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Video: Author reveals inside stories, access to Obamas

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    >>> we're back now at 7:42 with a rare look inside one of the world's most famous marriages. a book that comes out tomorrow reveals details about the president and first lady's relationship and their time in the white house . it's called "the obamas ." the author, new york times correspondent jodi kantor joins us now. who did you talk to? how much access were you given? did you talk to the president and first lady while researching the book?

    >> the book is mostly reported through top aides and close friends of the president and first lady. i'm one of the only people to get access to the east wing and the first lady's staff there. what i found is that aides and friends were able to tell stories that the obamas don't talk about like what happened the first time they tried to go home to chicago.

    >> largely speaking it's a positive look. it talks about the relationship between these people in extraordinary circumstances. as you know when you write a book like this certain things make headlines. one of the things that's being talked about is what you describe as a tension between the first lady and the president's inner circle . in particular people like rahm emanuel . do you think there was tension that was so thick you could cut it with a knife or was it run of the mill tension that takes place between a first family and advisers?

    >> the tension was not the kind of spectacular tension we see, you know, on tv shows and in television. it was very muffled. they had a distance relationship. the truth about them is they were philosophical foils. they had two different visions of the presidency. you know, a wife and a chief of staff are in some sense the president's two spouses.

    >> did mrs. obama ever communicate her displeasure or dissatisfaction directly with rahm emanuel or were these things spoken in back corridors?

    >> my impression from my reporting is much more back corridors.

    >> he offered his resignation in 2010 . he stayed on until he left to go to chicago and run for mayor. was offering his resignation in any way related to the tension between him and mrs. obama?

    >> i think it's a mistake to take the president out of the equation. the main relationship was between the president and rahm emanuel . one of my goals for the book was to write a presidential book that really tells the first lady's story as well, but that doesn't mean we want to make the first lady responsible for everything that happened in the white house .

    >> while the white house is not jumping up and down saying, no, it's untrue, we disagree, they are pushing back slightly. they said, the book is an over dram tization of old news. it's about a relationship between two people whom the author has not spoken to in years. the emotions, thoughts and private moments described in the book seem to reflect little more than the author's own thoughts.

    >> the white house has not pushed back on the specific writing in the book. they have not disputed any of the facts. the book is clear that it's based on interviews with people close to the obamas .

    >> they dispute the nuance in certain stories. the party thrown at halloween back in 2009 , an alice in wonderland party. you said it was a secret, on the down low. and the white house has pushed back saying, no, we had members of the press there. we weren't trying to hide anything.

    >> if you look at the text of the book, the outside trick or treating was public with press. the inside, lavish party was kept quiet. but the point was not reported over the weekend which is this is about michelle obama 's learning and transformation as first lady. she, at this point in the narrative, is moving away from an emphasis on fashion and style toward much more substantive work. she wanted to fill her first ladyhood with meaning.

    >> and how much involved in the policy discussion on a day-to-day basis is michelle obama ?

    >> she is not in the west wing on a day to day basis. she's not getting involved in policy details. she cares about the larger mission of the presidency. she's a lot like democrats on the outside. she had high expectations for this presidency and wants to see them fulfilled.

    >> is she disappointed with what's happened so far?

    >> according to my reporting there were times she was really frustrated. but things have turned around for her since then. she is all in. in 2012 we are going to see her making the case for her husband again and again. she can be an internal critic. she's also his biggest advocate.

    >> the book is called "the obamas " and it comes out tomorrow.

    >> thank you.


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