The realities are that, you know, as a black man, you know, Barack can get shot going to the gas station, you know.
I want kids to know: Don't wait for somebody to come along and tell you you're special. Because that may never happen.
I want a president with a record of public service: someone whose life's work shows our children that we don't chase form and fortune for ourselves; we fight to give everyone a chance to succeed.
Every day, the people I meet inspire me... every day, they make me proud... every day they remind me how blessed we are to live in the greatest nation on earth.
We're all bombarded with so many dietary messages that it's hard to find time to sort through all this information, but we do have time to take a look at our kids' plates.
It's like, remember who you always were, where you came from, who your parents were, how they raised you. Because that authentic self is going to follow you all through life, so make sure that it's solid so it's something that you can hold on and be proud of for the rest of your life.
What I admire most about Hillary is that she never buckles under pressure. She never takes the easy way out. And Hillary Clinton has never quit on anything in her life. And when I think about the kind of president that I want for my girls and all our children, that's what I want.
The problem is when that fun stuff becomes the habit. And I think that's what's happened in our culture. Fast food has become the everyday meal.
Another suggestion is to cook a meal, maybe not every night, but a couple more times a week than you usually do. That way you have leftovers, and you take your lunch to work.
And let's be clear: It's not enough just to limit ads for foods that aren't healthy. It's also going to be critical to increase marketing for foods that are healthy.
I have to be in tune. All the time. I have to be in tune with my husband, where he is, how he's feeling. I have to be in tune with where my family is.
You have to stay in school. You have to. You have to go to college. You have to get your degree. Because that's the one thing people can't take away from you is your education. And it is worth the investment.
If my future were determined just by my performance on a standardized test, I wouldn't be here. I guarantee you that.
What I have never been afraid of is to be a little silly, and you can engage people that way. My view is, first you get them to laugh, then you get them to listen.
There are folks who now know black families - like the Johnsons on 'Black-ish' or the folks on 'Modern Family.' They become part of who you are. You share their pains. You understand their fears. They make you laugh, and they change how you see the world.
You should never view your challenges as a disadvantage. Instead, it's important for you to understand that your experience facing and overcoming adversity is actually one of your biggest advantages.
I have never felt more confident in myself, more clear on who I am as a woman. But I am constantly thinking about my own health and making sure that I'm eating right and getting exercise and watching the aches and pains. I want to be this really fly 80-90-year old.
A candidate is not going to suddenly change once they get into office. Just the opposite, in fact. Because the minute that individual takes that oath, they are under the hottest, harshest light there is. And there is no way to hide who they really are.
The fact is, with every friendship you make, and every bond of trust you establish, you are shaping the image of America projected to the rest of the world. That is so important. So when you study abroad, you're actually helping to make America stronger.
For the record, our democracy is revered around the world. And free elections are the best way on Earth to choose our leaders. This is how we elected John F. Kennedy; Ronald Reagan; two George Bushes; Bill Clinton; and Barack Obama. It has worked for decades.
While I believed deeply in my husband's vision for this country... and I was certain he would make an extraordinary President... like any mother, I was worried about what it would mean for our girls if he got that chance. How would we keep them grounded under the glare of the national spotlight?
If people wonder, yes, Hillary Clinton is my friend. She has been a friend to me and Barack and Malia and Sasha, and Bill and Chelsea have been embracing and supportive from the very day my husband took the oath of office.
I always say that women should wear whatever makes them feel good about themselves. That's what I always try to do.
When I get up and work out, I'm working out just as much for my girls as I am for me, because I want them to see a mother who loves them dearly, who invests in them, but who also invests in herself. It's just as much about letting them know as young women that it is okay to put yourself a little higher on your priority list.
For the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country. And not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change. And I have been desperate to see our country moving in that direction.
When trouble breaks out, our men and women in uniform, they don't just sit around thinking about it or talking about it - they act. They put on that uniform. They leave their loved ones behind. They go out there. They give orders. They follow orders. They do whatever it takes to keep our country safe.
I look at how my kids view exercise. They have a complete understanding that nutrition and exercise go hand in hand. I didn't think like that when I was a kid. But they have a real consciousness about it that I'd like to think comes from the years of attention we've put into this.
Like so many American families, our families weren't asking for much. They didn't begrudge anyone else's success or care that others had much more than they did... in fact, they admired it.
Whether we're Democrats, Republicans, or independents - it does not matter. We all understand that an attack on any one of us is an attack on all of us.
With every word we utter, with every action we take, we know our kids are watching us. We as parents are their most important role models.
Our life before moving to Washington was filled with simple joys... Saturdays at soccer games, Sundays at grandma's house... and a date night for Barack and me was either dinner or a movie, because as an exhausted mom, I couldn't stay awake for both.
My first job in all honesty is going to continue to be mom-in-chief. Making sure that in this transition, which will be even more of a transition for the girls... that they are settled and that they know they will continue to be the center of our universe.
I have a very eclectic iPod. So I've got my cardio people - so it's anything from Beyonce to some Jay-Z to Janelle Monae, her song 'Tightrope,' that's a good cardio song. And then I've got Sting. I've got Mary J. Blige. I've got The Beatles. I've got Michael Jackson. I try to pick the songs that I personally love.
When it comes to the health of our families, Barack refused to listen to all those folks who told him to leave health reform for another day, another president. He didn't care whether it was the easy thing to do politically - that's not how he was raised - he cared that it was the right thing to do.
I have learned that as long as I hold fast to my beliefs and values - and follow my own moral compass - then the only expectations I need to live up to are my own.
I say this everywhere I go: I admire and respect Hillary. She has been a lawyer, a law professor, First Lady of Arkansas, First Lady of the United States, a U.S. Senator, Secretary of State.
The difference between us and them, between you and success, is not that you never fail, but it's how you recover from those failures - is that you keep getting up time and time again. You figure out what you did wrong, and then you make it right. I say that to my kids every day.
If proud Americans can be who they are and boldly stand at the altar with who they love then surely, surely we can give everyone in this country a fair chance at that great American Dream.
Remember a few years ago when Congress declared that the sauce on a slice of pizza should count as a vegetable in school lunches? You don't have to be a nutritionist to know that this doesn't make much sense.
We need an adult in the White House. When making life-or-death, war-or-peace decisions, a president can't just pop off or lash out irrationally.
The issues that cross a president's desk are never easy. The easy questions don't even get to the president.
Although the circumstances of our lives may seem very disengaged, with me standing here as the First Lady of the United States of America and you just getting through school, I want you to know we have very much in common. For nothing in my life ever would have predicted that I would be standing here as the first African-American First Lady.
I've said this time and again: My greatest concern coming into the White House was making sure my girls came out whole and normal, and decent and kind, just like I would expect them to if we were living on the South Side of Chicago. And it takes work to keep White House life normal for the kids.
Hillary doesn't play. She has more experience and exposure to the presidency than any candidate in our lifetime - yes, more than Barack, more than Bill. So she is absolutely ready to be Commander-in-Chief on day one. And, yes, she happens to be a woman.
And I love that even in the toughest moments, when we're all sweating it - when we're worried that the bill won't pass, and it seems like all is lost - Barack never lets himself get distracted by the chatter and the noise. Just like his grandmother, he just keeps getting up and moving forward... with patience and wisdom, and courage and grace.
Fortunately, we have help from the media. I have to say this: I'm very grateful for the support and kindness that we've gotten. People have respected their privacy and in that way, I think, you know, no matter what people may feel about my husband's policies or what have you, they care about children and that's been good to see.
Our veterans who fall on hard times and find themselves without a home deserve more than just handwringing or kind words. They deserve real help that gets them back on their feet.
I want a president who will teach our children that everyone in this country matters, a president who truly believes in the vision that our Founders put forth all those years ago that we are all created equal, each a beloved part of the great American story.
I never cut class. I loved getting A's, I liked being smart. I liked being on time. I thought being smart is cooler than anything in the world.
Kids are watching us. I experience it every single day. They hang on my every word, what I wear, what I say.
I love our daughters more than anything in the world - more than life itself. And while that may not be the first thing that some folks want to hear from an Ivy-league-educated lawyer, it is truly who I am. So for me, being Mom-in-Chief is, and always will be, job number one.
You've got to vote, vote, vote, vote. That's it; that's the way we move forward. That's how we make progress for ourselves and for our country.
We are a nation founded as a rebuke to tyranny. A nation of revolutionaries who refused sovereign reign from afar. Hear me - we're a nation that says give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. A nation built on our differences, guided by the belief that we're all created equal.
There were the questions of what kind of First Lady I would be, what issues would I focus on. Those were the questions that were being pounded on me through the campaign. A lot of times, I wondered what in the world Barack was even getting us into.
Those 62 million girls who are not being educated around the world impact my life in Washington, D.C., in the United States of America. Because if we aren't empowering and providing the skills and the resources to half of our population, then we're not realizing our full potential as a society, as mankind.
One of the lessons that I grew up with was to always stay true to yourself and never let what somebody else says distract you from your goals. And so when I hear about negative and false attacks, I really don't invest any energy in them, because I know who I am.
Whether you come from a council estate or a country estate, your success will be determined by your own confidence and fortitude.
I love that for Barack, there is no such thing as 'us' and 'them' - he doesn't care whether you're a Democrat, a Republican, or none of the above... he knows that we all love our country... and he's always ready to listen to good ideas... he's always looking for the very best in everyone he meets.
I can't say this enough - the food that you put into your bodies can actually help you get better grades. And it can also affect your performance in sports and other activities too. You see, when you give your body the best possible fuel, you have more energy, you're stronger, you think more quickly.
After an era of everything being super-sized, who would have thought that major companies would be racing to market smaller, lower-calorie versions of their snacks and beverages - from half-sized candy bars to little, mini soda cans? We see it everywhere we go.
My husband will tell you one of the most frequent questions he gets from world leaders is, 'How's your wife's garden?'
It was clear to me that if I could get through Princeton at the top of my class, I could do anything in the world.
The truth is, in order to get things like universal health care and a revamped education system, then someone is going to have to give up a piece of their pie so that someone else can have more.
I hope that people around the world will be as inspired as I am to step up and to speak out on behalf of girls around the world who struggle to go to school.
We need a president who will choose to do what's best for the country, even when it doesn't personally benefit them.
If I made a commitment, I stood by that commitment - and try to make it real. Because when you become leaders, the most important thing you have is your word, your trust. That's where respect comes from.
I've come to admire our military kids more than you all will know, because you guys are heroes. And the only way your parents are able to serve is because you guys hold it down, and you do it with maturity beyond your years.
We can make a commitment to promote vegetables and fruits and whole grains on every part of every menu. We can make portion sizes smaller and emphasize quality over quantity. And we can help create a culture - imagine this - where our kids ask for healthy options instead of resisting them.
The issues a president faces are not black and white, and cannot be boiled down into 140 characters. Because when you have the nuclear codes at your fingertips and the military at your command, you can't make snap decisions. You can't have a thin skin or the tendency to lash out.
We learned about honesty and integrity - that the truth matters... that you don't take shortcuts or play by your own set of rules... and success doesn't count unless you earn it fair and square.
I come here tonight as a sister, blessed with a brother who is my mentor, my protector and my lifelong friend. And I come here as a wife who loves my husband and believes he will be an extraordinary president.
I think Hillary Clinton is a phenomenal woman, and I've gotten to know her, and I think she's made some pretty major contributions over the course of her life.
I worked with Congress on legislation, gave speeches to CEOs, military generals and Hollywood executives. But I also worked to ensure that my efforts would resonate with kids and families - and that meant doing things in a creative and unconventional way. So, yeah, I planted a garden and hula-hooped on the White House lawn with kids.
As president, you can get all kinds of advice from all kinds of people. But at the end of the day, when it comes time to make that decision, as president, all you have to guide you are your values and your vision and the life experiences that make you who you are.
See, that's why Barack's running: to end the war in Iraq responsibly - to build an economy that lifts every family, to make sure health care is available for every American - and to make sure that every child in this nation has a world-class education all the way from preschool to college.
We learned about gratitude and humility - that so many people had a hand in our success, from the teachers who inspired us to the janitors who kept our school clean... and we were taught to value everyone's contribution and treat everyone with respect.
We believe that every single child has boundless promise, no matter who they are, where they come from, or how much money their parents have. We've got to remember that. We believe that each of these young people is a vital part of the great American story.
I've seen how the issues that come across a president's desk are always the hard ones - the problems where no amount of data or numbers will get you to the right answer.
What we know is that when girls don't go to school, they earn lower salaries. They get married earlier. They have higher infant and maternal mortality rates. And they're more likely to contract HIV, less likely to immunize their children.
The notion that we have even one single veteran living on the streets should be just considered a travesty to all of us.
My experiences at Princeton have made me far more aware of my 'blackness' than ever before. I have found that at Princeton, no matter how liberal and open-minded some of my white professors and classmates try to be toward me, I sometimes feel like a visitor on campus; as if I really don't belong.
I am an example of what is possible when girls from the very beginning of their lives are loved and nurtured by people around them. I was surrounded by extraordinary women in my life who taught me about quiet strength and dignity.
And I come here as a daughter, raised on the South Side of Chicago - by a father who was a blue-collar city worker and a mother who stayed at home with my brother and me.
I specifically did not read other First Ladies' books, because I didn't want to be influenced by how they defined the role. I knew that I would have to find this role - very uniquely and specifically to me and who I was.
Being president isn't anything like reality TV. It's not about sending insulting tweets or making fiery speeches; it's about whether or not the candidate can handle the awesome responsibility of leading this country.
All of us are mentors. You're mentors right here and now. And one of the things I've always done throughout my life, I have always found that person, that group of people that I was going to reach my hand out and help bring them along with me.
I always tell young girls, surround yourself with goodness. I learned early on how to get the haters out of my life.
Let's be very clear: Strong men - men who are truly role models - don't need to put down women to make themselves feel powerful. People who are truly strong lift others up. People who are truly powerful bring others together.
What I tell my kids is, 'I'm preparing you for college and for life. So, having independence, knowing how to set your own boundaries, figuring out how to make that balance. We still have screen-time rules.'
My mother's love has always been a sustaining force for our family, and one of my greatest joys is seeing her integrity, her compassion, her intelligence reflected in my daughters.
I like to talk about my obsession with french fries because I don't want people to think that 'Let's Move' is about complete, utter deprivation. It's about moderation and real-life changes and ideas that really work for families.
Barack knows the American Dream because he's lived it, and he wants everyone in this country to have that same opportunity, no matter who we are or where we're from or what we look like or who we love.
When a father puts in long hours at work, he's praised for being dedicated and ambitious. But when a mother stays late at the office, she's sometimes accused of being selfish, neglecting her kids.
One of the things I realized is that if you do not take control over your time and your life, other people will gobble it up. If you don't prioritize yourself, you constantly start falling lower and lower on your list, your kids fall lower and lower on your list.
When it comes to social media, there are just times I turn off the world, you know. There are just some times you have to give yourself space to be quiet, which means you've got to set those phones down.
Talent and effort, combined with our various backgrounds and life experiences, has always been the lifeblood of our singular American genius.
Women in particular need to keep an eye on their physical and mental health, because if we're scurrying to and from appointments and errands, we don't have a lot of time to take care of ourselves. We need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our own 'to do' list.
This healthy eating stuff, it's here to stay, and we now have everything we need to seize the opportunity and give all our kids the healthy futures they so richly deserve.
Through my education, I didn't just develop skills, I didn't just develop the ability to learn, but I developed confidence.
It wasn't so long ago that I was a working mom myself. And I know that sometimes, much as we all hate to admit it, it's just easier to park the kids in front of the TV for a few hours, so we can pay the bills or do the laundry or just have some peace and quiet for a change.
All of these young people have some kind of potential in them. And if we don't invest in them as a nation, regardless of where they come from or what color they are, if we don't invest in them, we lose.
What I admire most about Hillary is that she never buckles under pressure. She never takes the easy way out. And Hillary Clinton has never quit on anything in her life.
Here in America, we don't let our differences tear us apart. Not here. Because we know that our greatness comes from when we appreciate each other's strengths, when we learn from each other, when we lean on each other, because in this country, it's never been each person for themselves. No, we're all in this together. We always have been.
I remember one parent-teacher conference at the lower school, and Barack went, and there were SWAT guys on top of the roof of the school. And Malia was like, 'Dad, really? Really? Do they really have to be up there?' And it's like, yeah, honey, they do.
You don't have to be a renowned artist like Q-Tip to try your hand at poetry. You don't need any special equipment - that's the beauty of it.
I love that we can trust Barack to do what he says he's going to do, even when it's hard - especially when it's hard.
Right now, when we're hearing so much disturbing and hateful rhetoric, it is so important to remember that our diversity has been - and will always be - our greatest source of strength and pride here in the United States.
When they set off for their first day at their new school, I will never forget that winter morning as I watched our girls, just 7 and 10 years old, pile into those black SUVs with all those big men with guns.
I want a president with a record of public service, someone whose life's work shows our children that we don't chase fame and fortune for ourselves: we fight to give everyone a chance to succeed.
We learned about dignity and decency - that how hard you work matters more than how much you make... that helping others means more than just getting ahead yourself.
Oh, I can't play soccer, and I'm not a great swimmer. I won't drown, but you won't see me doing laps in a pool.
As we've seen time and again, women and girls who are out there working, they are truly force multipliers, spreading opportunity through their families and communities - and not just by creating programs and nonprofit organizations, not just by hiring other women, but also by serving as role models themselves.
Whether you want to go into music, whether you want to be a lawyer, whether you want to be President of the United States, the bottom line for all of you is that you have got to get your education.
People change because of kids. They change how they eat. They change the way they think. They change the way they see one another.
I think our democracy has it exactly right: two terms, eight years. It's enough. Because it's important to have one foot in reality when you have access to this kind of power.
That is my wish, hope, instruction for all of you: Take your education seriously, okay? Always do that. Because I wouldn't be here today if it weren't for my education.
We give speeches and pin ribbons onto uniforms, etch names into walls. And all that is fine, but too often, all those tributes, all those words aren't always backed up by action. And that felt like such a stark contrast to me, because, as we all know, our military is all about action.
Public education is our greatest pathway to opportunity in America. So we need to invest in and strengthen our public universities today, and for generations to come.
When it comes to the qualifications that we should demand of our president, to start with, we need someone who will take the job seriously.
And Barack and I were raised with so many of the same values, like you work hard for what you want in life. That your word is your bond; that you do what you say you're going to do. That you treat people with dignity and respect, even if you don't know them and even if you don't agree with them.
I'm not asking any of you to make drastic changes to every single one of your recipes or to totally change the way you do business. But what I am asking is that you consider reformulating your menu in pragmatic and incremental ways to create healthier versions of the foods that we all love.
You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world's problems at once but don't ever underestimate the importance you can have because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own.
Remember, it is not about voting for the perfect candidate - there is no such thing. Presidents are human.
We all need to start making some changes to how our families eat. Now, everyone loves a good Sunday dinner. Me included. And there's nothing wrong with that. The problem is when we eat Sunday dinner Monday through Saturday.
Together, we can help make sure that every family that walks into a restaurant can make an easy, healthy choice.
I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves, and I watch my daughters - two beautiful, intelligent black young women - playing with their dogs on the White House lawn. And because of Hillary Clinton, my daughters, and all our sons and daughters, now take for granted that a woman can be president of the United States.
When you are president, being able to clearly articulate detailed plans to help the people of this country is a good thing. Knowing what you're doing is a good thing. And let me tell you, Hillary Clinton absolutely knows what she's doing.
I think that people are tired. They're tired of the same old kind of politics. People want a new tone to politics.
At the end of the day, when it comes time to make that decision, as president, all you have to guide you are your values, and your vision, and the life experiences that make you who you are.
We need someone with superb judgement in their own right because, yes, a president can hire the best advisors on Earth, but I guarantee you this: Five advisors will give five different opinions. And it is the president - and the president alone - who always makes the final call.
My kids are normal. If they could eat burgers and fries and ice cream every day, they would. And so would I. But that doesn't sustain us.
When you're not engaged in the day-to-day struggles that everybody feels, you slowly start losing touch. And I think it's important for the people in the White House to have a finger on the pulse.
For so many people, television and movies may be the only way they understand people who aren't like them.
Our love, our gratitude, our admiration for our men and women in uniform, our veterans and their families - all of that is bigger than any one party or any one election.
Our greatness has always come from people who expect nothing and take nothing for granted - folks who work hard for what they have, then reach back and help others after them.
Sometimes, it's just easier to say yes to that extra snack or dessert, because frankly, it is exhausting to keep saying no. It's exhausting to plead with our kids to eat just one more bite of vegetables.
I tried to be a serious student and not procrastinate, but I was still somebody that would be described as somebody who liked to have fun, too, and go to the occasional party - or two or three.
One thing I just want to say to the military families - while you might not wear a uniform, I know - we all know, the nation knows - that you serve and sacrifice right alongside of your loved ones. And we are so grateful and proud of all of you for your service to this nation.
Clearly this is a tough economic time, and a lot of families are hurting. So when we talk to parents, we talk about small changes for kids and things that don't cost extra money. Like adding water and eliminating sugary drinks and sodas. That's going to save money right there. Or adding a few more vegetables.
I was a sociology major. And it had nothing to do necessarily with law, which is ultimately - I went to law school. But what I tried to do was choose something that I was passionate about or something that I cared about.
I think I'm pretty smart. I think I'm pretty clever. But there's a lot that you hone in on when you finish your education.
I view myself as being the average woman. While I am first lady, I wasn't first lady my whole life. I'm a product of pop culture. I'm a consumer of pop culture, and I know what resonates with people.
For me, education has never been simply a policy issue - it's personal. Neither of my parents and hardly anyone in the neighborhood where I grew up went to college. But thanks to a lot of hard work and plenty of financial aid, I had the opportunity to attend some of the finest universities in this country.
Even if we give parents all the information they need and we improve school meals and build brand new supermarkets on every corner, none of that matters if when families step into a restaurant, they can't make a healthy choice.
Exercise is really important to me - it's therapeutic. So if I'm ever feeling tense or stressed or like I'm about to have a meltdown, I'll put on my iPod and head to the gym or out on a bike ride along Lake Michigan with the girls.
You see, at the end of the day, my most important title is still 'mom-in-chief.' My daughters are still the heart of my heart and the center of my world.
I have seen how leaders rule by intimidation. Leaders who demonize and dehumanize entire groups of people often do so because they have nothing else to offer. And I have seen how places that stifle the voices and dismiss the potential of their citizens are diminished: how they are less vital, less hopeful, less free.
I can't play soccer, and I'm not a great swimmer. I won't drown, but you won't see me doing laps in a pool.
Throughout my 20s and early 30s, I had jobs that I loved. I worked in city government. I ran a youth organization. I served as an associate dean at a university. And I couldn't imagine how a baby would fit into all of that.
There are definitely designers that I love, people I love to work with. And who they are as people matters. Are they good people? Do they treat their staff well? Do they treat my staff well? Are they young? Can I give them a boost? But when all of that is equal... is it cute?
So we know that it's not enough for us to simply encourage more people to study abroad. We also need to make sure that they can actually afford it.
I wish every American had an opportunity to sit down, to go to a base, to meet with families, to meet with service members, to sit down with our veterans - because we would think differently about our challenges as individuals.
I could have spent eight years doing anything, and at some level, it would have been fine. I could have focused on flowers. I could have focused on decor. I could have focused on entertainment. Because any First Lady, rightfully, gets to define her role. There's no legislative authority; you're not elected. And that's a wonderful gift of freedom.
My family didn't have a lot of money, so I worked my heart out to get my degrees. But the minute I graduated, suddenly everyone was asking me, 'Well, when are you going to get married and start having kids?' And the truth is I had no idea how I would balance the expected role of wife and mother with a challenging career.
I'm asking myself, 'What do my girls, what do all our children deserve in their president? What kind of a president do we want for them?' Well, to start with, I think we want someone who is a unifying force in this country: someone who sees our differences not as a threat, but as a blessing.
As a mom, I know it is my responsibility, and no one else's, to raise my kids. But we have to ask ourselves, what does it mean when so many parents are finding their best efforts undermined by an avalanche of advertisements aimed at our kids.