TIME White House

Obama Recalls Trouble Getting a Cab Before He Was President

Presiden Obama at the White House Dec. 12, 2014 in Washington, DC.
Presiden Obama at the White House Dec. 12, 2014 in Washington, DC. Brendan Smialowski—AFP/Getty Images

The First Couple opens up about racism

Before they lived behind the White House gates, Barack and Michelle Obama dealt with the day-to-day racism experienced by black families across America, the First Couple told People in an exclusive new interview.

“I think people forget that we’ve lived in the White House for six years,” Michelle Obama said. “Before that, Barack Obama was a black man that lived on the South Side of Chicago, who had his share of troubles catching cabs.”

“The small irritations or indignities that we experience are nothing compared to what a previous generation experienced,” President Obama said. “It’s one thing for me to be mistaken for a waiter at a gala. It’s another thing for my son to be mistaken for a robber and to be handcuffed, or worse, if he happens to be walking down the street and is dressed the way teenagers dress.”

Read more at People

TIME White House

Obama: ‘No Black Male My Age’ Hasn’t Been Mistaken for a Valet

Presiden Obama at the White House Dec. 12, 2014 in Washington, DC.
Presiden Obama at the White House Dec. 12, 2014 in Washington, DC. Brendan Smialowski—AFP/Getty Images

The President and First Lady opened up in a recent interview about racial prejudices they've experienced

The Obamas opened up about their experiences with racial prejudice in an interview with People magazine.

“There’s no black male my age who’s a professional who hasn’t come out of a restaurant and is waiting for their car and somebody didn’t hand them their car keys,” President Barack Obama said in an excerpt released Wednesday.

He said that it had happened to him, too. First lady Michelle Obama said that another time her husband “was wearing a tuxedo at a black-tie dinner, and somebody asked him to get coffee.”

The president said that the indignities that the first couple…

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

TIME White House

See Michelle Obama’s Best Outfits of 2014

Love it or hate it: Being First Lady of the United States means being one of the leading ladies of fashion.

Whether getting noticed for mostly eschewing the world of fashion, as Hillary Clinton did, or choosing to make a statement with what you wear, as Jackie Kennedy did, the First Lady is going to get attention for what she wears. Michelle Obama has taken well to the role, choosing to mix high and low in her fashion picks, and 2014 was exception.

TIME royals

LeBron Kind of Broke Royal Protocol With Kate

Catherine Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William with Lebron James at the Brooklyn Nets vs. Cleveland Cavaliers, NBA Basketball game on Dec. 8, 2014 in New York.
Catherine Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William with Lebron James at the Brooklyn Nets vs. Cleveland Cavaliers, NBA Basketball game on Dec. 8, 2014 in New York. Michael Dunlea—AP

Watch that arm!

To an American eye, there was nothing strange about a sweaty LeBron James putting his arm around Kate to pose for a photograph after his Cleveland Cavaliers played the Brooklyn Nets on Monday evening. To the British, though, merely touching the Duchess of Cambridge represents a serious breach in etiquette. Someone get some smelling salts!

While U.S. headlines cooed over the adorable mini-jersey James presented to Prince William and Kate, who were in New York as part of their three-day visit, British tabloids led with the fact that star basketball player inadvertently violated royal protocol. While the website of the Monarchy stipulates that “there are no obligatory codes of behavior” for meeting a member of the royal family, the more understood protocol is, well, don’t touch or speak to a royal unless you’re touched or spoken to first.

First Lady Michelle Obama broke this unofficial rule in 2009 when she put her arm around Queen Elizabeth II. The media went wild, but the Queen was cool with it, though, because Obama’s arms are amazing.

Read next: LeBron James Gave William and Kate a Cavaliers Jersey for Prince George

TIME movies

Get Ready for a Movie About the Obamas’ First Date

President Obama addresses Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Dinner- DC
U.S. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama arrive on stage for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Annual Phoenix Awards dinner, September 27, 2014 in Washington, DC. Olivier Douliery—Pool/Getty Images

Filming is slated to start next year on Southside With You

As President Obama enters the back half of his second term, it’s time to start thinking about a biopic. No, not the kind where he makes major decisions about world events. The kind where he goes on a first date with a pretty lawyer.

Shooting will allegedly begin next year on Southside With You, a film depicting Barack Obama and Michelle Robinson’s first date, Deadline Hollywood reports. The future president famously took Michelle to see Do the Right Thing in Chicago on a summer afternoon in 1989. They also visited a Baskin Robbins and shared their first kiss on the curb outside, where a plaque now celebrates that fateful smooch.

Tika Sumpter, who appeared in the James Brown biopic Get on Up, will play Michelle, while the role of Barack has not yet been cast. The movie has been described as a romantic drama, so expect it to be more Before Sunrise and less My Date With the President’s Daughter.

[Deadline Hollywood]

TIME Television

Concert for Valor: Watch Performances by Rihanna, Eminem, Bruce Springsteen

Carrie Underwood, Dave Grohl and the Zac Brown Band all performed at the concert for veterans

HBO’s Concert for Valor drew hundreds of thousands of fans to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., with millions more tuning in on television screens and radios across the country to hear performances by Rihanna, Eminem, Bruce Springsteen, Carrie Underwood, Dave Grohl, Metallica and many more.

The Concert for Valor was staged to boost awareness of veterans’ support groups, raise funds for veterans charities and salute the troops who do so much for the country. Fans came out in force to support the cause and to see stars like Dave Grohl, the Zac Brown Band, John Oliver, Meryl Streep, Steven Spielberg, Will Smith and Tom Hanks, who all seemed to mirror the sentiments summed up by Jamie Foxx,”I came because it’s just the right thing to do.”

Jennifer Hudson performed “The Star Spangled Banner” to open the concert. After a video message from U.S. President Barack Obama, she was joined onstage by Jessie J for a powerful performance of David Guetta’s “Titanium.”

Dave Grohl greeted his hometown crowd, “We’ve got a lot of heroes here tonight, we’re going to sing for them.” He then launched into acoustic versions of some Foo Fighter favorites like “Everlong” and “My Hero,” which turned into a tear-jerking, flag-waving singalong anthem.

Zac Brown band deliver a rousing rendition of “America the Beautiful” and were soon joined on stage by Bruce Springsteen and Dave Grohl for a rollicking rendition of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Fortunate Son,” which some viewed as a controversial song choice due to its anti-war sentiment.

After the Black Keys whipped the crowd into a frenzy with their tracks “Fever” and “Howlin for You,” Carrie Underwood, pregnant and in heels, performed her song “See You Again.” (Read about the military family that changed how she sings the song here). Then backed by the Singing Sergeants of the US Air Force, she performed “Something in the Water” followed by a crowd-pleasing version of “Before He Cheats.”

Metallica was introduced by Jack Black and took the stage sounding loud and proud for a medley of “For Whom The Bell Tolls,” “Master of Puppets” and “Enter Sandman.” They ended their raucous set by dedicating the songs to the troops, “Finally, we get to play for our heroes!” and leading the crowd in a chant of “USA! USA!”

Bruce Springsteen returned to the stage for a stripped down, acoustic set including a haunting version of “Born in the USA,” and a bare bones “Dancing in the Dark” and dedicating his performance of “The Promised Land” to service members who just returned home.

Bryan Cranston did his best Heisenberg impression, encouraging everyone to hire veterans at their companies, before introducing Rihanna who looked like a sparkly Batgirl in a floor-length caped pantsuit to perform “Diamonds” and “Stay.” She was joined onstage by co-headliner Eminem for their hit “Monster.”


As Rihanna left the stage, Eminem made the most the concert being aired on HBO by encouraging everyone to “give it up for motherf–king Rihanna.” The crowd cheered, while the millions of people listening to the show on iHeartRadio undoubtedly enjoyed the beep. Eminem dedicated his track “Not Afraid” to the troops who came home and those who did not. He then launched into “Lose Yourself” and the crowd roared its approval.


Before the concert, officials predicted that the free concert would be the largest gathering on the National Mall in years, surpassing the Fourth of July and many presidential inaugurations. Proving the point, the Park Police tweeted out a photo of the impressive crowds gathered at the National Mall:

TIME

Michelle Obama Wants Female Veterans to Flaunt Their Skills When Seeking Jobs

Michelle Obama
First lady Michelle Obama speaks at the Women Veterans Career Development Forum at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial (WIMSA) at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., Monday, Nov. 10, 2014. Susan Walsh—AP

The post-9/11 female veteran unemployment rate was twice that of men in October

First Lady Michelle Obama thinks veteran women “can’t be modest” when it comes to seeking employment.

“You’ve got to show off a little bit,” the First Lady told a group of over 200 active-duty, retired, and veteran women on Monday. “And believe me, you all have so much to show off. That’s the beauty of it — those years in the military set you apart from so many other candidates.”

Obama gave that advice at a forum on veteran women’s employment where, as a part of the ongoing “Joining Forces initiative,” the First Lady announced new partnerships with online platforms that will make the job-seeking process easier for those who serve our country.

More women serve in the military than ever before, and as of 2014 about 10% of our nation’s veterans are women. But our most recent female veterans—those who have fought in Afghanistan and Iraq—faced an unemployment rate of 11.2% in October, more than five points higher than their male counterparts and double the rate of civilian women. In a recent article in Redbook, the First Lady put the struggles of women at the center of the conversation on veterans’ transition back to civilian life. Many female service members have not only been mothers, but single moms, making the stresses women face when transitioning even harder.

The Obama Administration has been working to expand opportunities for veterans since the First Lady and Dr. Jill Biden launched “Joining Forces” in 2011. Last spring, the introduction of the “Veterans Employment Center,” a new website that helps veterans find and apply for jobs, put increasing career prospects at the center of the initiative.

The LinkedIn and Coursera initiatives are intended to expand those prospects by connecting veterans with work. Veterans on LinkedIn now will receive free access to a premium job-seeker profile and can link those profiles directly to the veteran-specific job hub. On Coursera, an online education platform, veterans can now receive a free certificate from an in-demand course.

Other companies including tech powerhouse Uber have started vets programs. In September, Uber launched an ambitious effort to hire 50,000 veterans as drivers over the next 18 months.

MONEY credit cards

Obama’s Credit Card Was Declined—No, Really.

US President Barack Obama tells a story about his credit card was recently declined at a restaurant
Saul Loeb—AFP/Getty Images

The president shared a story about his own credit card troubles during an executive order signing at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

First, we heard that the former chair of the Federal Reserve couldn’t get a mortgage. Then we learned that one of the most powerful economic figures in the world makes less money than at least 113 of her underlings.

Now we find out that President of the United States had his credit card declined.

At an event at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau today, President Obama said a New York restaurant rejected his card last month. But it wasn’t because he maxed out his credit (or so he says).

“I guess I don’t use it enough, so they thought there was some fraud going on,” Obama said. “I was trying to explain to the waitress, no, I really think that I’ve been paying my bills.”

The President made his remarks while signing an executive order to improve security features on government credit cards. “Even I’m affected by this,” Obama joked.

Luckily, Michelle picked up the tab.

Read on for more help with common credit woes:

Read next: Obama Signs Order to Secure Government Credit Cards From Data Breaches

TIME politics

Michelle Obama: ‘Turnip for What?’

Michelle Obama
First Lady Michelle Obama is joined by school children as they harvest peanuts in the annual fall harvest at the White House on Oct. 14, 2014 Susan Walsh—AP

The First Lady films a hilarious vine about veggie consumption

First Lady Michelle Obama has brought her fresh-produce campaign to the most appropriately named venue yet: the six-second video app Vine.

The advocate of healthy eating — known for her White House garden — poses with a turnip in her brief video clip, before asking “Turnip for what?” It’s a fun play on DJ Snake and Lil Jon’s summer hit “Turn Down for What,” a song that’s had a longer-than-expected life as a voter-registration anthem. It was the perfect response to an Obama impersonator using Vine to ask the First Lady how many calories she burns when she “turns up.”

Perhaps this is the easiest and most cost-effective way to remind a generally disaffected young voter base of the appeals of the Obama presidency leading into the midterm elections. Or maybe the First Lady really just wanted to boogie with a root vegetable. Either way, this is perhaps the most unscripted Michelle Obama we’ve seen yet — willing to expend far more energy on TV appearances from The Biggest Loser to Parks and Recreation, none of which has caught the public’s imagination quite so vividly. We look forward to whatever may be her next veggie-themed song parody (good luck, as no veggie names spring to mind as rhymes for “All About That Bass” or “Shake It Off”) — or just the next time she has fun advocating roughage consumption.

Read next: Michelle Obama Thinks Pencils Are a Crummy Halloween Gift

TIME 2014 Election

Vulnerable Democrats Run Away From Obama

Democratic Challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes And Senate Minority Leader McConnell Locked In Tight Race
Kentucky's Democratic U.S. Senate nominee, and Kentucky Secretary of State, Alison Lundergan Grimes speaks at the Fancy Farm picnic in Fancy Farm, Ky. on Aug. 2, 2014. Win McNamee—Getty Images

There's a reason the President isn't often seen on the campaign trail

In Monday night’s one and only debate for the Kentucky Senate race, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s Democratic challenger refused to say whether she voted for President Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012.

“I have my disagreements with the President,” Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes said. “The President is not on the ballot this year.” She added that it was her “constitutional right for privacy at the ballot box” to decline to name for whom she’d voted.

Though she did so clumsily and has been widely criticized for it, Grimes isn’t the only Democrat seeking a Grand Canyon of distance from Obama this campaign cycle. The President’s approval rating is at 42.6% and his disapproval rating is 10-percentage points higher at 52.3%, according to an average of national polls by Real Clear Politics. And he’s even more unpopular in states where Democrats are locked in tight races for control of the Senate like Kentucky, which he lost in 2012 by 23 points; Alaska, where he lost by 14 points; and Arkansas, which he lost by 24 points.

Democrats are hoping this election won’t be a referendum on the president, as midterm elections so often are. With just days left in the campaign, each race has become a smaller-scale war of parochial issues—most of them on which candidates can easily distance themselves from Obama.

As early as a year ago, Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor, who is warding off a strong challenge in Arkansas, highlighted how he opposed the President’s gun control legislation in his first television ad of the cycle. “No one from New York or Washington tells me what to do,” Pryor said in the ad. “I listen to Arkansas.”

On energy, Democratic Sens. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Mark Begich of Alaska both ran ads distancing themselves from Obama’s positions. “[T]he Administration’s policies are simply wrong on oil and gas production in this nation,” Landrieu said in her spot. Begich bragged that he “took on Obama” to fight for oil drilling in the Arctic and voted against the president’s “trillion-dollar tax increase.”

Democratic Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado said in his first debate with Republican Rep. Cory Gardner that he is the “last person” the Obama Administration wants to see visiting the White House.

And while endangered Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan met Obama on the tarmac in North Carolina in August, going so far as kissing him on the cheek—footage that ended up in campaign commercials against her—she made clear ahead of his trip that she believes his Administration “has not yet done enough to earn the lasting trust of our veterans.” (Obama was there to deliver a speech on veterans issues.)

Even Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who isn’t up for reelection this cycle, has taken the President out to the woodshed in recent days for not doing enough to protect Americans in the wake of the financial crisis. “They protected Wall Street,” she told Salon in an interview. “Not families who were losing their homes. Not people who lost their jobs. And it happened over and over and over.”

Meanwhile, Warren, like former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, is proving to be a powerful and popular surrogate these midterms, welcome in places like Kentucky and West Virginia where Obama dare not set foot.

All of which is why Obama’s spending his weekends during the final sprint to the election day golfing, rather than on the campaign trail. He’s done a huge amount of fundraising, but so far only two campaign events for incumbent governors in Illinois and Connecticut. There are a handful of other solid blue states where Obama can help—in his native Hawaii, for example—but First Lady Michelle Obama is much more in demand than he is. Michelle—who has an approval rating of 69%, higher than both Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton at the same point in their husband’s presidencies—has campaigned for Senate hopefuls in Michigan and Iowa and a gubernatorial candidate in Maine, Massachusetts, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. And she’s scheduled to stump for gubernatorial hopeful Charlie Crist in Florida on Friday, not to mention a bevy of voter registration events in other states.

Running away from an unpopular second-term President is practically becoming a tradition in American politics. Before the 1998 midterm elections, Bill Clinton was plagued by the Monica Lewinsky scandal—though Republican overreach helped his party actually gain seats. And thanks to Iraq and Afghanistan, George W. Bush wasn’t very popular with his party in 2006, even before the financial crisis. Republicans lost both chambers of Congress that year.

“It’s a common phenomenon, running against a lame duck president,” says Prof. James Thurber, director of American University’s Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies. “In the last two years of his Administration, Presidents have tended to be very unpopular, having used up their political capital.”

Still, Obama bears the distinction of being so polarizing that running against him has proven successful for Democrats almost from the moment he was elected. In 2010, West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin ran an ad that showed him shooting climate change legislation endorsed by Obama with a gun. That same year Indiana Democrat Joe Donnelly ran ads distancing himself from the President. Both men bucked an anti-Democratic wave to get elected to the Senate.

Democrats this year are hoping to repeat their strategy. Grimes ran an ad in September that showed her shooting skeet while declaring: “I’m not Barack Obama.”

Read next: Hey, Mitt Romney Cracked a Good Joke

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser