The Obamas On Their Personal Transition

Talk About Their Family's Move To The White House, And Efforts To Preserve Sense Of Normalcy

In 66 days, Barack and Michelle Obama and their daughters 10-year-old Malia and 7-year-old Sasha will be the youngest first family to move into the White House since the Kennedys nearly 50 years ago.

While the Obama transition team has been working closely with the Bush administration to ensure an orderly transfer of power, the Obama family has been working hard on a transition of their own that began with an emotional election night in Chicago.



Steve Kroft: When was the first moment that it began to sink in that you were President of the United States? Do you remember?

Mr. Obama: Well, I'm not sure it's sunk in yet.

Michelle Obama: I guess I'm sort of like him. I'm not sure if it has really sunk in. But I remember, we were watching the returns and, on one of the stations, Barack's picture came up and it said, 'President-Elect Barack Obama. ' And I looked at him and I said, 'You are the 44th President of the United States of America. Wow. What a country we live in.'

Mr. Obama: How about that?

Michelle Obama: Yeah.

Mr. Obama: Yeah. Yeah. And then she said 'Are you gonna take the girls to school in the morning?'

Michelle Obama: I did not. I didn't say that.

Mr. Obama: It wasn't at that moment.

Kroft: You made the address in Grant Park. And you brought the kids out. And, at some point you whispered something. Can you remember that?
Michelle Obama: I said, 'Wow, Look at this.'

Mr. Obama: How 'bout that?



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Michelle Obama: I told him, 'Good job. Well done.' To walk out there and see hundreds of thousands of hard working folks, because so many people put their energy and their hopes into this campaign. To see the outcome and the emotion, it was a very emotional evening because I think people were ready to take hold of this country and help move it in a different direction and you felt that.

Kroft: The emotion of that night was fueled, in part, by the fact that you were first African-American ever elected. Did you feel that?

Mr. Obama: There's no doubt that there was a sense of emotion that I could see in people's faces and in my mother-in-law's face. You know, I mean, you think about Michelle's mom, who grew up on the west and south sides of Chicago, who worked so hard to help Michelle get to where she is, her brother to be successful. She was sitting next to me, actually, as we were watching returns. And she's like my grandmother was, sort of a no-fuss type of person. And suddenly she just kind of reached out and she started holding my hand, you know, kind of squeezing it. And you had this sense of, 'Well, what's she thinking?' For a black woman who grew up in the 50s, you know, in a segregated Chicago, to watch her daughter become first lady of the United States. I think there was that sense across the country. And not unique to African-Americans. I think that.

Michelle Obama: That's right.

Mr. Obama: I think people felt that it was a sign of the enormous progress that we've made in the core decency and generosity of the American people. Which isn't to say that there were a number of reasons that somebody might not have voted for me. But what was absolutely clear was is that whether people voted for me or against me, that they were making the judgment based on is this guy gonna, you know, lead us well? Is this guy gonna be a good president? And that was my assumption walking in. And that's how it turned out. And that felt good.

Kroft: What was your conversation like the next morning at the breakfast table with the kids.

Michelle Obama: Yeah, everyone was tired.

Mr. Obama: Because they had been up until midnight.

Michelle Obama: They had been up. But we got up and went to school. But we went to school late. Barack, you slept in. You know, so I think we were just back into the routine. Our hopes are to just to keep the girls moving. It's like okay , Daddy's president-elect, okay, we can get to school by 10. And we got to the school and the folks at the school were excited. Some people were cheering as I walked the kids to the class. And I remember Malia saying, 'That's embarrassing.' But you know, it was a pretty normal day for us.

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