Sophomore year||1979–1981||Occidental College||Los Angeles||Private||Transferred to Columbia|
|Junior–Senior year||1981–1983||Columbia University||New York City||Private||B.A., political science major with |
international relations and
|1L–3L||1988–1991||Harvard Law School||Cambridge, Massachusetts||Private||J.D., magna cum laude |
President, Harvard Law Review
College years Edit
Following high school, Obama moved to Los Angeles in 1979, where he studied at Occidental College for two years.  On February 18, 1981, he made his first public speech, calling for Occidental's divestment from South Africa.  In the summer of 1981, Obama traveled to Jakarta to visit his mother and half-sister Maya, and visited the families of Occidental College friends in Hyderabad (India) and Karachi (Pakistan) for three weeks. 
He then transferred to Columbia University in New York City, where he majored in political science with a speciality in international relations   and in English literature.  Obama lived off campus in a modest rented apartment at 142 West 109th Street.   He graduated with a B.A. from Columbia in 1983, then worked at Business International Corporation and New York Public Interest Research Group.  
Early career in Chicago Edit
After four years living in New York, Obama moved to Chicago to work as a community organizer. He worked for three years from June 1985 to May 1988 as director of the Developing Communities Project (DCP), a church-based community organization originally comprising eight Catholic parishes in Greater Roseland (Roseland, West Pullman, and Riverdale) on Chicago's far South Side.    During his three years as the DCP's director, its staff grew from 1 to 13 and its annual budget grew from $70,000 to $400,000, with accomplishments including helping set up a job training program, a college preparatory tutoring program, and a tenants' rights organization in Altgeld Gardens.  Obama also worked as a consultant and instructor for the Gamaliel Foundation, a community organizing institute.  In the summer of 1988, he traveled for the first time to Europe for three weeks then to Kenya for five weeks where he met many of his paternal relatives for the first time. 
Harvard Law School Edit
Obama entered Harvard Law School in late 1988. In an interview with Ebony in 1990, he stated that he saw a degree in law as a vehicle to facilitate better community organization and activism: "The idea was not only to get people to learn how to hope and dream about different possibilities, but to know how the tax structure affects what kind of housing gets built where."  At the end of his first year he was selected as an editor of the Harvard Law Review based on his grades and a writing competition.  In February 1990, his second year at Harvard, he was elected president of the law review, a full-time volunteer position functioning as editor-in-chief and supervising the law review's staff of 80 editors.  Obama's election as the first black president of the law review was widely reported and followed by several long, detailed profiles.  He got himself elected by convincing a crucial swing bloc of conservatives that he would protect their interests if they supported him. Building up that trust was done with the same kind of long listening sessions he had used in the poor neighborhoods of South Side, Chicago. Richard Epstein, who later taught at the University of Chicago Law School when Obama later taught there, said Obama was elected editor "because people on the other side believed he would give them a fair shake."  
While in law school he worked as an associate at the law firm Sidley & Austin in 1989, where he met his future wife, Michelle LaVaughn Robinson, and where Newton N. Minow was a managing partner. Minow later would introduce Obama to some of Chicago's top business leaders.  In the summer of 1990 he worked at Hopkins & Sutter.  Also during his law school years, Obama spent eight days in Los Angeles taking a national training course on Alinsky methods of organizing.  He graduated with a J.D. magna cum laude from Harvard in 1991 and returned to Chicago. 
Settling down in Chicago Edit
The publicity from his election as the first African American president of the Harvard Law Review led to a contract and advance to write a book about race relations.  In an effort to recruit him to their faculty, the University of Chicago Law School provided Obama with a fellowship and an office to work on his book.  He originally planned to finish the book in one year, but it took much longer as the book evolved into a personal memoir. In order to work without interruptions, Obama and his wife, Michelle, traveled to Bali where he wrote for several months. The manuscript was finally published as Dreams from My Father in mid-1995. 
He married Michelle in 1992  and settled down with her in Hyde Park, a liberal, integrated, middle-class Chicago neighborhood with a history of electing reform-minded politicians independent of the Daley political machine.  The couple's first daughter, Malia Ann, was born in 1998 their second, Natasha (known as Sasha), in 2001. 
One effect of the marriage was to bring Obama closer to other politically influential Chicagoans. One of Michelle's best friends was Jesse Jackson's daughter, Santita Jackson, later the godmother of the Obamas' first child. Michelle herself had worked as an aide to Mayor Richard M. Daley. Marty Nesbitt, a young, successful black businessman (who played basketball with Michelle's brother, Craig Robinson), became Obama's best friend and introduced him to other African-American business people. Before the marriage, according to Craig, Obama talked about his political ambitions, even saying that he might run for president someday. 
Project Vote Edit
Obama directed Illinois Project Vote from April to October 1992, a voter registration drive, officially nonpartisan, that helped Carol Moseley Braun become the first black woman ever elected to the Senate.  He headed up a staff of 10 and 700 volunteers that achieved its goal of 400,000 registered African Americans in the state, leading Crain's Chicago Business to name Obama to its 1993 list of "40 under Forty" powers to be.    Although fundraising was not required for the position when Obama was recruited for the job, he started an active campaign to raise money for the project. According to Sandy Newman, who founded Project Vote, Obama "raised more money than any of our state directors had ever done. He did a great job of enlisting a broad spectrum of organizations and people, including many who did not get along well with one another." 
The fundraising brought Obama into contact with the wealthy, liberal elite of Chicago, some of whom became supporters in his future political career. Through one of them he met David Axelrod, who later headed Obama's campaign for president.  The fundraising committee was chaired by John Schmidt, a former chief of staff to Mayor Richard M. Daley, and John W. Rogers Jr., a young black money manager and founder of Ariel Capital Management.  Obama also met much of the city's black political leadership, although he didn't always get along with the older politicians, with friction sometimes developing over Obama's reluctance to spend money and his insistence on results.  "He really did it, and he let other people take all the credit", Schmidt later said. "The people standing up at the press conferences were Jesse Jackson and Bobby Rush and I don't know who else. Barack was off to the side and only the people who were close to it knew he had done all the work." 
Obama taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School for twelve years, as a Lecturer for four years (1992–1996), and as a Senior Lecturer for eight years (1996–2004).  During this time he taught courses in due process and equal protection, voting rights, and racism and law. He published no legal scholarship, and turned down tenured positions, but served eight years in the Illinois Senate during his twelve years at the university. 
In 1993 Obama joined Davis, Miner, Barnhill & Galland, a 12-attorney law firm specializing in civil rights litigation and neighborhood economic development, where he was an associate for three years from 1993 to 1996, then of counsel from 1996 to 2004, with his law license becoming inactive in 2007.   The firm was well known among influential Chicago liberals and leaders of the black community, and the firm's Judson H. Miner, who met with Obama to recruit him before Obama's 1991 graduation from law school, had been counsel to former Chicago Mayor Harold Washington, although the law firm often clashed with the administration of Mayor Richard M. Daley. The 29-year-old law student made it clear in his initial interview with Miner that he was more interested in joining the firm to learn about Chicago politics than to practice law. 
During the four years Obama worked as a full-time lawyer at the firm, he was involved in 30 cases and accrued 3,723 billable hours.  Obama was listed as counsel on four cases before the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Two of these cases involved ACORN suing Governor Jim Edgar under the new Motor Voter Act,   one involved a voter suing Mayor Daley under the Voting Rights Act,  and one involved, in the only case Obama orally argued, a whistleblowing stockbroker suing his former employer.  All of these appeals were resolved in favor of Obama's clients, with all the opinions authored by Obama's University of Chicago colleague Chief Judge Richard Posner. 
Obama was a founding member of the board of directors of Public Allies in 1992, resigning before his wife, Michelle, became the founding executive director of Public Allies Chicago in early 1993.   He served on the board of directors of the Woods Fund of Chicago, which in 1985 had been the first foundation to fund Obama's DCP, from 1993 to 2002, and served on the board of directors of The Joyce Foundation from 1994 to 2002.  Membership on the Joyce and Wood foundation boards, which gave out tens of millions of dollars to various local organizations while Obama was a member, helped Obama get to know and be known by influential liberal groups and cultivate a network of community activists that later supported his political career.  Obama served on the board of directors of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge from 1995 to 2002, as founding president and chairman of the board of directors from 1995 to 1999.  He also served on the board of directors of the Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the Center for Neighborhood Technology, and the Lugenia Burns Hope Center.  In 1995, Obama also announced his candidacy for a seat in the Illinois state Senate and attended Louis Farrakhan's Million Man March in Washington, DC. 
After high school, Obama studied at Occidental College in Los Angeles for two years. He then transferred to Columbia University in New York, graduating in 1983 with a degree in political science. 
After returning from Kenya and working as a community organizer in New York City and Chicago, Illinois, Obama enrolled at Harvard Law School in 1988. He became a member of the Harvard Law Review, which uses racial quotas, in 1989. He was then elected by popular vote as its first African American president in 1990, a story that was immediately promoted in the New York Times.  He graduated magna cum laude with his J.D. in 1991, but did not serve in a clerkship. Federal clerkships are the typical post-graduate position for top law students.
At Occidental College
Obama studied at Occidental College in Los Angeles for two years. Dr. John Drew was a classmate of Obama's at Occidental College. He was interviewed in mid-October 2010 week by Paul Kengor on The Glen Meakem Show. What follows is excerpts from the transcript of the interview: 
Kengor: "I interviewed you for my book Dupes a year ago and you had contact me a couple of years ago because you read a piece that I wrote for American Thinker and it was called "Dreams from Frank Marshall Davis" and it was on Obama's background and youth. Frank Marshall Davis was an actual Party member and that's something, John, I spent two or three years on investigating, but there's no question about it. the documentation is there, a 1957 Senate report called him "and identified member of the Communist Party", there's an FBI file that's 600 pages, and I took ten or twelve pages from that report and put it in the appendix of my book. It even lists Davis' Communist Party card number, which was 47544, so very clear. Why is all of this relevant? Well, I think it explains, at least to some degree, that -- if he's not a Communist, he's at least very far to the left -- and has some very left-oriented views. But you met Obama when he left Frank Marshall Davis in 1980 coming from Hawaii and went to Occidental College. So tell us about when Obama got there and when you met." Drew: "I see myself as Barack Obama's missing link from his exposure to Communism through Frank Marshall Davis and his later exposure to Bill Ayers and Alice Palmer in Chicago. So, as far as I can tell, I'm the only one of Obama's extended circle of friends who's spoken out and verified that he was a Marxist-Leninist in his sophomore year of college, from 1980 to 1981. . Yeah, my sense is because of affirmative action, guys like me were going to Occidental instead of even better schools and guys like Obama were going to Occidental instead of, uh, less challenging schools. A lot of very successful people were there, were part of Obama's social circle at the time." Kengor: "Now, was Occidental known for radical left politics? Would that have been an attraction for Obama?" Drew: "Yeah, I'm certain that it was. It was considered sort of the "Moscow" of southern California. There were a lot of Marxist professors, many of whom I got to know pretty well, not just there but also at Williams College in Massachusetts. Two of the same Marxist-Socialist professors were on the staff with me at Williams. Kengor: "So, that might have been an attraction for him? I'm trying to think, what would have made him go to Hawaii to Occidental? Do you think Frank Marshall Davis could somehow have been an influence in having him choose Occidental?" Drew: "I don't have any evidence of that. " Kengor: "Because they won't release his records, I called them --" Drew: "Yeah, I think that's odd. I don't know, I got straight A's my first year, it sounds weird, but I don't talk about it, Paul, you'd think that if Obama did well he'd release those transcripts." Kengor: "Now, this is speculation, but do you think those files might hold a letter of recommendation from Frank Marshall Davis? Right? Why not?" Drew: "Wow." Kengor: "Davis was a mentor. Davis writes about him in Dreams From My Father very warmly, in fact Obama writes that Davis gave him advice on women, on race, on life, on college. So, he must have recommended Occidental, but it's sad we have to speculate. If they'd just release these records. " Drew: "Well, this is what I know for sure, and this is why I'd sought you out, to be helpful to the historic record, is to verify that Barack Obama was definitely a Marxist and that, it was very unusual for a sophomore to be as radical, or as ideologically attuned as young Barack Obama was. I think people like David Remnick [a biographer], they make it sound like Frank Marshall Davis had no impact on Obama and that his friend Mohammed Shandu somehow converted him to Marxism at Occidental. And my impression is that Obama was the leader of that group and Obama was already very ardent and committed to Marxism. And Shandu struck me as somewhat more passive. So it doesn't fit the story that I read in Remnick's story The Bridge." Kengor: "And Remnick did not contact you, did he?" Drew: "No! No! . Well, Remnick interviewed my girfriend, Carolyn Bosch -- she's on three or four pages -- and they interviewed a guy named Gary Chapman, a guy who was very active in the Democrat Student [Socialists'] Alliance." Kengor: "I like David Remnick. I use his book in my Compartive Studies class at Grove City College." Drew: "He's a sharp guy. And he's got some good facts in there, but he didn't want to hear from little Dr. Drew. " Kengor: ". You said that Obama was introduced to you at Occidental as a Marxist because you were one at that point." Drew: "Yeah, that's embarrassing, but I had studied Marxist Economics at Sussex College in England. I had a junior year scholarship over there, and did my senior honor's thesis on Marxist Economics when I was at Occidental College. And I actually founded the Democrat Student Socialists' Alliance, under a different name, in 1976. it was as Marxist as you could get, but they come up with a more general name while I was away in England." Kengor: ". John, you had told me before, and I'm reading from my book, that "Obama was already an ardent Marxist in the fall of 1980 when I met him. I know it's incendiary to say this, but although he said in Dreams From My Father that he'd 'hung out with Marxist professors', he did not explain in that book or clarify is that he was 100% in total agreement with those professors." Drew: "Yeah, you've got that exactly right. Obama believed, at the time I met him, this was probably around Christmas time in 1980. I'd flown out on Christmas break from Cornell, where I was in grad school. And Obama was looking forward to an imminent social revolution, literally a movement where the working classes would overthrow the ruling class and institute a kind of socialist Utopia in the United States. I mean, that's how extreme his views were his sophomore year of college." . I was a comrade, but I was more. the Frankfort School of Marxism at the time. I was, I felt like I was doing him a favor by pointing out that the Marxist revolution that he and Caroline and Shandu were hoping for was really kind of a pipe-dream. And that there was nothing in European history, or the history of developed nations, that would make that sort of fantasy, that Frank Marshall Davis fantasy of revolution, come true." Kengor: "So you had a realistic sense that, even though you liked these ideas, that you knew they wouldn't really work?" Drew: "Right. [There were some] who were puzzled why they didn't see Marx's predictions come true, and weren't interested in the role of psychology or false consciousness in preventing a revolution from happening. I was a card-carrying Marxist, but I was more of an east coast, Cornell University Marxist at that time." Kengor: "But Obama thought it was practical. He thought it could happen in America?" Drew: "Oh, yeah! He thought I was a little reactionary. or insensitive to the coming needs of the revolution! He was full-bore, 100% into that very, kind of simple-minded Marxist revolutionary framework." Kengor: "And, also at this time, this is 1981, Jimmy Carter was President [?] and Ronald Reagan was yet to call the Soviet Union 'the Evil Empire' when he becomes President. Did you have talk about the election, about Reagan. I mean, that must have really upset Obama?" Drew: "You know, it's so long ago. My clearest recollection was that we were more concerned with more U.S. intervention in Latin America and the repression of Communist and Socialist forces like the Sandanistas and things like that. this sound weird, but there was part of me at the time that was ready to go off and fight with the Sandanistas against the Contras. I was pretty crazy, Paul. " Kengor: "Now this gets to a critical point and I know Obama supporters want me to ask this. to be fair, look where you were then and where you are today. " Drew: "Oh, yeah. Now I'm a Ronald Reagan, church-going, Baptist conservative, so. " Kengor: "So, what about Obama. That's the. trillion dollar question? . We have to know this stuff about our Presidents, you can't leave this about biographies. " Drew: "Well, I think that he, I've challenged President Obama to explain how he evolved this Marxist-Leninist viewpoint he had in his sophomore year of college. And he's just never articulated how he changed. In fact, he's buried and, I think, lied about his ideological convictions of his youth. And we can trace it all the way to Alice Palmer, I think, in 1995 [the Illinois state senator who he replaced]. who attended the Communist Party "Politburo" event. Or she was part of a big international Communist convention in Moscow!" Kengor: ". And Palmer was with Obama in the living room of Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn when -- and The New York Times even wrote about this -- there was sort of a political blessing, where Palmer identified Obama as his chosen successor. " Drew: ". Well, I think I can knock down some doors here but stating that he had a very consistent ideology, I think, probably from the time he was in [Hawaii] to the time he was with Palmer and Ayers in Chicago. I think his current behavior demonstrates that he still has some ideological convictions. When ever he talks about taxing the richest two-percent? I think he knows that will harm the economy. To him, the redistribution of wealth is extremely important. And he never took economics or science like I did. He went straight to law school, never had any business experience, never had a payroll to meet. And I think he's locked in a very dangerous mindset, where if he didn't fight to redistribute the wealth that he'd be violating [his] ideology. . You see people like Van Jones, who's an admitted Communist, you see Anita Dunn, who's praising Mao Tse-Tung, to me, it's like Obama's Marxist-Socialist ideology is hiding in plain sight! It's frustrating to me. It seems to me like people should be up in arms about this! . I think whenever he talks about people clinging to their guns and religions due to economic stress, that's just the standard Marxist argument. he's still using the standard Marxist architecture, the way he talks about things. I think he's surrounded by people who share that mental architecture! . I feel like our nation's life is at stake."
Barack Obama, a sophomore at Occidental College in 1981, considered a rally supporting demands that the trustees there divest stocks of companies doing business in South Africa his first foray into politics. He also contacted representatives of the African National Congress asking them to speak on campus, drafted letters to the faculty, printed up flyers and argued strategy. 
Barack and Michelle Obama: A Complete Relationship Timeline
Barack and Michelle Obama spent eight years in the White House, modeling a loving, happy relationship for the country and world. But their love story goes back way further than that, to their days at a Chicago law firm that eventually led to a first date, a family, and a partnership admired by millions.
Let's take a trip back in time and reminisce about one of the all-time great love stories with some of the couple's most important moments.
Michelle Robinson is a 25-year-old attorney at the Chicago firm of Sidley Austin when she is tasked with showing the new guy, Barack Obama, around. “Because I went to Harvard and he went to Harvard, and the firm thought, Oh, we’ll hook these two people up,” she told ABC News. "So, you know, there was a little intrigue, but I must say after about a month, Barack, about a month in, asked me out, and I thought, No way. This is completely tacky."
“Not once, though, did I think about him as someone I’d want to date,” she wrote in her memoir, Becoming. “For one thing, I was his mentor at the firm. I’d also recently sworn off dating altogether, too consumed with work to put any effort into it.”
Eventually they do go on that date, which involves ice cream, a long walk, and a movie. In fact, a fictionalized version of the day was even turned into a movie: Southside With You.
"We clicked right away…by the end of the date, it was over…I was sold," Michelle said. Meanwhile, Barack told O, “I treated her to the finest ice cream Baskin-Robbins had to offer, our dinner table doubling as the curb. I kissed her, and it tasted like chocolate.”
After two years of dating, Barack and Michelle get engaged on July 31, 1991.
Michelle wrote about that night in Becoming:
"As we were reaching the end of the meal, Barack smiled at me and raised the subject of marriage. He reached for my hand and said that as much as he loved me with his whole being, he still didn't really see the point,” she wrote. “Instantly, I felt the blood rise in my cheeks. It was like pushing a button in me—the kind of big blinking red button you might find in some sort of nuclear facility surrounded by warnings signs and evacuation maps. Really? We were going to do this now?"
She recalled they had a somewhat heated discussion “attorney style” about the matter for a bit. "Eventually, our waiter came around holding a dessert plate, covered by a silver lid. He slid it in front of me and lifted the cover. I was almost too miffed to even look down, but when I did, I saw a dark velvet box where the chocolate cake was supposed to be. Inside was a diamond ring,” she continued.
“Barack looked at me playfully. Heɽ baited me. It had all been a ruse. It took me a second to dismantle my anger and slide into joyful shock," Michelle wrote. "Heɽ riled me up because this was the very last time he would invoke his inane marriage argument, ever again, as long as we both should live."
On October 3, 1992, Barack and Michelle say, “I do.”
“You can’t tell it from this photo, but Barack woke up on our wedding day in October, 1992 with a nasty head cold,” Michelle wrote in a 2018 anniversary post. “Somehow, by the time I met him at the altar, it had miraculously disappeared and we ended up dancing almost all night. Twenty five years later, we’re still having fun, while also doing the hard work to build our partnership and support each other as individuals. I can’t imagine going on this wild ride with anybody else.”
July 4, 1998, is a very big holiday for the Obamas, as they welcome their first daughter, Malia Ann Obama.
In her book, Michelle revealed that she went through IVF treatment after suffering miscarriages. “I felt like I failed because I didn't know how common miscarriages were because we don't talk about them,” she said on Good Morning America. “We sit in our own pain, thinking that somehow we’re broken.”
Natasha “Sasha” Obama is born on June 10, 2001—completing the Obama foursome.
“Being a mother has been a master class in letting go,” Michelle told Meghan Markle during a British Vogue interview in 2019. “Try as we might, there’s only so much we can control. And, boy, have I tried–especially at first. As mothers, we just don’t want anything or anyone to hurt our babies. But life has other plans. Bruised knees, bumpy roads, and broken hearts are part of the deal. What’s both humbled and heartened me is seeing the resiliency of my daughters. In some ways, Malia and Sasha couldn’t be more different. One speaks freely and often one opens up on her own terms. One shares her innermost feelings the other is content to let you figure it out. Neither approach is better or worse, because they’ve both grown into smart, compassionate, and independent young women, fully capable of paving their own paths."
The Obama family burst onto the national scene when Barack wins his campaign for an Illinois U.S. Senate seat.
He also gives a powerful keynote address at the Democratic National Convention that year, marking him as one of the party's most promising rising stars.
On February 10, 2007, Barack announces he is running for president. Soon he, Michelle, and the girls were on the campaign trail.
“I said yes, though I was at the same time harboring a painful thought, one I wasn’t ready to share: I supported him in campaigning, but I also felt certain he wouldn’t make it all the way,” Michelle wrote in Becoming. “He spoke so often and so passionately of healing our country’s divisions, appealing to a set of higher ideals he believed were innate in most people. But I’d seen enough of the divisions to temper my own hopes. Barack was a black man in America, after all. I didn’t really think he could win.”
This is, obviously, a big year for the Obamas. On June 3, Barack becomes the presumptive Democratic nominee for president—defeating Hillary Clinton. He officially accepts the party's nomination at the convention in August.
On November 4, 2008, he is elected the first Black president of our country. The family famously appears in front of a huge crowd in Chicago. “I would not be standing here tonight without the unyielding support of my best friend for the last 16 years, the rock of our family and the love of my life, our nation’s next first lady, Michelle Obama,” he says of his wife that night.
In January the newly sworn-in couple makes the country swoon during the Inaugural Ball—especially with their first dance to “At Last,” as performed by Beyoncé.
“First of all, how good-looking is my wife?” Barack asks the crowd at one of the events.
The Obamas have never been afraid to show their affection for each other, like when they get caught on the kiss cam at a basketball game in July.
Barack is reelected for a second term in November 2012. Michelle reflects on their life together at the Democratic National Convention prior to the election:
“Our life before moving to Washington was filled with simple joys…Saturdays at soccer games, Sundays at grandma’s house…and a date night for Barack and me was either dinner or a movie, because as an exhausted mom, I couldn’t stay awake for both,” she says. “And the truth is, I loved the life we had built for our girls. I deeply loved the man I had built that life with…and I didn’t want that to change if he became president. I loved Barack just the way he was. You see, even though back then Barack was a senator and a presidential candidate…to me, he was still the guy who’d picked me up for our dates in a car that was so rusted out I could actually see the pavement going by through a hole in the passenger side door. He was the guy whose proudest possession was a coffee table he’d found in a dumpster, and whose only pair of decent shoes was half a size too small.”
Both Obamas campaign hard for Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine in 2016, including Michelle's famous “When they go low, we go high” speech, but in the end Donald Trump is elected president and on January 20, 2017, is sworn in. The Obama family leaves the White House for good.
On life outside the White House, Michelle tells Oprah Winfrey, “I want to open my front door without discussing it with anyone, and I want to walk out that door and just walk. Just want to walk by myself, or with a semblance of feeling like I’m by myself. I want to sit in a yard that is not a national park. I do want to drop into Target. I want to—I do, I want to go to Target again!”
In October the couple celebrates their 25th wedding anniversary.
Michelle's best-selling memoir, Becoming, is released—giving the world even greater insight into the early days of the Obama's marriage and their life in the White House. Of course, Barack is her biggest fan and supporter, even surprising her onstage at one of her events with flowers.
"This is like, you know, when Jay-Z comes out during the Beyoncé concert?… Like, ɼrazy in Love'?" he says. "It's the same thing. It's just a little sample to enhance the concert."
The Obamas continue to share sweet moments on social media—like this shot of Michelle admiring Barack's painting in the National Portrait Gallery.
This year has brought us even more Obama stories to love. First, the release of the Netflix documentary Becoming, about Michelle's book and tour. Then, her newest venture, The Michelle Obama Podcast. Of course, the former POTUS is her first guest.
“At the core of everything you have done politically, what I know about you as a person and one of the reasons why I fell in love with you,” Michelle says during the episode, before Barack suggests it was “just my looks.”
“You're cute, but you know. One of the reasons I fell in love with you is because you’re guided by the principle that we are each other’s brothers' and sisters' keepers," she continues. “And that's how I was raised. My values—in terms of what I think my personal obligation, Michelle Obama, is that it is not enough that I succeed on my own.”
In November 2020, an excerpt of the former president's memoir A Promised Land obtained by CNN reveals the toll that Obama's job took on his marriage. (The book will be released on November 17.)
“And yet, despite Michelle's success and popularity, I continued to sense an undercurrent of tension in her, subtle but constant, like the faint thrum of a hidden machine,” he writes. “It was as if, confined as we were within the walls of the White House, all her previous sources of frustration became more concentrated, more vivid, whether it was my round-the-clock absorption with work, or the way politics exposed our family to scrutiny and attacks, or the tendency of even friends and family members to treat her role as secondary in importance.
“Lying next to Michelle in the dark,” he continued, “Iɽ think about those days when everything between us felt lighter, when her smile was more constant and our love less encumbered, and my heart would suddenly tighten at the thought that those days might not return.”
"Each of us also comes here tonight," Michelle Obama told the Democratic National Convention in 2008, "by way of our own improbable journey" and "driven by a simple belief that . we have an obligation to fight for the world as it should be." Michelle Obama's journey began in the South Side of Chicago, where Fraser and Marian Robinson instilled in their daughter a heartfelt commitment to family, hard work, and education. Her father was a pump operator for the Chicago Water Department, while her mother stayed at home to care for Michelle and her older brother Craig. As she watched her father refuse to give in to multiple sclerosis, use two canes to get to his job, and save money to send her to college, she learned that "the only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work hard for them."
Michelle earned a bachelor's degree from Princeton University and a juris doctor degree from Harvard Law School. In 1988, she returned to Chicago to join the ﬁrm of Sidley Austin. It was there that she met Barack Obama, a summer associate she was assigned to advise. They were married in 1992.
By that time Michelle had turned her energies to public service. She was assistant commissioner of planning and development in Chicago's City Hall before becoming the founding executive director of the Chicago chapter of PublicAllies, an AmeriCorps program that prepares young people for public service. In 1996, she joined the University of Chicago as associate dean of student services, where she developed the university's first community service program. In 2002, she went to work for the University of Chicago Medical Center, where in 2005 she became the vice president of community and external affairs. During these years the Obamas' daughters Malia and Sasha were born.
As first lady, Michelle Obama initiated Let’s Move! a program aiming to end childhood obesity within a generation. Through it, elected officials, business leaders, educators, parents, and faith leaders worked together to provide more nutritious food in schools, bring healthy and affordable food into underserved communities, plant vegetable gardens across America, and provide new opportunities for kids to be more active. Each year local schoolchildren helped plant and harvest the garden she started on the White House South Lawn. Its vegetables and fruits were served at the White House and donated to soup kitchens and food banks.
During Barack Obama’s second term Michelle spearheaded the Reach Higher Initiative to help students understand job opportunities and the education and skills they need for those jobs. She encouraged young people to continue their education past high school in technical schools and community colleges as well as at colleges and universities. Worldwide, she championed the education of girls and women. In a commencement address at the City College of New York she told graduates, "Never view your challenges as obstacles." It is a lesson she has embodied all her life.
Throughout her time in the White House Mrs. Obama worked to support veterans and military families. She also focused her energies on what she calls her most important role: Mom-in-Chief to her daughters, who grew into accomplished young women during their eight years in the White House.
Who is Barack Obama?
Barack Obama was the 44th president of the United States and the first great African American commander. A son of Kenyan and Kansas parents, Obama was born and raised in Hawaii. He has worked on two terms, in 2008 and 2012. He graduated from Columbia University and later on Harvard Law School. After serving in the Illinois State Senate, he was elected a member of the American Senator representing Illinois in 2004. Barack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama have two daughters named Sasha and Malia.
Early Life and Parents
Barack Hussein Obama II was born on August 4, 1961, in Honolulu, Hawaii. Obama’s father, Barack Obama Sr., was born in the Nyanza province of Kenya. Obama Sr. grew up herding goats in Africa due to not-so-good family conditions, he was studious and eventually received a scholarship that allowed him to leave Kenya and follow his dreams of going to college in Hawaii.
During his studies at the University of Hawaii in Manoa, Obama Sr. met another student Ann Dunham. On February 2, 1961, they were married, and Barack II was born six months later.
At a young age, Obama had no relationship with his father. When her son was an infant, Obama Sr. moved from Massachusetts to Harvard University to study for a Ph.D. Obama’s parents officially divorced a few months later and finally divorced in March 1964, when their son was two years old. Shortly afterward, Obama Sr. again returned to Kenya.
Obama enrolled in the prestigious Punahou Academy while living with his grandparents, he was excellent at basketball and graduated with a degree in 1979. As one of only three Black students in the school, he faced and recognized racism and what it meant to be African American.
Obama later described in his words, how he struggled to reconcile the social views of his racial heritage with his self-awareness.
For further studies, Obama entered Occidental College in Los Angeles in 1979. After 2 years, he moved to New York City and took admission to Columbia University, and he graduated in 1983 with a degree in political science. In 1991 he graduated with a magna cum laude degree from Harvard Law.
After graduating from Columbia University, Obama worked in the business sector for two years. He moved to Chicago in 1985, where he worked in the poor South Side as a promoter of low-income residents in the communities of Roseland and Altgeld Gardens.
It was the time when Obama said he was “not raised in a religious household,” joined Trinity United Church of Christ. He also visited relatives in Kenya, and emotionally visited the graves of his father, who died in a car accident in November 1982, along with his paternal grandfather.
Obama entered Harvard Law School in 1988 after returning to Kenya.
In 1989, Obama joined a Chicago law firm as an associate, where he met his future wife Michelle. In February 1990, he was elected as the first African American editor of the Harvard Law Review.
First Book and Grammy Award
In 1995 Obama published his autobiography, Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Legacy. His work received high praise from some great writers such as Toni Morrison. It has since been published in more than 25 languages, including Swedish, Chinese, and Hebrew. The book was published for the second time in 2004 and was translated into a children’s version also.
Second Book: ‘The Stronghold of Hope’
In October 2006 Obama’s second book, The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream, was published. The work addressed Obama’s views on the future of the United States, many of which became venues for his final presidential campaign. Shortly after its release, the book makes its mark on Amazon’s best-selling list.
2008 Presidential Election
In February 2007, Obama made headlines when he announced his candidacy for the 2008 Democratic Alliance presidential election. There was a tough competition between Obama and the former first lady and New York then-senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. On June 3, 2008, Obama became a Democratic Party candidate after winning a sufficient number of delegates during the contest, and Clinton fully supported Obama during his campaign.
On November 4, 2008, Obama defeated former Republican presidential candidate John McCain, and won the 44th United States presidential election – and became the first African American to hold office. His colleague, Delaware Senator Joe Biden, became vice president.
The first 100 days and the major works
During his first 100 days in office, Obama called on Congress to increase child health insurance and provide legal protection for women seeking equal pay. A $ 787 billion bill has been passed to promote temporary economic growth. Housing and credit markets were put into health support, through a market-based program to buy toxic assets from US banks. Loans were given to the automotive industry, and new Wall Street laws have been proposed.
Obama has cut taxes for working families, small businesses, and first-time home buyers. He also lifted the ban on embryonic stem cell research and went ahead with a budget plan of $ 3.5 trillion.
Life After the Presidency
After leaving the White House, the Obama family moved to a house in the Kalorama area of Washington, D.C., to allow their young daughter Sasha to continue her schooling there.
Barack Obama Net Worth
Barack Obama’s value has skyrocketed since January 2017. The Obama family has numerous sources of revenue, including a production deal with Netflix worth about $ 50 million, in addition to paid talks and government pensions.
Michelle Obama’s memoir “Becoming,” in which she received a reported $ 65 million, was sold out in 2018. It is estimated that the 44th presidential varied from $ 40 million to $ 135 million. The Obama family reportedly bought a nearly 7,000 square house, a $ 12 million home in Martin’s Vineyard in December 2019.
Speech at the 2020 Democratic National Convention
This section provides the text and video of the 2020 Democratic National Convention speech given by former First Lady Michelle Obama on August 17, 2020.
Good evening, everyone. It's a hard time, and everyone's feeling it in different ways. And I know a lot of folks are reluctant to tune into a political convention right now or to politics in general. Believe me, I get that. But I am here tonight because I love this country with all my heart, and it pains me to see so many people hurting.
I've met so many of you. I've heard your stories. And through you, I have seen this country's promise. And thanks to so many who came before me, thanks to their toil and sweat and blood, I've been able to live that promise myself. That's the story of America. All those folks who sacrificed and overcame so much in their own times because they wanted something more, something better for their kids.
There's a lot of beauty in that story. There's a lot of pain in it, too, a lot of struggle and injustice and work left to do. And who we choose as our president in this election will determine whether or not we honor that struggle and chip away at that injustice and keep alive the very possibility of finishing that work.
I am one of a handful of people living today who have seen firsthand the immense weight and awesome power of the presidency. And let me once again tell you this: the job is hard. It requires clear-headed judgment, a mastery of complex and competing issues, a devotion to facts and history, a moral compass, and an ability to listen—and an abiding belief that each of the 330,000,000 lives in this country has meaning and worth.
A president's words have the power to move markets. They can start wars or broker peace. They can summon our better angels or awaken our worst instincts. You simply cannot fake your way through this job.
As I've said before, being president doesn't change who you are it reveals who you are. Well, a presidential election can reveal who we are, too. And four years ago, too many people chose to believe that their votes didn't matter. Maybe they were fed up. Maybe they thought the outcome wouldn't be close. Maybe the barriers felt too steep. Whatever the reason, in the end, those choices sent someone to the Oval Office who lost the national popular vote by nearly 3,000,000 votes.
In one of the states that determined the outcome, the winning margin averaged out to just two votes per precinct—two votes. And we've all been living with the consequences.
When my husband left office with Joe Biden at his side, we had a record-breaking stretch of job creation. We'd secured the right to health care for 20,000,000 people. We were respected around the world, rallying our allies to confront climate change. And our leaders had worked hand-in-hand with scientists to help prevent an Ebola outbreak from becoming a global pandemic.
Four years later, the state of this nation is very different. More than 150,000 people have died, and our economy is in shambles because of a virus that this president downplayed for too long. It has left millions of people jobless. Too many have lost their health care too many are struggling to take care of basic necessities like food and rent too many communities have been left in the lurch to grapple with whether and how to open our schools safely. Internationally, we've turned our back, not just on agreements forged by my husband, but on alliances championed by presidents like Reagan and Eisenhower.
And here at home, as George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and a never-ending list of innocent people of color continue to be murdered, stating the simple fact that a Black life matters is still met with derision from the nation's highest office. Because whenever we look to this White House for some leadership or consolation or any semblance of steadiness, what we get instead is chaos, division, and a total and utter lack of empathy.
Empathy: that's something I've been thinking a lot about lately. The ability to walk in someone else's shoes the recognition that someone else's experience has value, too. Most of us practice this without a second thought. If we see someone suffering or struggling, we don't stand in judgment. We reach out because, "There, but for the grace of God, go I." It is not a hard concept to grasp. It's what we teach our children.
And like so many of you, Barack and I have tried our best to instill in our girls a strong moral foundation to carry forward the values that our parents and grandparents poured into us. But right now, kids in this country are seeing what happens when we stop requiring empathy of one another. They're looking around wondering if we've been lying to them this whole time about who we are and what we truly value.
They see people shouting in grocery stores, unwilling to wear a mask to keep us all safe. They see people calling the police on folks minding their own business just because of the color of their skin. They see an entitlement that says only certain people belong here, that greed is good, and winning is everything because as long as you come out on top, it doesn't matter what happens to everyone else. And they see what happens when that lack of empathy is ginned up into outright disdain.
They see our leaders labeling fellow citizens enemies of the state while emboldening torch-bearing white supremacists. They watch in horror as children are torn from their families and thrown into cages, and pepper spray and rubber bullets are used on peaceful protestors for a photo-op.
Sadly, this is the America that is on display for the next generation. A nation that's underperforming not simply on matters of policy but on matters of character. And that's not just disappointing it's downright infuriating, because I know the goodness and the grace that is out there in households and neighborhoods all across this nation. And I know that regardless of our race, age, religion, or politics, when we close out the noise and the fear and truly open our hearts, we know that what's going on in this country is just not right. This is not who we want to be. So what do we do now? What's our strategy? Over the past four years, a lot of people have asked me, "When others are going so low, does going high still really work?" My answer: going high is the only thing that works, because when we go low, when we use those same tactics of degrading and dehumanizing others, we just become part of the ugly noise that's drowning out everything else. We degrade ourselves. We degrade the very causes for which we fight.
But let's be clear: going high does not mean putting on a smile and saying nice things when confronted by viciousness and cruelty. Going high means taking the harder path. It means scraping and clawing our way to that mountain top. Going high means standing fierce against hatred while remembering that we are one nation under God, and if we want to survive, we've got to find a way to live together and work together across our differences. And going high means unlocking the shackles of lies and mistrust with the only thing that can truly set us free: the cold hard truth.
So let me be as honest and clear as I possibly can. Donald Trump is the wrong president for our country. He has had more than enough time to prove that he can do the job, but he is clearly in over his head. He cannot meet this moment. He simply cannot be who we need him to be for us. It is what it is.
Now, I understand that my message won't be heard by some people. We live in a nation that is deeply divided, and I am a Black woman speaking at the Democratic Convention. But enough of you know me by now. You know that I tell you exactly what I'm feeling. You know I hate politics. But you also know that I care about this nation. You know how much I care about all of our children.
So if you take one thing from my words tonight, it is this: if you think things cannot possibly get worse, trust me, they can and they will if we don't make a change in this election. If we have any hope of ending this chaos, we have got to vote for Joe Biden like our lives depend on it.
I know Joe. He is a profoundly decent man, guided by faith. He was a terrific vice president. He knows what it takes to rescue an economy, beat back a pandemic, and lead our country. And he listens. He will tell the truth and trust science. He will make smart plans and manage a good team. And he will govern as someone who's lived a life that the rest of us can recognize.
When he was a kid, Joe's father lost his job. When he was a young senator, Joe lost his wife and his baby daughter. And when he was vice president, he lost his beloved son. So Joe knows the anguish of sitting at a table with an empty chair, which is why he gives his time so freely to grieving parents. Joe knows what it's like to struggle, which is why he gives his personal phone number to kids overcoming a stutter of their own.
His life is a testament to getting back up, and he is going to channel that same grit and passion to pick us all up, to help us heal and guide us forward.
Now, Joe is not perfect. And he'd be the first to tell you that. But there is no perfect candidate, no perfect president. And his ability to learn and grow—we find in that the kind of humility and maturity that so many of us yearn for right now. Because Joe Biden has served this nation his entire life without ever losing sight of who he is but more than that, he has never lost sight of who we are, all of us.
Joe Biden wants all of our kids to go to a good school, see a doctor when they're sick, live on a healthy planet. And he's got plans to make all of that happen. Joe Biden wants all of our kids, no matter what they look like, to be able to walk out the door without worrying about being harassed or arrested or killed. He wants all of our kids to be able to go to a movie or a math class without being afraid of getting shot. He wants all our kids to grow up with leaders who won't just serve themselves and their wealthy peers but will provide a safety net for people facing hard times.
And if we want a chance to pursue any of these goals, any of these most basic requirements for a functioning society, we have to vote for Joe Biden in numbers that cannot be ignored. Because right now, folks who know they cannot win fair and square at the ballot box are doing everything they can to stop us from voting. They're closing down polling places in minority neighborhoods. They're purging voter rolls. They're sending people out to intimidate voters, and they're lying about the security of our ballots. These tactics are not new.
But this is not the time to withhold our votes in protest or play games with candidates who have no chance of winning. We have got to vote like we did in 2008 and 2012. We've got to show up with the same level of passion and hope for Joe Biden. We've got to vote early, in person if we can. We've got to request our mail-in ballots right now, tonight, and send them back immediately and follow-up to make sure they're received. And then, make sure our friends and families do the same.
We have got to grab our comfortable shoes, put on our masks, pack a brown bag dinner and maybe breakfast too, because we've got to be willing to stand in line all night if we have to.
Look, we have already sacrificed so much this year. So many of you are already going that extra mile. Even when you're exhausted, you're mustering up unimaginable courage to put on those scrubs and give our loved ones a fighting chance. Even when you're anxious, you're delivering those packages, stocking those shelves, and doing all that essential work so that all of us can keep moving forward.
Even when it all feels so overwhelming, working parents are somehow piecing it all together without child care. Teachers are getting creative so that our kids can still learn and grow. Our young people are desperately fighting to pursue their dreams.
And when the horrors of systemic racism shook our country and our consciences, millions of Americans of every age, every background rose up to march for each other, crying out for justice and progress.
This is who we still are: compassionate, resilient, decent people whose fortunes are bound up with one another. And it is well past time for our leaders to once again reflect our truth.
So, it is up to us to add our voices and our votes to the course of history, echoing heroes like John Lewis who said, "When you see something that is not right, you must say something. You must do something." That is the truest form of empathy: not just feeling, but doing not just for ourselves or our kids, but for everyone, for all our kids.
And if we want to keep the possibility of progress alive in our time, if we want to be able to look our children in the eye after this election, we have got to reassert our place in American history. And we have got to do everything we can to elect my friend, Joe Biden, as the next president of the United States.
Potential 2020 Democratic vice presidential nominee
Obama was identified as a potential vice presidential candidate in the 2020 presidential election. Slate senior editor Jeremy Stahl wrote in July 2020, "The case for a Michelle Obama national candidacy has always been incredibly simple. If you think that the most popular and qualified candidates with the widest appeal are the likeliest to win a national election, you should want her on the Democratic ticket." Δ]
Obama stated that she was not interested in running for president. Δ] "[T]here’s zero chance. There are so many ways to improve this country and build a better world, and I keep doing plenty of them, from working with young people to helping families lead healthier lives. But sitting behind the desk in the Oval Office will never be one of them. It’s just not for me," she said in a 2019 interview. Ε]