First Lady: Health Care "A We Thing"

Michelle Obama on "The Early Show" 022210 CBS

Calling health care reform "a we thing," Michelle Obama says President Barack Obama is in that battle for keeps.

She tells "Early Show" co-anchor Maggie Rodriguez, "We can't afford to … give up, not in this country. We're already seeing premiums going up for people who do have insurance. And there are still millions of Americans who are underinsured or uninsured."

Mrs. Obama spoke with Rodriguez at Philadelphia's Fairhill Elementary School, where she was touting her first major initiative as first lady - her "Let's Move" campaign against childhood obesity -- an epidemic that leads to $147 billion in annual medical costs and an issue that goes hand-in-hand with health care reform.

Asked whether she could imagine a scenario in which her husband gives up on trying to find a compromise, Mrs. Obama responded, "My hope is that the country understands that we need to do this. Right? This is a 'we' thing. We all have to work together and decide that this is a priority and we're gonna make the compromises and changes that need to happen to get health care to everyone."

But the partisan divide in Washington is as wide as ever, and many Democratic lawmakers are quitting after their current terms. Can the bleeding be stopped?

"You know, these are tough times," Mrs. Obama replied. "When times are tough, it's hard on the people who are in power, both Republicans and Democrats. it's the nature of the beast. But we have to stay focused."

What could help Democrats keep some crucial seats?

"Some of it takes time. Some of it takes time for people to see the healing. Some if it takes time for people to, you know, believe that jobs are coming back and to feel the improvement that is actually occurring -- because things are getting better. … And sometimes people need to feel it before they believe that it's actually working."

Mrs. Obama also told Rodriguez she would be willing to campaign for Democratic candidates in the fall. Her approval rating remains sky-high.

CBSNews.com Special Report: Health Care

To see the interview, click on the video below:


Watch CBS News Videos Online

The first lady also spoke with Rodriguez about her childhood obesity initiative:


Watch CBS News Videos Online
  • CBSNews

Comments