“I think people know Michelle well enough to know how amazing she can be as a public speaker,” he says of his wife. “They probably are less aware of what it’s like to work out with Michelle when she’s really in her groove. And sometimes that includes her boxing. You don’t want to get in the way when she’s working on a bag — including some kicks. There’s force there.”
As for his eldest daughter, 22-year-old Malia, the proud dad says “she is just buoyant.”
“She’s somebody who enjoys people, enjoys life, and enjoys conversation,” he says. “She’s never bored, which is a bada** quality that can take you places.”
When it comes to 19-year-old Sasha, the former president says she’s “completely confident about her own take on the world and is not cowed or intimidated — and never has been — by anybody’s titles, anybody’s credentials.”
“If she thinks something’s wrong or right, she will say so. When she was 4, 5, 6 years old, once she made a decision, she would dig in and couldn’t be steered off it,” the A Promised Land author says. “I write about it in the book, how we were trying to get her to taste caviar when we were visiting Russia. She was like, ‘Mnn-nnh. No. Sorry. That looks slimy. It’s nasty. I’m not going to do it — even if I’ve got to give up dessert.’ And that part of her character has always been there.”
The magazine also published an excerpt from Obama’s recently released memoir, in which he wrote about one of his favorite things about his late mother, Ann Dunham.
“Appalled by racism, she would marry outside her race not once but twice, and go on to lavish what seemed like an inexhaustible love on her two brown children,” he writes. “Incensed by societal constraints put upon women, she’d divorce both men when they proved overbearing or disappointing, carving out a career of her own choosing, raising her kids according to her own standards of decency, and pretty much doing whatever she damn well pleased.”
A Promised Land is out now.
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