Remarks by The First Lady at Take Your Child to Work Day Event
10:36 A.M. EDT
MRS. OBAMA: Hi, guys! How are you? It’s good to see you. How are you guys doing? Hi. It’s Bo! All right, so Bo is the highlight of the visit today. All right, come on, Bo, come on. Bo, Bo, come on, come on, come on. All right. Okay, I'll make sure he gets to come around to everybody. Bo, sit down, stay.
Hey, how is everybody doing?
MRS. OBAMA: That's good. Well, welcome to the White House. How many guys -- of you guys have done this -- did you do this last year? That's good.
So we’re going to make this much more informal than we did last year. I mean, in the last year I talked a little bit, and then you got to ask questions, but the truth is, is that it’s more interesting to talk and answer your questions. So we’re going to do that today.
But let me just welcome you all today. This is an important day for all of us because your parents spend so much time here helping me and the President, and we know that a lot of times they do it because you all make the sacrifices to be here. You guys are helping us just as much as your parents are. So first of all I just want to say thank you. Thank you for being patient and making sure that you’re doing what you’re supposed to do at home so that your parents can do what they need to do here.
Sit down, Bo.
So let’s just start. Do you guys have questions? Why don’t we start with questions.
All right, you in the front.
Q Do you like living in the White House?
MRS. OBAMA: The question is: Do I like living in the White House? And yes, it’s fun living in the White House.
(Bo barks.) (Laughter.) Bo likes it, too. Bo likes living in the White House, too. Some of the most fun parts about living in the White House is getting to share the house with so many people. I mean, we have thousands of people who come here every month just to visit, and it’s really fun to meet a lot of people and to make sure that they feel like this house is special for them, and to share it with everybody else. So it’s been a lot of fun. There are a lot of good things about it.
All right, let’s get a hand. You, young man, in the blue shirt. Yes, you, blue shirt.
Q How does it feel --
MRS. OBAMA: We’ve got a mic. Do we have a mic, too, so that everybody can hear your question?
Q How does it feel being the First Lady?
MRS. OBAMA: How does it feel being the First Lady? I think it feels like being me, you know? You don't change as a person just because you have a different job, you know? So what’s your name?
MRS. OBAMA: Isaiah. So you know how you feel, Isaiah, right? And you feel that way whether you’re at home or at school or at the park or whether you’re with your friends. It’s like you’re always Isaiah, right?
So I think I feel the same way, too. I still feel like who I am; that, you know, I got to take care of my kids and I want to do a good job as First Lady. I want to make sure that I’m making my country proud. But I still feel like me. Does that make sense? All right.
All right, in the aqua blue, pigtails, hands up.
Q Since it’s Earth Day today, what are you doing?
MRS. OBAMA: Say that again?
Q What are you doing for Earth Day?
MRS. OBAMA: For Earth Day. Oh, I think we’re having a reception this evening. Sometimes it’s hard for me to keep up with all the things that we’re doing. There’s a reception here this evening for Earth Day.
And Sasha brought home some energy-efficient bulbs that we have to put in the house. So we’re going to do some bulb replacement. All right?
All right, you right there.
Q Do you miss Chicago?
MRS. OBAMA: You know, the question, do I miss Chicago -- yeah, there are some things that I miss about Chicago. I miss -- but I think the things that I miss about Chicago are the things that I would miss anywhere. And one of the things that the President and I can’t do is sort of just walk down the street by ourselves, you know? We can’t just leave the house and walk by ourselves because we always have security and we have to make sure that we got a lot of people with us. And I think that the thing I miss in Chicago is like being able to walk out of my house and go down on the lake and ride my bike -- but I can’t do that here, either.
So what I tell my girls is that if there’s a reason why -- if there’s something that I miss about Chicago, it would be my family -- and everybody is here with me. So it makes it a lot easier to adjust because all the people that I love are still right here. And we have Bo, and we didn’t have Bo in Chicago.
All right. In the orange and white -- yes.
Q What do you think are the leading causes of obesity in America?
MRS. OBAMA: Okay, this is a -- you want to ask that question in the mic again?
Q What do you think are the leading causes of obesity in America?
MRS. OBAMA: That’s a very astute question. (Laughter.) And you definitely read my bio and you know what my issues are. (Laughter.) It’s a good thing. It’s a good thing.
You know, I think there are a lot of things that cause obesity. I think it’s the lifestyle we live. I think a lot of kids these days spend a lot of time in front of the TV set and on the computer. And when we were young we didn’t have 120 channels that were on 24 hours a day and we didn’t have the Internet and computer games. So when we were little, we had to -- when you were bored, you had to go outside and play. A lot of kids don’t -- are driving to school or they take a bus to school. So I think that we’re just getting less exercise.
And people say that we snack way too much, right, that there are a lot of snacks out there, especially for kids. You guys -- they say the average kid has about five snacks a day or something like that. And if you --
MRS. OBAMA: How many do you have?
MRS. OBAMA: You have two. That’s good. (Laughter.) That’s on average. So somebody out there is having a lot more than two.
(Bo barks.) Come here, Bo. Come here, Bo. Come here, Bo.
And I think that we have to make sure that we eat in a balanced way. It’s, like, you can’t live life without vegetables, right? You got to have vegetables, right, Bo? Yes, you do!
So I think there are a lot of things. And we have to make sure that our parents have -- parents have good information about what foods are good for kids, what snacks are healthy and how much -- how large of a portion size we should have.
So I think it’s a lot of stuff. That’s why with the initiative we’ve got -- we’re asking everybody to be involved in figuring out what we can do to make things better. But thank you for that question.
All right, let’s get somebody way in the back, in the maroon sweater. We’ve got time. We’ve got time. (Laughter.)
Q Is it hard for you and your family to spend time together?
MRS. OBAMA: You know, actually, it is not.
(Bo barks.) I know, I see you.
It’s easier now than it was because the President’s office is -- where are we -- it’s over there somewhere. (Laughter.) So it’s real close, and we live upstairs. So it’s very easy for us to, when we’re working -- like, I can come down from the house and work. And a lot of your parents, they have a commute, they have to get on a train, and they have to come here. So there’s a lot of flexibility. So we make sure that we’re at home when the kids get home and that we have dinner together and that we spend some time over the weekends together. And it’s been a lot easier than I would have thought for us to spend time together as a family.
All right, you. (Laughter.)
Q What school does your kids go to?
MRS. OBAMA: They go to a school called Sidwell Friends and it’s in Washington, D.C., but there’s also the lower school that’s in Bethesda, so it’s two different buildings. Have you heard of that school?
(Bo barks.) (Laughter.) Oh, what a clown. Shh, quiet! (Laughter.)
All right, let’s get another question. Let’s get another question, Bo. All right, who’s next? We didn’t do this side. Let’s do you, right here on the edge in the light blue.
Q What inspired you to become so involved in child obesity?
MRS. OBAMA: You know, it was just watching how children’s diets and habits change. Then I saw it in my household, just how easy it was with schedules being as busy as they are, and parents working a lot of hours. And we get into the habit of giving you guys what’s easy sometimes, Mac and Cheese every night, and driving through the drive-thru a little bit too much. And time is just short.
And I noticed it in my own household. And I thought, well, if I’m having these kind of challenges, it must be hard for the average family who doesn’t have a lot of resources and things like that.
So, you know, I think being a mom and seeing my own kids.
(Bo barks.) What? I know, I know. (Laughter.)
All right, right there.
Q When you were a kid, did you ever, like, dream of becoming the First Lady?
MRS. OBAMA: You know, no, I didn’t. When I was a little kid, I probably had dreams like most little kids. For a second I wanted to be a pediatrician because I liked kids. I never wanted to be a vet. (Laughter.) Then, after I went to college, I wanted to be an attorney, and I practiced for a while.
But no, as a matter of fact, I mean, the notion of being First Lady of the United States -- there had never been anybody of my race who had been here.
(Bo barks.) I know, I know. All right, you’re going to have to go. You ready to go? Are you ready to go?
MRS. OBAMA: All right, you want to go say hi? You want to say hi?
MRS. OBAMA: All right, I'll make sure he can come over there, too. So I'll let him get his energy out with you guys. All right, he’s in play mode. So we’re going to -- I’m going to take him out, and then we’re going to -- I’m going to let him come back in.
All right, let’s go. Come on, let’s go. Let’s go outside. All right, I'll make sure to bring him back in when we’re done, and then everybody can get a chance to say hello.
All right, take him out, Kristen, so that he can get some running. All right. We’ll bring him back in. We’ll bring him back in. And I'll make sure everybody gets a chance to pet him. All right. Yes! Yay for Bo. We’ll bring him back in.
So did that answer your question? All right, good.
Okay. Let’s see, you in the gray hoodie on the end -- you who just turned around.
Q What are you growing in your garden?
MRS. OBAMA: Oh, gosh, a lot of things. Lots of vegetables. I think we’ve got a lot of greens, lettuces, we’ve got lots of herbs, almost every kind of herb -- garlic, thyme, rosemary, all that good stuff. We’ve got some peas. We’ve got a beehive so we’ve got honey growing out there. We’ve got some berries, some rhubarb. Have you guys ever had rhubarb pie?
MRS. OBAMA: Yes. Well, rhubarb, it sort of looks like lettuce, or celery in a sense, but it tastes really sweet like strawberries. You can mix it with strawberries so it’s a good fruit dessert. We’ve got some broccoli, some spinach. We had spinach last night for dinner from the garden. It was really sweet. So we’re growing all kinds of vegetables and fruit.
And I think you guys are going to get a chance to go see a garden. Is that true? Is that part of the tour?
MRS. OBAMA: All right. So that’s good. So you’ll let me know how it’s coming, right? Okay. All right, sounds good.
Q What type of breed is Bo?
MRS. OBAMA: Okay. So what type of breed is Bo? What kind of dog is he? He’s a Portuguese Water Dog. Yeah, and they love to swim. And at first he didn’t always want to swim -- we had to teach him how to swim -- but now he loves the water and he gets in the water any chance he can get. And they’re sort of retrieval dogs. They were used to pull boats and to do things with fishermen. So he’s a very active dog and it’s important to keep him running and playing.
So now is sort of like his busy time, so he was getting a little bored. There are some parts of the day when he’s just sort of quiet and sleepy because he’s run around a lot, but with dogs like Bo they like to play, you got to keep them running. And there are some dogs that are more lap dogs. Well, he’s a running, playing kind of dog. So you got to make sure you give him a lot of exercise.
And he was a gift from a friend of ours, a very important and famous senator, Senator Ted Kennedy, who recently passed. And his favorite breed of dogs were Portuguese Water Dogs. And when he found out that we were looking for a dog, he gave us Bo. He helped us adopt Bo. So Bo is special not just because he’s a special dog, but he was a gift from a very special friend.
(Bo barks.) Yes! (Laughter.) That is correct.
All right, let’s see, let’s see. Purple in the middle.
Q Does Bo bite? (Laughter.)
MRS. OBAMA: Yes. But, you know -- oh, did he bite you? (Laughter.) Well, what he does is like -- Bo is not like biting, I'm going to bite you, but he’s playful. He’s like -- does anybody have a baby brother, somebody who’s teething? He’s beyond teething, but dogs play and they like to mouth and they like to have things in their mouth. And that's the kind of playing he does. And you’ve got to really train him to make sure that he -- like what we do is we put our hands in his mouth so that he knows how hard to bite on a human, because playing with a dog and playing with Sasha and Malia are two different things. So you're always sort of making sure that he knows that mouthing is soft when it comes to people and skin, right?
So he gets playful. That's why it’s important for him to get exercise before he sees everybody, because he might think, oh, you guys are puppies and we're playing and I'm going to -- you know, I'm going to start mouthing on your arm. Well, he’s got to be calm and know this is visitor time and all that good stuff, because he’s just as excited to see you as you are to see him.
All right, young lady in the navy blue on the end right here. Yes.
Q What is your favorite health food to eat?
MRS. OBAMA: My favorite health food -- hmmm. I have a lot of them. Some of my favorite vegetables are spinach, broccoli, those are big in my household. A good snack are -- some of the sort of power bars that they have that -- some of them are nutty, but some of them are kind of chocolaty, too, but they have good calorie balance in them and if you need a good snack in the middle of the day, sometimes those are fun and they make you think like you're having candy, and you're not. So -- but it’s good food.
And I love juices, as much as I can get, fresh juices. Does that help?
All right, I'll come over here. All right, gentleman in the blue striped shirt, please stand in the middle. Yes, you.
Q How is the obesity cure going?
MRS. OBAMA: How’s that going, that cure thing? (Laughter.) Yeah, yeah, well, we haven’t quite solved it yet -- (laughter) -- but we’re on our way.
There are some people who think that -- some scientists who say that the link to obesity is genetic, like it’s something that you’re born with. But what we’re trying to figure out is how do we change behavior, particularly in kids, to just teach them different habits, right?
So my theory is that kids can learn to love vegetables just as much as they can learn to love the taste of candy. I truly believe that. You may not agree, but I think that if you guys are eating healthy things on a regular basis, you start to like them, and you start making choices about a snack so that instead of a snack being a piece of candy, a good snack could be a nice bunch of grapes. Right? How many people like grapes?
So that’s one of those learned things. So instead of saying, Mom, Mom, I’m hungry, can I have a bag of chips? You’ll say, Mom, Mom, I’m hungry, can I have a bunch of grapes? And if you say that I guarantee you she’ll say yes every single time, and they’ll be just as good.
So if we start teaching different habits, if you guys ask for different things, then eventually that will help with your health. And if you’re moving and exercising, that will make you healthy and that will help cure the -- solve the problem of obesity. But we’ve got a lot of work to do and we’re going to need all of you to help us do it.
All right, you, right in the front. I know, I know, we’re going to try to get to as many people as we can, as quickly as we can.
Q What’s your favorite room in the White House?
MRS. OBAMA: My favorite room is actually the Blue Room. Did you walk past it? It’s oval. It’s the oval shape. And when you walk down this hallway, it’s in the center, and it’s -- there are only three rooms in the Residence that have an oval shape. And one is in the bottom. It’s called the Diplomatic Room, and it’s one of the rooms you come into. And then the second one, which is the Blue Room, and then there’s a room upstairs in our house that's called the Yellow Oval Room.
And all of them look out onto the South Lawn, and you can see the fountain, and you can see the Washington Monument, and you can see so much of Washington. And it’s still a cozy-feeling room. So when we have a lot of guests over, it’s really nice to be able to have them see the view.
When we did the Easter Egg Roll, and we walked out with the -- I don't know how many people saw that. Were you there? Were you there? Was it fun? Did you have a good time?
MRS. OBAMA: Well, we walked out, and we walked out onto a balcony, and it was the balcony connected to the Blue Oval Room. It’s that room. So hopefully you’ll see.
Q Well, I saw the balcony, and it was --
MRS. OBAMA: Yeah.
Q -- it was in front of the football --
MRS. OBAMA: Yeah, the football activity section. Yes, that's where the Blue Oval is. It is important to know where the rooms are in relationship to the football activity center -- (laughter) -- which is good.
All right, all right, you.
Q Is there anything you have to do that you don't like to do?
MRS. OBAMA: Say that again? Is there anything I have to do that I don't like to do? Yes. (Laughter.) No. (Laughter.)
Yes, there are always things grown-ups have to do that we don't want to do. I had this conversation with my kids just two days ago, right, because they came home, they had homework, but they saw me sitting, and I was reading over my work for next week. The TV was on, and they said, “Mom, you’re so lucky. You just have nothing to do.” (Laughter.) And I was like, “Yeah, it seems that way.”
But grown-ups, a lot of the stuff we do is stuff we don't want to do, you know? A lot of times we’d rather be playing outside and eating candy and playing with our dogs. But that's part of being a grown-up.
So I think it’s just responsibility. Sometimes you just don’t want any. You want to do what you want to do all the time. And I don't think grown-ups are any different. Right, parents in the room? We’re not different. We want to be hanging out, too.
But a lot of the things that I have to do are a lot of fun. Like, this is something that I love to do. And it’s -- and is this something that I have to do? I think so. But it’s also something that I really love to do. And it’s a lot of fun to talk to you guys. So I get to do a lot of this kind of stuff.
I got to go with Olympians, Winter Olympians yesterday. We went to a school. Shani Davis, the speed skater -- very cool and very silly. He was a lot of fun. And we played and joked and laughed with kids at a school. You know, if I have to do that every day, I'll take it. Right?
All right, green shirt, green shirt. There you go. What, you forgot?
MRS. OBAMA: That's okay. (Laughter.) It’s okay. When you remember, as soon as you remember, we will come back to you. But don’t feel pressured.
All right, in the green. We’ll stick with green. In the green raincoat. So keep an eye on him when he remembers.
Q What kind of music do you like?
MRS. OBAMA: Oh, that's a good question. I like all kinds of music. All right, so this is what’s in my iPod, some of the stuff that's in my iPod. I love Stevie Wonder. That may be -- Stevie -- you know, Stevie Wonder? (Laughter.)
Q Michael Jackson?
MRS. OBAMA: Michael Jackson, I’ve got some Michael Jackson. But I’ve got some Rihanna, I’ve got some Beyonce -- I love Beyonce. (Laughter.) Oh, yeah, I love some Beyonce. I’ve got some new Usher on my CD. I’m trying to relate the things that are on there that you could connect with. Sting, anyone? Sting? (Laughter.) No? What’s so funny? (Laughter.)
And I like some jazz, lots of jazz, but I won’t go into -- you might not -- how many people here are jazz lovers? Some of your favorite artists, yell them out.
MRS. OBAMA: Who?
Q Michael Jackson. (Laughter.)
MRS. OBAMA: Okay, Michael, he’s not jazz. (Laughter.)
Q Louis Armstrong.
MRS. OBAMA: Louis Armstrong, don’t have any of him, but he’s good, too. Any other jazz? What?
MRS. OBAMA: That’s okay. So that gives you a sense. It’s a lot of different things. I love to dance, I love a good beat.
All right. Did you remember yet?
All right, little lady in the orange. Yes, you.
Q I have two questions. The first one is --
MRS. OBAMA: Two. Please stand with your two, so we can see you.
Q The first question is how often do you use your movie theater?
MRS. OBAMA: Oh, good question. Usually on the -- almost every weekend, but not always every weekend.
Q I actually have three. (Laughter.)
MRS. OBAMA: Okay. I don’t want anyone from the press to get any ideas on this. (Laughter.)
Q The second one is: Is your movie theater able to play any movie you want? And is it able to play new movies that are out in the regular theater?
MRS. OBAMA: Yes. The only thing that we can’t play -- we can’t play 3-D movies. So we don’t have 3-D -- are the engineers -- we don’t have 3-D capability yet. That’s correct. But we get all kinds of movies. We get movies that are in theaters now and we get movies that were old movies. You can play TV on there, so when it’s Super Bowl, we have a big Super Bowl party and we’re watching the Super Bowl.
Third and final question.
Q Yes, third and final question.
MRS. OBAMA: Okay. (Laughter.)
Q What do you use most in the White House, like, you have a tennis court, you have -- I can’t remember what else, but you have a lot of things.
MRS. OBAMA: There’s a lot of stuff here, there is. You know, right now I do think we’re using the tennis court the most, because everybody is taking tennis lessons. But when it gets hot we’re going to use the swimming pool a lot. We haven’t used it yet this season, but that’s one of those things we use a lot.
MRS. OBAMA: Sometimes. It’s coming. It’s coming.
All right, the young man right on the end. I’m moving around. I’m coming back that way.
Q What is the thing you care about the most in the environment?
MRS. OBAMA: What do I care about the most in the environment?
Q Yes. Like, what animal or what plant?
MRS. OBAMA: Oh, what animal or what plant. You know, we’re big tiger savers because Malia -- Malia’s one issue for her father is saving the tigers. So we talk about the tigers at least once a week and what he’s doing to save the tigers. (Laughter.) So I think now we are -- you know, he tells her he’s working on it and there are a lot of people who are thinking about it. He hasn’t come up with a sufficient answer yet, but he’s got a couple of more years or so to fix this problem. But I think the Obama household, we’re trying to save the tigers.
All right, okay. All right, all right.
Q Do you spend --
MRS. OBAMA: Wait, here comes the mic. Okay.
Q Do you spend more time with your dog or with your kids? (Laughter.)
MRS. OBAMA: Did everyone get that question? (Laughter.) I think that the appropriate answer would be my children. (Laughter.) No, it’s pretty clear that it’s the kids, because they’re my kids; they need me. Bo can be with anybody. We spend a lot of time -- well, we try to spend a lot of time together as a family. But during the day, a lot of times Bo is outside, he’s running around. He’s not interested in hanging out with me until the girls come home anyway.
Q Or now.
MRS. OBAMA: Or now. You see, he wasn’t even that interested in sitting here for a few minutes. We were trying -- I was trying to get some quality time with him, and he just wanted to play. I was boring.
So all right, we’ll stay in this section. All right, you in the pink. Yes, you. Yes, you, you, you! It’d be you!
Q How often do you go in the Oval Office?
MRS. OBAMA: How often do I go in the Oval Office? Not as often as you think. I can’t think of the last time I was over there. No -- because that's work to me. So that's my husband’s job. So if I have -- if I -- sometimes I have to cut through the West Wing to get to another building, so if I’m there I'll stop in, I'll see what’s going on, or if there’s an event. But I don’t go there everyday like the President does, because I usually -- if I need to talk to him, I'll wait till he comes home.
He’s in New York. He just left. Did you hear the helicopters? Were you guys here when the helicopters took off? You heard it on the news? Well, he just left to go to New York, you’re absolutely right.
Okay. Oh, green, he’s ready. He is ready!
Q Is there anything that you have at the White House that you didn’t have in Chicago, besides the movie theater and the other stuff, like the back of the --
MRS. OBAMA: Yeah, pretty much the movie theater and all the other stuff. (Laughter.) We didn’t have any of this stuff. You know, when we lived in Chicago, we lived in a regular house with a backyard and neighbors, and we didn’t have security, and we didn’t have a swing set, and we didn’t have the South Lawn, and we didn’t have a movie theater. We had DVDs and stuff like that.
Q No, by the stuff, I mean, like the basketball court and the things other former Presidents have built.
MRS. OBAMA: We had none of it. We had nothing, none of it. Sorry.
Q But Bo --
MRS. OBAMA: Bo -- we didn't have Bo. We didn't have Bo. We had nothing! (Laughter.) We had each other. We had love! (Laughter.) That's what we had. But no, we didn’t have any of that stuff in Chicago.
You know what, we did. There was a basketball hoop in our backyard. I know. That's about it.
All right. Okay, you.
Q What is your favorite --
MRS. OBAMA: Get your mic, get your mic.
Q What is your favorite part about being the First Lady and having the power to change like the world and stuff?
MRS. OBAMA: Oh, did you hear that? I have the power to change things.
MRS. OBAMA: Yeah, yeah. My favorite thing is, you know, the feeling that with even small gestures you can impact people’s lives in ways -- I mean, sometimes it’s not even doing anything, but the fact that I can go to a school just for a visit and bring attention to what they’re doing just by coming to visit. I can use this platform to highlight issues that are important and to point out people that are already doing really good things.
So it’s not always anything that I can do, but it’s helping other people get the attention around the good things that they’re already doing -- hard work and sacrifice, people who are doing things for their families. It’s an exciting opportunity to be able to shine the light.
Like, today we’re getting to see how smart you guys are, the whole country is getting to see just how bright and engaging you guys are and how eager you are to ask questions and to learn. And that’s important for us to remember every day, just how important our young people are and just how curious and ready to do anything you all are. So that’s fun.
All right, way in the back, red hair. Yeah, it’s red.
Q Can you do anything to make the recess longer? (Laughter.)
MRS. OBAMA: Say that -- oh, to make recess longer? (Laughter.)
AUDIENCE: Yes! (Laughter.)
MRS. OBAMA: Okay, longer recess. Can I make recess longer? Oh, some people are no -- I see a “no” over there.
Well, the thing that we want to make sure that we want to work to do is to make sure all kids have recess. There are some kids and some schools and some places that don’t have recess. And we want to change that because during the day -- you guys tell me, doesn’t it feel better to get through the day when you get a little break, you get to run around a little bit, get some of that energy out, sweat a little bit, throw a ball? Right? Doesn’t that help you learn? Our belief is that it helps kids learn.
So the first thing is we need to make sure that every kid has an opportunity to have recess in their schools and to get exercise and to have P.E. and to play in sports. Right? And then once we make sure all kids have it, then the question becomes whether we need to make it longer or whether we need to make sure you know your math. Yeah, I know, there’s the school aspect of school, but it’s getting a good balance so that kids are getting a little bit of everything. Does that make sense? All right, sounds good.
All right. Little lady next to Alan in the white. You were blocking her way, Alan.
Q The “move it” business that you do, is it --
MRS. OBAMA: That “move it” business?
Q -- working out well?
MRS. OBAMA: Is the “move it” business working out well? (Laughter.) You know, we just started the “Let’s Move” initiative; this is the obesity initiative. And right now we’re very pleased with the response. Everybody that we’ve come across is excited about the possibility that we could make sure that kids are healthier. I haven’t run into anyone who thinks it’s not a good idea, because it’s all about you all. So, so far so good, but we got a lot of work to do. And we won’t know how good we’re doing for a while. And we’ll see it in you all.
So we’ll check back again next year when you come back, and then you can ask me that question again. All right?
Okay, you, young lady in the line. Yes, yes, you. Yes, you. Find your mic.
Q Do Malia and Sasha still hang out with their friends from Chicago?
MRS. OBAMA: They do. They do. They still hang out with their friends from Chicago as much as possible. So sometimes on vacations, sometimes they come for events. But yeah, that's one of the important things that they’ve been able to do, is make new friends here, really good friends that they love, but their old friends are still folks that they’ve known all their lives. You know old friends you’ve had since you were three, right? There’s nothing like those friends, right? So they’ve been lucky to be able to keep those connections.
All right, let’s see. We have lots of pink in the back, so let’s get the first in the tie-dye pink. I’m coming.
Q Do you help your girls with their homework?
MRS. OBAMA: Yes, every night. Well, Malia is older, so she does her homework on her own, right. She’s very independent, so I don't help her, and she doesn't want my help, quite frankly.
Sasha, who is still in -- she’s a little bit younger, when she needs help -- yes, third grade, that's correct -- and so when she needs help, I help her. But I usually check homework to make sure -- you know, I try not to redo it, but I try to check it and ask her if she can change things if they’re wrong.
So, all right, how about you, young man?
Q How long have you had Bo?
MRS. OBAMA: We’ve had Bo for a little over a year. Right, press? I’m counting on you -- we got him -- it’s like I saw a story on his anniversary. (Laughter.) So it’s been a little over a year, but he’ll be two in October. His birthday is October.
Q He’s big for a one-year-old.
MRS. OBAMA: But, you know, dogs grow fast. The comment was, “He’s big for a one-year-old,” but, you know, one-year-old dogs are not baby puppies anymore. And he’s a big breed dog. So he’s sort of -- that's about as big as he’s going to get. That's the size he is. He’s sort of -- now he’s like a teenager. He’s not a baby anymore. He’s not a baby puppy.
Dogs have shorter life spans, so their life moves along a little faster. So when you’re one or two as a dog, you’re more like a teenager.
Q And if it were 10 -- if the dog was 10 --
MRS. OBAMA: If the dog is 10 years old, the dog is old. It’s an old, old dog.
Q Like a grandma.
MRS. OBAMA: Like a grandma, exactly, exactly. Hope that doesn’t offend anyone. But yeah, that's about where they are in their lives when they’re 10.
Okay, you, young lady in the glasses in the second row.
Q Do you still communicate with your friends in Chicago?
MRS. OBAMA: Yes, I do, too. Like Malia and Sasha, some of my oldest friends are a great comfort, right, so we try to connect as much as possible. So that's been a fun thing for me, too.
All right, how are we doing? We got -- we’re going to be able to do a couple more questions. So if you’ve asked a question, make sure your hand is down. Make sure that you ask a question that hasn’t been asked before. All right? Are these all the hands with brand new questions?
Okay, yes, definitely. All right, here comes the mic. I’m going to do one in each section. One here -- which is you -- one there, one there, and one there. Okay? And I'll go around. Does that sound fair? And you all can talk amongst yourselves and figure out who the question needs to be.
Q I have two. (Laughter.) What’s Bo’s favorite toy?
MRS. OBAMA: What’s Bo -- he likes -- Bo’s favorite toy is this big rope. It’s a huge rope that he likes to drop at your feet, and the game is can you get it before he gets it. So he drops it, and then he waits for you to get it, and then you go to get it, and he tries to get it, and if you get it, then you pull in, you play tug of war, and then he tries to win.
MRS. OBAMA: No, he wins if he plays against Sasha. Usually, I win if I -- because I’m bigger. I’m bigger than Bo.
Q And my second question is: How early do the girls have to get up?
MRS. OBAMA: How early do they have to get up? The girls get up at 6:00 a.m. They could get up later if they move faster. (Laughter.) But that's their choice. You either move slow and get up early, or move faster and get up later.
All right, this section. Okay, in the black. Yes, you.
Q Okay. Oh, yeah --
MRS. OBAMA: Take your time.
Q I just remembered. Why did you start the “Let’s Move” or something, whatever that is?
MRS. OBAMA: That “Let’s Move” thing? Yeah, yeah. Well, that is a question that I answered before. I’m going to answer really quick and give somebody else in this section -- because I want to make sure that all kids are healthy. And it’s important to make sure that kids start out early with good habits. And if you start out early with good habits, then you grow up with good habits, right, and then we have a healthier nation, right? If we’ve got healthier kids, they’re going to be healthier parents, and they’re going to raise healthier kids.
All right, one more in this section. All right, you on the end. Yes.
Q What activities are you and your family interested in the most?
MRS. OBAMA: Activities like sports and things like that? We all like different things. Some of us like soccer. Some like tennis. Some like basketball. Everybody likes to watch movies. We’re all big movie fans. Everybody likes to travel, right. Everybody gets excited when there’s a big trip, and we like to travel when we can all travel together. And usually we don't care where we go. It’s usually fun and interesting. So those are some of the things we like to do.
MRS. OBAMA: Yeah, I know. I know.
All right, we’ve got the question here. All right, we’re going to go in the back, because I’ve done a lot in the front. And the young lady with the stripe -- the multicolored stripes.
Q What are your responsibilities as First Lady, and do they change if President Obama goes out of town?
MRS. OBAMA: That's a good question: What are my responsibilities as First Lady? You know, First Ladies technically don't have a job description, and that's something that's been debated. It’s like whether First Ladies should get paid for what they do, whether there should be a more defined job description.
But right now every First Lady defines their job based on what their interests and passions are. So some First Ladies spent a lot of time promoting reading and literacy. Some people promoted saying no to drugs. Hillary Clinton promoted work with children and work abroad, a lot of international focus. So it really changes from First Lady to First Lady.
For me, the issues are healthy living for our kids. And no, my job description doesn’t change if the President is out of town. The President is the -- he’s the official who is elected by the people of the United States. And there’s a different line of responsibility on that end. So if the President can’t do what he needs to do if he’s out of commission or if he gets sick, then the Vice President steps in. And if the Vice President can’t, then there’s a whole chain of people throughout Congress who take responsibility in the event that something happens to the President.
But the First Ladies -- my role -- is really connected to what the President -- what the issues I’ve picked are as First Lady. Does that make sense?
All right, we’ve got the last question. And it’s going to be in this section, because we had that deal, right? And it is going to be the young lady in red, because you had a lot of people pointing at you so -- (laughter.) I know, I know.
Q What after-school activities do the girls do?
MRS. OBAMA: They do piano. They do practice for their sports. Sasha does dance, hip-hop. Malia does flute. So I think -- I’m sure I’m missing something, but that’s about -- those are -- that’s sort of the array. And then the sports change from season to season. So basketball season Sasha played basketball -- that’s over. I’m probably going to have them do some swimming now that it’s getting warmer, right; work on those strokes.
All right. Well, you know what, we’re done. We are done. I know, I could stay here forever, but now I got to go do the rest of what I have to do as First Lady today. But let me tell you, it was --
MRS. OBAMA: Okay, we will get -- let’s start working Bo back up here, because I made that promise.
MRS. OBAMA: Wait, wait, wait. Everybody sit. I’m going to ask you guys all to -- wait, wait. I’m going to ask you guys all to sit and to be calm because he’s excited -- he’s excited. And I’ll bring up and then I’ll take him to each section. Kristen, if you bring him up to me, then we’ll go around.
You guys, thank you, and make sure you learn a lot.
11:20 A.M. EDT
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