Michelle Obama ‘passionate about service’ but not interested in running for president

Former US first lady Michelle Obama. Picture; PA
Former US first lady Michelle Obama. Picture; PA
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Michelle Obama disappointed hundreds of fans when she told a charity gala dinner that she is “not interested” in running for president.

The former first lady emphatically ruled herself out of any future presidential races during a question and answer session in aid of the Hunter Foundation in Edinburgh.

Singer Beverley Knight with Sir Tom Hunter and competition winners Melissa Croft and Cerys Gough. Picture: Jon Savage

Singer Beverley Knight with Sir Tom Hunter and competition winners Melissa Croft and Cerys Gough. Picture: Jon Savage

Mrs Obama told Olympic rower Dame Katherine Grainger that her children wouldn’t let her run for office and that being president is a “hard job” and “gruelling for a family”.

She went on to say that she would continue working with young people outside of politics which earned her a huge round of applause. She said: “I’ll do as much as ever outside of politics. Leaders have to know when to get out of the way for the next generation.

“We have lived in a bubble for the past eight years. We need to believe in the next generation.”

There was no mention of incumbent president Donald Trump, but she shared with the audience that “the last election in my country does not give me hope.”

I want girls to feel like they own the planet and are treated equally

MICHELLE OBAMA

Judy Murray, Mark Beaumont, Josh Littlejohn and Kirsty Wark were among the up to 900 guests who were lucky enough to get hold of one of the exclusive wine-coloured invitations to Mrs Obama’s question and answer session.

Mrs Obama also addressed gender equality issues, telling the audience that women had to “be confident” and that “we have a lot of work to do. 
We’re not there yet…I want girls to feel like they own the planet and are treated equally”.

In her eight years in the White House, Mrs Obama worked tirelessly to transform the role of first lady, becoming a role model and champion for women and girls across America and beyond.

She went on to tell the business leaders, politicians and philanthropists that she “was not passionate about politics but passionate about service”.

Welsh comedian Rob Brydon was lined up to compere the evening and Scottish rockers Deacon Blue and British soul singer Beverley Knight, who arrived wearing a shocking pink frock, took to the stage for rousing performances. All of the entertainment acts donated their fees to charities of their choice.

Devin Scobie, founding director of Edinburgh-based communications agency Caledonian Public Affairs, donned his black tie attire ahead of the dinner.

He said: “Michelle Obama is quite easily one of the most inspiring women in the world. When Barack was in power she did so much for kids’ polity.”

Tickets for tables of ten went on sale from about £5,000 - with some tables paying more for a meet and greet with the charismatic wife of the 44th president of the United States.

About 900 tickets were snapped up for the event with many table hosts left with long waiting lists of people keen to hear Mrs Obama speak.

Sir Tom Hunter was “delighted” to welcome Mrs Obama after husband Barack raised £670,000 speaking at last year’s event.

About 1,200 people, including First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Harry Potter author JK Rowling attended when the former president made his first trip to Scotland.

The Hunter Foundation has pledged that all funds raised will be distributed to Scottish charities inlcuding CHAS, the Maggie’s Centres and CLIC Sargent.

Donations will also be 
made to the Obama Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation set up by the Obamas in 2014.