Michelle Obama Recalls How Her Late Father Taught Her to Take Voting 'Incredibly Seriously'

Michelle Obama
CBS Television Distribution

Michelle Obama wants you to vote, and she'll tell you as much -- no matter if she's on Instagram Live with Jennifer Lopez and Zendaya or at the DNC. On Wednesday, the former first lady appeared on The Rachael Ray Show to sing a little Schoolhouse Rock and open up about how her late father taught her to take voting "incredibly seriously."

"We just don't have those discussions anymore about the importance of voting," she told Rachael Ray, explaining that children need to learn about their civic duties both in school and at home. "So many people don’t know because we haven’t made it a priority like we did growing up."

"I remember voting with my father, who voted in every single election," Obama said. "My father had MS -- that meant he could only get around with the assistance of a cane or crutches and later he was on a motorized cart." Her father, Fraser Robinson III, was involved in Chicago politics and despite his disability presenting certain struggles navigating the polling place, "My father never missed an election ever, ever."

She continued, "I remember voting with him when we were little, and they had the machines with the little levers that you click and they would close the curtain. I thought, 'Oh my God, this is such an awesome responsibility and my father is taking this incredibly seriously.' When it was time for me to vote, I did it with enthusiasm and pride."

Obama appeared virtually from her home, where she told one inquiring viewer that, yes, even the former First Family will inevitably drive each other a little crazy amid a global pandemic. "Quarantine started out so lovely," she shared.

"There was the first phase when we were all together, and we'd go apart and then we'd come together and it was so fun. Then right around June, all that magic started wearing off," Obama laughed, admitting that her husband has gotten on her nerves. "Barack Obama is a wonderful man. But he is still a man."

Stuck at home these past few months, she revealed she's also taken up a new hobby: Knitting. "Over the course of this quarantine, I have knitted a blanket, like five scarves, three halter tops, a couple of hats for Barack, and I just finished my first pair of mittens for Malia," she listed off. "One is twice as big as the other. I'm still working on my stitching gauge."

"They don't know I'm in the knitting community -- because I don't use my real name -- but I have some knitting tutors who I kind of go through to get my yarn and my patterns and all that," she added. Which is to say: If you are in a socially-distanced knitting group and find yourself giving friendly advice to a knitting novice, you might just be helping Michelle Obama make a halter top.

The 15th season of the Rachael Ray Show airs weekdays. Check your local listings. 


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