Monday, Dec. 19 wasn't just reserved for the fateful Electoral College vote. That same evening, Oprah's interview with Michelle Obama aired on CBS. The first lady's last interview in the White House was packed full of memorable moments and topics of discussion, but one surely caught the full attention of viewers around the nation who are sad to see the Obamas leave. After much speculation from the public, Obama finally answered whether she'd run for office in the future.
"When everybody found out I was going to be interviewing you this question came up, and I was like 'no way,' Oprah mentioned, prompting the question as though it had already been answered. "Do people seriously think that you are going to run for office?"
As it turns out, Oprah's inkling that Obama wouldn't pursue office after leaving the White House was spot on. Obama responded in an incredibly straightforward manner, leaving no possibility for misinterpretation.
“I think some people think it seriously and some people ... they're just hopeful," she responded. And then Oprah pressed forward, asking again. At that point, the first lady definitively said:
No. Look, that's one thing I don't do — I don't make stuff up. I'm not coy. I have proven that. I'm pretty direct. If I were interested in it, I’d say it. I don’t believe in playing games. It’s not something I would do. But it also speaks to the fact that people don’t really understand how hard this [being in the White House] is."
Though her response likely disappointed Americans who are sad to see the Obama family leave office, she makes a sobering point: living in the White House requires the first family to make major sacrifices. The thought of Mrs. Obama being the first woman president is fun to entertain, but ultimately, the first family's privacy and well-being must be more heavily considered. The future of America isn't something you should lightly place in the hands of a family who's experienced eight years of it already.
Even so, it's not difficult to see why some suspected Obama would pursue some type of political office. After all, former first lady and secretary of state Hillary Clinton succeeded in winning 2.8 million more votes than opponent Donald Trump, setting an impressive precedent for female presidential nominees. Furthermore, Clinton's campaign highlighted Obama's ability to bring people together through her words. In fact, a phrase she said during a Clinton rally — "When they go low, we go high" — arguably became one of the campaign's de facto slogans among the Democratic nominee's supporters.
Obama may have made it clear the current first family is ready for a break from politics, but don't expect her to disappear from the public eye. It's likely she will continue advocating for the causes dearest to her even after she leaves the White House.