Vance Goes 1-on-1 With Obama

Friday, Jul 15, 2011  |  Updated 10:34 AM EDT
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Jim Vance sits down for a one-on-one interview with President Barack Obama.

Jim Vance

Jim Vance sits down for a one-on-one interview with President Barack Obama.

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Obama Talks Voting Rights With Vance

President Barack Obama talks voting rights with Jim Vance.

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First lady Michelle Obama talks one-on-one with NBC4's Jim Vance.
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News4 anchor Jim Vance sat down Thursday for a one-on-one interview with President Barack Obama at the White House.

Vance was the only local TV anchor-reporter to interview Obama on this crucial day of talks between Democrats and Republicans as they try to agree to terms on the debt ceiling.

Vance asked the president a series of questions, include on on voting rights for D.C. residents.

"I've said before and I'll say again: I'm fully supportive of voting rights for D.C. citizens," Obama said. "I'm fully supportive of home rule. I'm fully supportive of making sure that Washington, D.C., government has its own budget authority. I'm supportive of folks in D.C. being treated like people everywhere else in the country -- in Maryland or Virginia. We have not gotten a lot of support from the other side on the issue, but I will continue to stand by those in D.C. who believe they should not be paying taxes like everyone else, serving in the military like everyone else, and doing everything that is expected of citizens and yet not have the same voting rights as everybody else in America.

"I've been pretty public in my belief on this thing," he added. "It requires action by Congress, and Congress has a tendency to move slowly on things, even when they're the right thing to do."

Vance also asked if the Obamas, who have strong Chicago ties, are at least finding D.C. becoming their true home away from home.

"Michelle and the girls have fully embraced Washington, because they can get out of the bubble a little more easily than I do," Obama said. "If I go someplace, everybody's got to get magged and patted down, so I'm pretty disruptive.

"Malia and Sasha are doing great in school. They love the community. Michelle has the opportunity to travel around the city," he continued. "Whenever I visit schools or parks or restaurants in D.C., you really get a sense that there is a real community here. This is not just about politics in this town. The people here care deeply about what happens in Washington, and what's happening in the school system. We care about it too. But, unfortunately, as a resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, it's a great privilege, but it also means you're living in a bubble most of the time. My best memories of Washington were when I was in the US Senate when I could actually walk down the street once in a while and not be surrounded by Secret Service."

Vance then asked about the future. With everything that is going on in the country and across the world, why is the president going after four more years?

"First of all, I just enjoy the job. I enjoy the challenge of it. It's interesting. You deal with extraordinary people every day. ... You meet people, you're engaged in issues that are vital to the United States," Obama said. "I love this country, and the more I see it the more I know that we've got so much more potential than we're realizing right now. All those young men you were talking about who were unemployed here in Washington ... all that energy could be unleashed, but it can't be unleashed if the country is constantly divided and the political parties are constantly worried about positioning themselves for the next election rather than solving problems. I believe that I've got a role to play -- an important role to play -- in helping unleash that potential."

So the upside of being president is better than the downside?

"Almost every day," Obama said. "There are days when you come up from the Oval Office and you say, 'What the heck is going on here?', but that's true in any job. ... I consider myself extraordinarily lucky and blessed and if the American people think that I'm the person to do the job, then I'm happy to continue to do it."

Vance interviewed first lady Michelle Obama in April 2010.  You can watch that interview on this page.

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