11:16am PT by Trilby Beresford
Barack Obama on How the Fundamental Character of Joe Biden is What America Needs After "So Much Division and Anger"
Former president Barack Obama appeared as a guest on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on Friday, where he discussed his new memoir A Promised Land, his time in quarantine and the fundamental characteristics of President-elect Joe Biden that are exactly what America needs after "so much division, anger and frustration."
At the top of the show, Obama teased Fallon's "disheveled" look during the episodes of The Tonight Show that were filmed from his house during the height of the stay at home orders, comparing his past looks to the current appearance of a more polished Fallon in a suit with hair product, sitting behind a desk in the studio again.
Moving onto the book, Fallon acknowledged that A Promised Land was not a "quick read" for him, but he got his money's worth. The late-night host described the book as a "deep dive" into Obama's journey into the White House and his first few years as president. "The goal of my book was to tell a story, about yes policy, and you know, the Affordable Care Act, and how we got Bin Laden and all that stuff," explained Obama. "But also to try to pull the curtain back and give people a sense of what it's like for a family to go on this weird journey."
Elaborating, Obama said that he and Michelle and their daughters had to hold on to a sense of "normalcy" amid the highs, lows, tensions and stresses of his presidency. "And so part of my goal here was not just to give some dry report, but you know, describe for people what it's like, you know, the first night you sleep in the White House and you kind of realize, 'What the heck? How'd I end up here?'"
He went on to say that one of the greatest accomplishments of his presidency was how he and Michelle raised two girls "in this very strange environment and them turning out to be these wonderful, not at all entitled, kind, thoughtful people."
Obama also gave an update on his daughters, noting that Malia is a senior at Harvard and Sasha is a sophomore at Michigan — they have both been doing remote learning and getting a bit of "cabin fever" hanging out at home.
Speaking about quarantine, Obama said that he has wanted to simply "take a walk" sometimes, but that he's realized he can't do that due to being too recognizable. Instead, Obama has been going on bike rides, "'cause you're moving fast enough that even if they spot you, it's too late," he laughs. "You're gone by that time."
Of the incoming president Joe Biden, Obama spoke of the fundamental characteristics that are "exactly what America needs right now after so much division and anger and frustration" — Biden's ability to listen. "He really cares about hearing people and letting them know that they're important," said Obama.
"Just having somebody who likes people, cares about 'em, knows their struggles," he continued. "I think that's going to make a big difference and I think Kamala will bring some of those same values to bear when they get sworn in."
View the whole interview below.