In an extended interview with "CBS This Morning" host Gayle King, first lady Michelle Obama discussed, among other things, how she's changed over the last few years, what she's learned and the issues -- including childhood obesity -- that she's taken on during her tenure in the White House.
A transcript of Gayle King's conversation with Michelle Obama is below.
Gayle King: Let's talk about the campaign.
Michelle Obama: All right, the one coming up, you mean?
King: The one coming up. What would Michelle Obama, January 2012, what do you wish you would have known back in 2008? What would you have told her in 2008? Based on your experience -- and what you've done?
Obama: That's a good question. I would say, just keep focusing on the work that you're doing. Focus on what's in front of you today. And don't read the papers, just go campaign. Just do your thing. Talk to people directly, that's what I would say.
King: Has it been a learning curve for you?
Obama: The campaigning process?
King: No, being first lady.
Obama: Oh, being fir -- oh, yeah, yeah.
King: Being first lady of the United States.
Obama: Oh, yes. Life is a learning curve. But --
King: How so? How so?(Watch Michelle Obama respond to controversial new book.)
Obama: You know, I think you become more comfortable on the issues. You know? When you start out -- at the beginning for example -- take childhood obesity. Can we have a conversation around this issue that's productive and doesn't make people feel defensive? But we can still, you know, move ahead? Can we really garner the entire nation around our military families? Will people care? So, you start out with these wonderful ideas, but you have no idea whether what you want to do with them is gonna go anywhere, right? So then you're a little hesitant, then you're careful and then you're doing more planning and learning than you are doing. You know? Now we're beginning to mature in many of those issues. And we've seen commitments and movements on all sides of the issues. And then you start feeling euphoric and proud and proud of yourself and proud of your team, but more importantly proud of all the people who are stepping up on all of these issues.
King: Do you feel under the gun in the White House as first lady?
Obama: No, I don't. And I think that that's one of the reasons why I think I have the better job, you know? I mean, as first lady, I get to pace the issues, because I wasn't elected. And there aren't people sort of expecting a certain set of things within a certain amount of time. I have the luxury, truly, of defining the issue and laying out a set of goals and adjusting them where needed. The pressures are just very different, in that regard. But I do feel personal pressure to do something, you know? I mean, the one thing I tell my staff all the time, I just don't get into symbolic achievements that, you know, when we walk away --
King: You want tangible results?
Obama: That people can feel. I mean, the thing I say with my military families work is that -- I don't want this just to be P.R. I mean, I'm always asking people on the ground, "Do you feel what we're trying to do?" And until they feel it, in their own lives and in their own homes, we've got to keep working. We've got to keep figuring out how do we tap deeper so that we haven't just moved policy, but we really move lives. So that's pressure that I feel.
King: That you put on yourself.
Obama: Yes. But I think that's real.
King: When you said, "I have the easier job because I wasn't elected," you know, I remember back -- the last campaign, people would say, "I wish you would run for something." Do you ever entertain any --
King: I haven't finished the question. Of running for office of any kind? You never do?
Obama: Never. I don't have an interest in political life, in that way. Never have, never will. And I think that I'm going to be 48 soon. And, you know, one of the things that I know --
King: You're a baby. No, I'm 57. 48, you're a baby. But just saying -- no, 'cause I mean, 48 that's -- gosh, that just seems so -- life really begins at 50.
Obama: Well, good, then that's good to hear, because I'm ready.
King: Will it be harder for you this time, because there have been talk -- there are some people who say they're disappointed in Barack Obama's presidency, that it hasn't accomplished all that they thought that it would or all that he said it would?
Obama: Yeah, but they just don't know.
King: Would you --
Obama: They don't know. They don't know all that. So we're going -- this campaign is going to be about making sure that people understand all that's been accomplished. I think people are confused about -- some may be confused about how much has been accomplished. But that's what you do in a campaign.
King: That's a matter of messaging and getting it out.
King: But how do you address the issue of people being frustrated or disappointed?
Obama: Well --
King: What do you say to that?
Obama: Everything's not fixed. And that's true. Everything's not fixed. The economy is improving, but there's still many people without a job. And that's just a fact of life. And people who need help, who still haven't been helped, are going to be disappointed. People have a right to be disappointed and to feel impatient. But they've got the president who's moving them in the right direction. And I'm excited to remind them of how and what's being done.
King: No question in your mind you want another four years? The Obama family wants --
Obama: Yeah, there --
King: Another four years?
Obama: Yeah, there's so much more work to do. There's so many issues that need to be moved forward. And, you know, four years isn't a lot of time, but you know, yeah, absolutely. I want this president to be my president for as long as he can. Because I am that confident in him. And I take my wife's hat off, because, you know if I talk as Michelle the wife, it's like, "Of course."
King: I expect you to say that, yeah. But take your Michelle the wife hat off. And you --
Obama: If I take my Michelle the wife hat off, then we need this man in office. And he's doing a phenomenal job.
King: But what gets to the two of you the most, when you're all alone and you've gone to bed. And, you know, you've had the day that -- you've had a bad day or he's had a bad day. Do you just sit and go, "What do we need to do? What can we say to people or how frustrated do we become?" What do you say?
Obama: Like most people probably get frustrated by the partisanship that goes on -- when sometimes politics trumps what's good for people -- and that's frustrating to watch. But in the end, you get up and you do your job. It's just, like, how do I feel about people being confused about who I am? I just keep being who I am. And one day, you know, they'll see really who I am, if I'm being true, if I'm being authentic, which is all I can do, then people will get it. There will always be people who'll be disappointed. There will always be people who won't like me, ever. There's nothing I can ever do.
King: Does that bother you?
Obama: No, no. I mean, I think maybe that's because how I was raised. I mean, my mom's like, "You think everybody's supposed to like you?" I remember that conversation. It's, like, you don't worry about the people who don't like you. You worry about the people you can work with. Another thing that I always said, "I'm first lady of the entire United States of America. And I do feel that way. I'm first lady of the people who love me and the people who don't like anything about me. My job is to represent this country and to do it proudly. And I know that that's how Barack thinks. So every day, if you're thinking about what, in your core, you know is best for this country, even if it's hard, even if it's unpopular, you do that job every single day.