Michelle Obama talks Vegas shooting, "honoring" the office of president

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 12: Former First Lady Michelle Obama speaks during the Partnership for a Healthier America Summit May 12, 2017 in Washington, DC. The PHA held its summit to address childhood obesity.

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Former First Lady Michelle Obama lamented that offering comfort to victims of gun violence has become "too much" of part of the job of being president, and expressed her condolences to the victims and families of the deadly Las Vegas shooting, and she also took a couple of veiled jabs at President Trump.

At the Pennsylvania Conference for Women, Obama addressed the shooting that left over 50 dead and over 400 wounded, saying that much of the role as commander-in-chief is "overseeing that kind of loss and really not having a solution to offer families when you comfort them." And there is a dearth of solutions to the increasing occurrence of gun violence violence because the country is "not at that point yet," she suggested.  

Obama told audience members that the weight of the job was part of the sacrifice of being in the White House.

"That's the kind of stuff that you're dealing with on a day-to-day basis, and you open the newspaper, and every thing in it is your husband's responsibility and indirectly, yours."

In talking about how her life now feels more open, without the constraints of the presidency, Obama also suggested the current occupant of the White House isn't treating the office the same way.

"We sort of had a standard of ethics, and there were things we wouldn't do -- you know -- so there were a lot of constraints under the Obama administration," Obama said. "There was a certain expectation, so there was a lot that we couldn't do and we didn't do because of our respect for the position and what it means to the country to have a commander-in-chief that actually upholds and honors the office, so definitely, life is freer now."   

The line was met with a round of loud applause and cheers from the crowd. 

At another point, as she has in other speeches, she mentioned the bar for her husband's presidency, which she perceived as always rising - the "bar just kept moving," she said. "We're seeing that now, quite frankly, the bar is [motions downward." And she warned, "But I want women to watch this. I want you all to pay attention because this is what happens when we don't stand up."

Asked about a "seat at the table" for women, Obama didn't refer to the president by name, but suggested, "This is what happens when we don't stand up, we give our seats up to people who are 'supposed to be' because we have notions of what power and success have to be."

She added, discussing the notion of feeling inadequate for a given role, "I've been at so many tables with so many fools, but shame on us if we sit by and let an imposter talk us down."

Recently, Obama spoke out against Mr. Trump at another engagement, criticizing female voters who cast their ballots for then-candidate Trump. 

"Any woman who voted against Hillary Clinton voted against their own voice," Obama said, while maintaining that she and her husband, former president Barack Obama, still hope for Mr. Trump's success.

"We want him to be successful," she said of Mr. Trump. "He was elected."

Her future as a civilian is "pretty wide open," with a role with the Obama Foundation. But she's still enjoying her time off, telling moderator and hit TV-show writer Shonda Rhimes, "I'm kind of good at chilling for a little bit."

"Figuring out the next chapters, at my age and Barack's age, we're not ready to stop," she said. The two are learning "what it means to be a former and continue to be relevant and have impact in this new position." Obama indicated that she and her husband hoped to do this through their work with the Obama Foundation and presidential library, "It's important to make way for those new voices, those new perspectives, so the country continues to evolve."

  • Emily Tillett

    Emily Tillett is a politics reporter and video editor for CBS News Digital