Michelle Obama On #MeToo, 2020, and George W. Bush - Rolling Stone
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Michelle Obama on #MeToo, 2020 and Her Buddy George Bush

The former First Lady addressed rumors concerning her presidential ambitions and other topics

Michelle Obama participates in the International Day of the Girl on NBC's "Today" show at Rockefeller Plaza, in New YorkInternational Day of the Girl on NBC's Today Show, New York, USA - 11 Oct 2018

Michelle Obama participates in the International Day of the Girl on NBC's "Today" show at Rockefeller Plaza in New York.

Charles Sykes/Invision/AP/REX Shutterstock

Donald Trump’s presidential ambitions may have cost his hotel empire oodles of money, he may have lost some of his best friends, and he may ultimately be forced to pay tens of millions in back taxes, but, hey, at least he’ll have a lifetime supply of Altoids when this is all over. That’s the moral of the story Michelle Obama told on the Today Show Thursday.

The former first lady sat down with hosts Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie on International Day of the Girl to announce a new Obama Foundation initiative funding 1,500 programs that will educate girls around world.

But, after she talked about that, she told a story about George W. Bush, who was filmed passing her a breath mint at John McCain’s funeral in September.

“President Bush and I… we are forever seat mates because of protocol — that’s how we sit at all the official functions — so he is my partner in crime at every major thing where all the formers gather,” Obama explained. “So we’re together all the time, and I love him to death. He’s a wonderful man. He’s a funny man.”

He is also, it turns out, a bit of a hoarder. “I will add: they were old cough drops. That’s the funny thing, because they were in the little White House box, and I was like, ‘How long have you had these?’ And he said, ‘A long time — we got a lot of these!’”

The former first lady also addressed more serious questions about the #MeToo movement.

“I’m surprised at how much has changed and how much has not changed, and I think that’s where the fire is coming from,” she said. “Enough is enough. The world is a, sadly, dangerous place for women and girls and we see that again and again…and I think young women are tired of it.”

She dismissed concerns of a backlash. “That’s what happens with change. Change is not a direct smooth path. There’s going to be bumps and resistance,” she said. “There has been a status quo in terms of the way women have been treated, what their expectations have been in a society and that is changing, and there’s going to be a little upheaval. There’s going to be a little discomfort, but I think it’s up to the women out there to say: Sorry that you feel uncomfortable, but I’m now paving the way for the next generation.

As dismal as the political climate has gotten, she says she’s still optimistic. And she still believes in taking the high road, regardless of what President Obama’s former attorney general, Eric Holder, says. Asked about Eric Holder’s recent re-crafting of her catchphrase “When they go low, we go high,” into “When they go low, we kick them,” Obama said: “Fear is not… a proper motivator. Hope wins out. And if you think about how you want your kids to be raised, how you want them to think about life and their opportunities — do you want them afraid of their neighbors?”

The former first lady’s memoir,“Becoming,” comes out November 13. She’ll kick off a national book tour in Chicago that day. Admirers of the first lady should not harbor any fantasies that her reemergence on the national stage is a prelude to a 2020 run, though. She shut down speculation that she might run for office herself.

“Absolutely not,” Obama said.  


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