|The First Lady with Seacrest in his Los Angeles studio|
Washington, DC - First Lady Michelle Obama says President Barack Obama is "proud" that she's accomplished much of her work for the Let's Move! campaign by making an end-run around Congress, something he has said he plans to do more of in 2014 by using Executive Orders to achieve his goals.
Speaking in a radio interview with American Idol host Ryan Seacrest that aired Thursday on his show On Air With Ryan Seacrest, Mrs. Obama said her husband "is proud of all we've been able to do." She marks the fourth anniversary of her campaign on Feb. 9th.
"One of the things he told my team is that we have provided an example of all that you can get done without Congressional action," Mrs. Obama said.
"Because a lot of the work that we've done with Let's Move! move and improving health and seeing some of the changes really comes with partnerships between businesses and schools and educators and parents...so we've been able to do a lot."
Mrs. Obama now has more than 65 private sector partnerships for Let's Move!, with Subway the most recent company to join with a three-year, $41 million commitment.
And yes, Mrs. Obama told Seacrest, she expected the President's State of the Union shout-out on Tuesday night, when he saluted her for helping bring down child obesity rates.
"He is my biggest supporter. He said 'y'know, I'm gonna mention you,'" Mrs. Obama said, laughing, imitating her husband's voice. "I said, oh yeah? Really?"
Mrs. Obama also devoted time to explaining the Affordable Care Act to Seacrest's listeners, urging Young Invincibles to sign up in the online heath insurance marketplaces because young people "lead risky lives."
She taped the interview with Seacrest on Wednesday after arriving in Los Angeles, CA for a three-day Democratic fundraising junket, though Seacrest told his audience on Thursday that it was a live segment, going so far as to have a staffer phone into his show with a series of fake "motorcade watch" reports.
The interview also included plenty of dishing on Mrs. Obama's private life, where she talked about Valentine's Day plans, White House life, and a new-found love for the TV show Scandal.
Continuing with Let's Move!, Mrs. Obama discussed using famous professional athletes to draw attention to her campaign, and to encourage kids and parents to exercise and eat healthier foods.
Star players from the Miami Heat are the most recent to support Mrs. Obama; LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Ray Allen and coach Eric Spoelstra filmed a White House video during a visit with the President earlier this month honoring their 2013 NBA championship. The video showing Mrs. Obama dunking on James has now had more than 3.5 million views on YouTube.
"We’ve worked with...a bunch of other athletes just to get the message out about healthy eating to kids in a fun way," Mrs. Obama said.
"Because the truth is that I try to make to young people, especially teenagers who aren’t into the vegetable thing, is if they want to be excellent at their sport …they have to watch what they eat....As they [the Heat players] say, you can’t put junk into a Ferrari and expect it to go fast," Mrs. Obama said.
Her own eating and exercise are healthy, too, Mrs. Obama said. She works out for an hour and a half "every single day," which includes "45 minutes of cardio."
"I always have breakfast and it’s usually protein or fruit or oatmeal. I try to stay away from breads because that doesn’t give you the kind of energy you need," Mrs. Obama said.
"I always have lunch, so I have three meals a day and I try to get a snack in. Lunch is something good and healthy, like one of my favorite soups is a turkey Italian wedding soup with vegetables and kale."
When Ryan, who is 5'8' tall according to his bio, interjected that his mother's advice to him to eat healthy food didn't "pan out" in terms of height, Mrs. Obama put him in his place.
"Think how short you'd be if you didn't eat healthy," Mrs. Obama said.
The First Family dines together every night, Mrs. Obama said, despite the President's busy schedule.
"We eat dinner together every night and we rarely miss that, even with his schedule, and we spend a lot of time talking about the issues of the day, but we talk about what we’re eating and why we’re eating it," Mrs. Obama said. "We have a lot of ‘finish your vegetables’ conversations."
Explaining the Affordable Care Act...
Turning to health insurance, Mrs. Obama explained that despite the apparent confusion among Seacrest's listeners, the Affordable Care Act and Obamacare are the same thing, and offers private health insurance through government-run "marketplaces" at Healthcare.gov.
She stressed the importance of young people signing up for insurance thanks to their "risky lives."
"You cut yourself with a knife because you're learning to cook," Mrs. Obama said, as an example.
"I always joke about this, but the young people are the ones out at the club at three o’clock in the morning and more likely to slip on the ice," Mrs. Obama continued. "Life throws you some curveballs and young people in particular need to have insurance. If you think about it, you insure your car, but you’re not going to insure your life?"
Plans are not expensive, Mrs. Obama insisted.
"The average person is able to get private insurance for less than $100 a month. That’s less than a cell phone bill or a pair of sneakers," she said.
Mrs. Obama also pointed out an extra benefit for females, saying the Afforable Care Act mandates coverage for contraception and birth control pills.
"For young girls out there, young women, that will pay for the cost of the premium," Mrs. Obama said.
The interview was Mrs. Obama's first in-studio with Seacrest, though she has done phone interviews with him before. Ahead of airing the interview on Thursday, Seacrest played big the faux fact that Mrs. Obama was joining him live in studio: "I'm so nervous," Seacrest said more than once, and noted that he and his co-host would have to "put on our coats" when the First Lady arrived.
Just before Mrs. Obama's segment aired, Seacrest advised listeners that Secret Service were now in the studio, "taping up" water bottles and making other security arrangements.
"I could never be First Lady," Seacrest said, noting that the security is complicated.
"Write a big fat check," First Lady tells supporters...
On Wednesday afternoon after taping her interview with Seacrest, Mrs. Obama headlined a Democratic National Committee fundraiser in Los Angles hosted by Everybody Loves Raymond creator Phil Rosenthal and his actress-wife Monica Horan at their lavish Spanish hacienda-style home in the Hancock Park neighborhood.
Guests included Barbra Streisand and partner James Brolin, and LA Mayor Eric Garcetti. About 200 people attended, with tickets ranging from $1,000 to $32,400, the maximum legal limit.
Guests enjoyed flutes of champagne and catering from Pizzeria Mozza as they listened to Mrs. Obama tout her husband's plans for the next three years. She asked them to support Democratic candidates in next Fall's midterm elections: "Let’s be clear, Barack cannot do this alone sitting by himself in the Oval Office," Mrs. Obama said.
Supporters need to be "even more passionate and more hungry," than in '08 and '12, Mrs. Obama said, "because these races will be even harder and even closer than those presidential elections."
"Write a big fat check," Mrs. Obama said. "Write the biggest check you can possibly write."
The First Lady is in San Francisco today, where she will headline two more DNC fundraisers.
On Friday, Mrs. Obama will speak at a women's luncheon to benefit the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. The event at the Fairmont Hotel will be hosted by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
Tickets range from $500 per guest up to Chair level, $32,400 per couple, according to the invite, which includes a table of 10 at the event along with two tickets to the VIP reception and a photo with Mrs. Obama. It is the first fundraiser Mrs. Obama has done during this election cycle for the DCCC. Tickets range from $500 per guest up to Chair level, $32,400 per couple, according to the invite, which includes a table of 10 at the event along with two tickets to the VIP reception and a photo with Mrs. Obama.
Mrs. Obama's trip was rescheduled from last October, when the partial federal government shutdown froze all fundraising activity. She will return to Washington, DC, on Friday, according to the White House.
*Photo via On Air With Ryan Seacrest