December 29, 2014 12:00 PM

At the end of every year, the President and First Lady sit down for a wideranging interview with PEOPLE. It’s a chance for them to talk about the year’s challenges and successes and an opportunity for our audience to get to know the current occupants of the White House a bit better. The annual PEOPLE presidential interview has become something of a tradition—and it continues largely because so many people in Washington, D.C. (including Presidents), adore PEOPLE’s national political correspondent Sandra Sobieraj Westfall, a tough but compassionate journalist who’s both beloved and respected in political circles.

Whether Sandra is covering the Bushes, the Clintons, the Palins or the Obamas, she’s always fair and nonpartisan; Sandra will tell you she owes that to her readers, but it also makes her a standout in D.C. Sandra and I interviewed the Obamas last week for this issue, and they opened up more than they ever have about their personal feelings on the racial strife fueling protests around the country. There were lighter moments too, like when President Obama talked about deejaying at the White House recently during an impromptu dance party with friends.

In so many ways this has been a tough year for America, and I hope that during the holidays you find your own moments of joy. A heartfelt thanks from the staff here for making PEOPLE a part of your life, and we wish you a magnificent new year.

JESS CAGLE, EDITORIAL DIRECTOR

Follow me on Twitter @MrJessCagle

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