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The Obamas' Exclusive Interview: "Happiness Is Family"

It's been a long road for the First Couple since their inauguration, but they keep their family strong.

In tomorrow’s exclusive interview with Barbara Walters on 20/20, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama agree that the definition of “perfect happiness” lies close to home.

“Happiness is family – the health of family – just to keep it short,” Mrs. Obama says. “I could go on and on and on, but when my family’s good, I’m good.”

Adds the President: “When I feel that the people closest to me are happy and healthy and I’m connected with them, and when I feel as if I’m doing things that make other people feel better and happy, then I feel real good. That’s when I’m at my peak.”

The First Dad also reveals that he instills his classic “hope and change” message to his daughters as well. Read on:

 

Asked by Walters what virtue is most overrated, Obama cites “security.” He explains that Malia once brought up the subject: ” ‘…sometimes transitions are hard, and I really like my life, and I like how things are going.’ And I said, ‘Get in the habit of being able to embrace change, and what’s new. Because you don’t want to live life where you’ve been held back because you’ve gotten too comfortable, and you are afraid of what might be out there around the corner.”

We wonder what Sasha and Malia will think when they find out their parents have been known to tell the occasional little white lie. “Usually, the only time I lie is [in] very personal interactions with family members, [to whom] you say, ‘You look great,’ and they don’t,” admits the President. ” ‘Wonderful dress…’ Uh, not so much.” Michelle Obama agrees: “When it would hurt someone else’s feelings. When the truth isn’t helpful.”

And maybe the girls will think twice about putting off their homework or letting their rooms get cluttered. Their famous father says that the trait he hates most in others is “laziness. Nothing frustrates me more than when people aren’t doing their jobs.”

The tween sisters won’t be cut any slack if they engage in middle-school bullying – their dad says, “I can’t stand cruel people” – or stubborn sibling fights; their mother says she hates it “when people are unwilling to compromise….And I don’t like it when I see that in myself.”

After nearly 20 years of marriage, the First Couple still seems close and committed. When Walters asks each to describe the other in three words, the President calls his wife “beautiful, smart and funny,” while she calls him “devoted, sportsman and father.” What are their pet peeves about each other? Mrs. Obama says, “Oh, the list is too long!” while her husband wisely says, “Oh, I don’t have one.”

Bet Sasha and Malia won’t have many pet peeves about their dad when they find out he just bought them a Wii game for Christmas!

The full interview will air on ABC tomorrow.

[Photo: Pacific Coast News]

Read more of Shana’s writing at Momsperiments.

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