In their first joint magazine cover, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden grace the April 24 issue of PARADE magazine to discuss their first joint project, Joining Forces, which supports and honors the families of the nation’s service members.
The First Lady mentioned:
When I started campaigning for my husband, I wanted to meet with groups of women to make sure their stories were a part of the conversation in his campaign and potentially in his administration. Everywhere I went there were military spouses, and their stories took my breath away – the pain of multiple deployments, trying to keep the family afloat. I remember sitting and crying with a group of them. Studies show that many military families feel like the country doesn’t recognize or appreciate (them). And it breaks my heart, because they’re serving as passionately and deeply and proudly as the men and women in uniform.
Dr. Biden added: “We just need to say to America, ‘Wake up. You need to support these families and we need to lift them up and really value them.’”
Check out more snippets from the exclusive interview below.
PARADE: Mrs. Obama, in a recent Quinnipiac poll, their so-called National Feeling Thermometer, you got the warmest rating. You got 60.1 degrees, better than any other politician, which you’re not. The President of the United States got 56.5 degrees. So what makes you so warm and fuzzy to the American people?
OBAMA: Well, if people feel warmth for me, that’s a good thing. You know, I think I am a warm person. It helps that I’m able to pick issues that are really authentic to me in some way, shape, or form. And I think that’s the beauty of [my and Jill’s] roles is that issues aren’t thrown at us unlike our husbands. We get to make concrete decisions about what brings us passion. And when you’re working on anything that you care deeply about, that shines through. And perhaps that’s what people are feeling, but it’s hard to… That’s one of those embarrassing things. [laughs] Why am I so lovable?
PARADE: Americans can be somewhat schizophrenic about what they want the First Lady and the vice president’s wife to be. Are you the Mom-in-Chiefs? Are you meant to set policy? Are you meant to be warm and fuzzy? What have you learned about what the American people expect your roles to be?
BIDEN: I think we set what we want our roles to be. I mean, I’m a grandmother, and a mother, and a teacher, and Michelle has her own roles. We’ve chosen different subjects to focus on, but we’ve also chosen military families to work together on. I hope that Americans feel that we complement one another.
PARADE: In past interviews, Mrs. Obama has spoken quite eloquently about Laura Bush’s helpfulness when she came here and of the trail blazing of Hillary Clinton. Dr. Biden, is there a Second Lady who gave you great advice?
BIDEN: Tipper Gore. She called me the day that we were chosen and after the election, and I’ve met with her a couple times. She said, “Just be who you’ve always been.” That was great advice, and I think I’ve followed that. I’m still a teacher, I’m still a mother involved with my children and a grandmother involved with my grandchildren. It’s just now at a higher profile level, of course.