In her heart, she didn't think America was ready to accept an African American president. But it turned out that the former first lady was oh-so-wrong after all. At an event promoting her memoir Becoming, Michelle Obama talked about Barack Obama's run for presidency and why she supported her husband.
"One of the reasons why I agreed to support Barack's run for president was that," Obama said while lowering her voice, "deep down I was like, there's no way he's going to win. And we can just sort of get this out of the way and I could be that supportive wife going, oh, honey, you tried." That was the entire plan, Obama added.
After the crowd's laughter settled down, Obama got serious. "I didn't believe that America was ready for a black president," she said, "let alone a black president named Barack Hussein Obama."
In Becoming, Obama also touches upon this fear she had about her husband's campaign in 2008. "I said yes, though I was at the same time harboring a painful thought, one I wasn’t ready to share: I supported him in campaigning, but I also felt certain he wouldn’t make it all the way," Obama wrote.
Adding further in her memoir, Obama wrote about how her husband would speak about American affairs and how he had wanted to improve the general state of the country at the time. "He spoke so often and so passionately of healing our country’s divisions," Obama wrote, "appealing to a set of higher ideals he believed were innate in most people. But I’d seen enough of the divisions to temper my own hopes."
In plain and simple words, Obama wrote about her trepidation and worries. "Barack was a black man in America, after all," she said in Becoming. "I didn’t really think he could win."
The former first lady also talked about how she would never run for president. In April, at the Simmons Leadership Conference in Boston, Obama said, "The reason why I don't want to run for president — and I can't speak for Oprah [Winfrey] — but my sense is that, first of all, you have to want the job."
"And you can't just say, 'Well, you're a woman, run,'" Obama added then. "We just can't find the women we like and ask them to do it, because there are millions of women who are inclined and do have the passion for politics."
The former president also openly talked about the racism he faced while his administration was in power. In 2016, he told CNN, "I think there's a reason why attitudes about my presidency among whites in Northern states are very different from whites in Southern states."
"Are there folks whose primary concern about me has been that I seem foreign, the other?" he said. "Are those who champion the 'birther' movement feeding off of bias? Absolutely." It looks like Obama was keenly aware of such bigotry against her husband.