YOU’VE BEEN CAMPAIGNING 16 HOURS A DAY FOR MONTHS. LOST ANY WEIGHT?
I have. Probably 7, 8 lbs. I’m not a snacker, so I wait until I can sit down to a proper meal—and I don’t always get the chance.
I SEE YOU’VE GOT YOUR NICORETTE HERE. HOW’S THE NO-SMOKING THING GOING?
Good. I’m done. That was always a little over-hyped. You know, I’d sneak maybe three, four cigarettes a day, then I could go three or four days without one.
WHAT DO YOU MISS MOST ABOUT LIFE BEFORE ALL THIS?
Anonymity. Being able to take my kids [daughters] Malia, 9, and Sasha, 6] to the zoo without attracting attention. I’m in the wrong profession for that now.
HAVE YOU TRIED A DISGUISE?
A baseball cap and dressing down in jeans and an overcoat works if I move fast enough. The problem is my ears are pretty prominent.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE COOL PERKS?
I can’t lie: It’s easier to get reservations when I want to take my wife [Michelle, 44] out to dinner.
WHEN’S THE LAST TIME YOU DID THAT?
On her birthday, January 17. We were in Nevada for the caucus.
WHAT WAS YOUR BEST EFFORT FOR VALENTINE’S DAY?
Interesting question. [Pause.] I’m so good to her in so many ways, no one gesture of undying love really stands out.
WHAT’S THE FIRST PIECE OF LEGISLATION YOU HOPE TO SIGN AS PRESIDENT?
Health care for all Americans.
FIRST EXECUTIVE ORDER?
A series of orders initiating a phased withdrawal of our troops from Iraq.
WHAT ABOUT TROOPS WHO LOST BUDDIES THERE AND DON’T WANT TO LEAVE YET AND LET THOSE DEATHS BE IN VAIN?
Listen, I would say to them, our soldiers have performed magnificently, and they succeeded in the missions that have been given them. So they have not been lost in vain.
YOU PICKED RENEGADE AS YOUR SECRET SERVICE CODE NAME.
It had to start with ‘R’ and it suited the upstart nature of our campaign.
WHAT’S THE LAST THING YOU PRAYED FOR?
Every night I thank God for all He’s given me, ask Him to protect my family, to forgive me my sins and foolishness and to make me an instrument of His work.
ANY PARTICULAR FOOLISHNESS?
Oh, all of it. I am reminded every day—if not by events, then by my wife—that I am not a perfect man.
WHAT’S THE LAST THING THAT MADE YOU CRY?
My girls. They’ll say something that makes me realize how quickly they’re growing up, how good-hearted they are. Malia is wise and thoughtful. Sasha is the comedian in the family.
WHAT’S THE FUNNIEST THING SHE’S SAID LATELY?
I was sleeping late with the girls, and Michelle, who always wakes up early, turns on the lights. And Sasha says, ‘Aw, Mommy, we are peace!’ She meant ‘peaceful,’ I gather. Now, whenever Michelle and I want quiet time, we say, ‘We are peace!’
WHAT’S THE FIRST THING THEY WANT WHEN YOU WALK THROUGH THE DOOR?
Hugs and kisses from their daddy. Malia has a key-chain collection and Sasha collects snow globes, so I try to make sure I’ve picked up some along the way.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR LOOK?
Simple. My theory on style is find something that fits and buy five—like blue suits. They come in handy when you’re running for President.
YOU USED TO HAVE AN AFRO. WHAT MADE YOU GIVE IT UP?
My sort of half-Afro lasted well beyond the time it was fashionable, mainly because I didn’t want to spend $20 a week on haircuts.
WHAT WAS YOUR LAST SPLURGE?
My wife. Her birthday present. It was a necklace. And it wasn’t fake.
Elton John, when I was 10. The music was terrific, but I didn’t get all the plumage. I guess I get it now.
SONNY & CHER OR DONNY & MARIE?
Sonny & Cher, even though Sonny ended up Republican. I thought Cher was pretty hot.
FAIR ENOUGH. MARCIA BRADY OR LAURIE PARTRIDGE?
I’m trying to remember what Laurie Partridge looked like. Oh yeah. Susan Dey from L.A. Law. Definitely her.
WHO WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO MEET?
Bruce Springsteen. He strikes me as a good person.
WOULD YOU CAMP OUT FOR HANNAH MONTANA TICKETS FOR YOUR GIRLS?
I should amend what I said earlier about the greatest perk. I was able to get them tickets already, which raised me tremendously in their eyes.
MICHELLE’S TAKEN YOU TO TASK FOR NOT PICKING UP YOUR SOCKS. EQUAL TIME: WHAT DOES SHE DO THAT DRIVES YOU CRAZY?
I will display the wisdom I will display as President and decline to answer. My wife has no flaws.