The First Lady has years of practice standing by Pres. Obama, whether it's during elections, at state dinners, or on trips around the world. She's always there willingly and in it to win it — at least, according to Michelle Obama's Late Show interview with Stephen Colbert. The two covered everything from french fries at the royal palace to how cool Beyonce is, but the wisest words Obama shared were about her important role as first lady, and how she plans to make an impact.
Colbert asked Obama if she had any sympathy for the candidates' spouses in the presidential election, because they "kind of have to just go along" with whatever the candidate is doing and "stand there by the person running for president." The short answer? No.
Not really. No, because you have to be in it if you're in it. And if you don't agree, you should've agreed before they ran, you know? Bottom line is if I didn't agree with what Barack was saying, I would not support his run. So, I stand there proudly and I hope they are too, standing there proudly with their spouses. So no sympathy.
Bill Clinton got away from any closer inspection, but Colbert thought that maybe Melania went through a lot, what with the accusations of plagiarism over her RNC speech. "She was criticized for using what turned out to be a portion of your speech," Colbert said, to much audience laughter.
Colbert asked again if Obama had any sympathy for Trump, given the whole ordeal. Obama politely nodded her head as Colbert explained the situation, smiled a bit, and said, "That was tough." Seeing he wasn't getting a rise out of her, Colbert said, "Let's move on, let's move on."
They covered a number of topics, at least one of which was serious. The first spouse has a huge platform to make a difference in the world, and in addition to sharing wise words, they also lead as an example for whomever takes their place. On The Late Show, Obama was promoting the Obamas' Let Girls Learn initiative. It brings together different parts of the U.S. government, including the State Department, Peace Corps, and USAID, to help improve girls' access to education around the world. She told Colbert that growing awareness, both at home and abroad, is key.
Obama, along with daughters Malia and Sasha, made a trip to Africa and filmed a documentary for CNN in Liberia and Morocco. With CNN’s Isha Sesa, they participated in round tables about the difficulties that girls have in these countries getting an education. The documentary, titled We Will Rise, will come out this fall.
Obama had plenty to say about the project, pointing out that the U.S., along with Japan and the UK, have invested hugely in girls' educations worldwide. Colbert, however, wondered about the cultural barriers that girls in some societies face, and how the program can move beyond those. Obama said the Peace Corps is a key partner:
We know that we have to be on the ground. You can't change culture if you're not a part of the culture. The Peace Corps has played an important role. We have Peace Corps volunteers that have led Let Girls Learn initiatives on the ground where they are, in a village, in a community for up to two years, really understanding the cultural issues and developing leadership training programs ... You have to take each community where they are. There's no one solution to that.
Obama brought along some girls to see the show who have participated in the initiative in Malawi, Pakistan, and other countries. The day before, they spoke for the spouses of world leaders who were in New York for the UN General Assembly.