- Gayle King moderated former First Lady Michelle Obama’s sold-out book tour stop at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia, on May 11.
- During their 90-minute conversation, Mrs. Obama discussed her bestselling memoir Becoming and why she's not running for president or endorsing a 2020 Democratic candidate in the primary.
On Saturday, May 11, O’s editor at large Gayle King moderated former First Lady Michelle Obama’s sold-out book tour stop at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta. During their 90-minute "intimate conversation," Mrs. Obama, 55, discussed everything from her best-selling memoir Becoming to undergoing marriage counseling with former President Barack Obama, per The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
But, of course, with 21 Democratic candidates running for president in 2020, including Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Marianne Williamson, and Beto O'Rourke, the question lingering on everyone’s mind in the arena was which candidate the Obamas are throwing their support behind in the primaries. Thankfully, King did the audience members’ bidding.
"How close are you following the campaign, and have you picked a candidate for 2020," King asked.
Surprisingly, Mrs. Obama, who was keen on keeping the conversation void of politics, revealed to the packed arena why they shouldn’t hold out for any endorsement news anytime soon.
"No, Barack and I are not endorsing in the primary because we want to support whoever wins," Mrs. Obama told King. "Let me just say that everyone should be following this election-and every election-very closely. You have to be knowledgeable."
King also wanted to know if Mrs. Obama would ever consider running for president, like many had hoped Oprah would do after her powerful Golden Globes speech in January 2018. But like the O of O, who King admitted wouldn’t run unless she "got a call from Jesus," the Becoming author nipped the suggestion in the bud as you can see in the video below.
"Here’s the thing: People have to want to be in politics," she said. "It has to be their passion. It’s not just because y’all like them. Like Oprah, she’s nice, she’s got a great TV show, so she should be president. That’s not how it works. We did that."
Mrs. Obama's last sentence seemed to hint at President Donald Trump's journey from the hit NBC series The Apprentice to the White House, and it caused the audience to erupt into laughter and applause. But Mrs. Obama, keeping with her "when they go low, we go high" mantra, insisted the statement wasn’t a slight or "political shade" towards Trump.
"Being president is hard and it’s dangerous because there are no easy answers to any of this stuff," she explained. "It requires intelligence and it requires understanding history."
She continued, "You’ve got to have the temperament and patience. As a mother what you do not understand, if you’re asking me to run, is the toll it takes on the people around the president. It is a heavy ask. My children are graceful, wonderful, and they are champions to have made it through eight years alive on the other end of this. I am grateful."
Prior to her sit-down with King, Mrs. Obama also visited a small group of students at both Morehouse College and Spelman college, two Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the Atlanta University Center (AUC). The students spent the last semester studying Mrs. Obama’s book as the required text for a political science class called "Black Women: Developing Public Leadership Skills." According to FOX5 Atlanta anchor and reporter Marissa Mitchell, Mrs. Obama chatted about her struggles when she was a student at Princeton University.
Mrs. Obama’s stop in Atlanta marked the second-to-last event of her arena tour across more than 20 cities in the U.S. She officially wrapped the tour, including four stops in Canada and six in Europe, on May 12 at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee.
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