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Barack Obama’s First Interview Since Leaving White House is With Prince Harry

Despite admitting concern over the future of the US, Obama, who did not mention his successor Donald Trump by name, said he felt a sense of "serenity" on leaving the White House.

AFP

Updated:December 27, 2017, 4:27 PM IST
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Barack Obama’s First Interview Since Leaving White House is With Prince Harry
In this undated photo issued on Sunday December 17, 2017, by Kensington Palace courtesy of the Obama Foundation, Britain's Prince Harry, right, interviews former US President Barack Obama as part of his guest editorship of BBC Radio 4's Today programme. (Kensington Palace courtesy of The Obama Foundation via AP)
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London: Former US President Barack Obama told Britain’s Prince Harry in an interview broadcast Wednesday that he felt serene the day he left the White House despite the sense that much important work remained unfinished.

Obama said it was "hugely liberating" to be able to set his own agenda in the morning and to have the time to talk with his wife, Michelle, now that he is no longer president.

He spoke with Harry in the prince's capacity as guest editor of the BBC Radio 4 news program. Both men said the interview, recorded in Canada in September, was Obama's first since leaving the presidency in January.

"I miss the work itself because it was fascinating," Obama said of his eight years in the Oval Office, citing his health care reforms as one of his proudest achievements.

He did not mention his successor, President Donald Trump, but did say people in government should be careful in their use of social media.

In his guest editing slot, Harry also focused on climate change, the military and mental health.

He used his position to ask Obama a "lightning round" of questions of the type normally asked of entertainers, not politicians.

The former president declined to say whether he wears boxers or briefs, but was willing to say he prefers Aretha Franklin to Tina Turner — "Aretha is the best," he said of the Queen of Soul — and favors retired basketball star Michael Jordan over current star LeBron James.

Obama also said he is "obsessed" with helping to train the next generation of leaders and said the world is in many ways healthier and wealthier than it has ever been.

Harry also interviewed his father, Prince Charles, who offered more gloomy assessment. He said the root causes of climate change are not being addressed even as it leads to more destruction in many parts of the world.

At the end of the show, Harry would not say whether Obama will be invited to his May wedding to American actress Meghan Markle, saying the guest list hadn't been drawn up yet. But he did say Markle had enjoyed her first Christmas as a guest of Queen Elizabeth II at her country estate.

"She really enjoyed it, and the family loved having her there," Harry said.
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