Sitting down for their annual interview with PEOPLE Managing Editor Larry Hackett and Washington, D.C., correspondent Sandra Sobieraj Westfall, President and Mrs. Obama reflect on the year’s difficulties, both in the political arena and the smaller challenges he encounters at home.
“I’ve got three opinionated, strong, tall women,” says President Barack Obama. “If they get together, they can have fun about my ears or being too loud, or how I dress.”
If only that genial ribbing was the worst of his year. The President, joined by Michelle Obama in the White House’s Blue Room, also answered questions about the glitchy launch of healthcare.gov – yes, he tried to log on, and initially found it “frustrating” when he couldn’t – and his awkward call to German Chancellor Angela Merkel after it was revealed that the U.S. National Security Agency was listening in on her conversations.
“Because technology is changing so fast and the information is out there, we have to make sure that just because we can do something, doesn’t mean we do do something.”
If you eavesdropped on a typical day at the White House, it might sound a lot like any home with young teens. The Obamas reveal that daughters Sasha, 12, and Malia, 15, weigh in on Mom’s fashion choices and have tutored Dad in using Instagram and Vine. And, like any kids, they are occasionally embarrassed by their parents.
“Malia had friends over, and there was a question about whether she was going to even introduce them [to her dad], because sometimes he gets a little formal, asking them about school and interests,” the First Lady tells PEOPLE. “She says, ‘I don t know if my friends can handle that.'” Then she turns to her husband and says, “But she said that you actually did quite well.”
“I acquitted myself well,” notes the President. “I did not embarrass her.”
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