My daughter is, of course, perfect. Everyone's child is, but mine really is perfect. But I could not have raised her without my parents. From the time she was seven months until now, I have been a single parent.
With women composing nearly half the American workforce and increasingly serving as the primary breadwinner for families, we can't afford to treat pregnant women differently than their counterparts, especially when slight job modifications could help them stay in the workforce at no risk to their health.
Some people might have different ideas about what progress looks like, and some are cynical and place their short-term political interests ahead of what is good for our country. But many of them aren't cynical and try hard to do their best.
We have held forums here at the White House on workplace flexibility, and the first major bill signed into law by President Obama was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Lilly was here a few weeks ago because we were trying very hard to push paycheck fairness through the Congress. Unfortunately, we fell two votes short.
We are a country that believes in free speech and the open debate of ideas. We're a country that also believes in the Second Amendment and our ability to have guns. But we've got to figure out a way to keep America safe.
What do we do to just rebuild and focus on creating a big and inclusive tent, where we're focusing on making sure every child gets that fair shot, that every woman gets to compete on a level playing field, that we are true to the core values of our country, and we're making sure that we honor those values?
I finally said, 'I don't care if you're the first person in your family to be a lawyer.' Everybody thought what I was doing was really exciting, but it was not moving me one bit. And that's when I decided to join city government in Chicago, and that changed my life.
Do you want to get rid of the rules of the road? Do you want to let everybody just do whatever they want to do? Or do you want to really look out for the consumer, look out for the American people, and figure out ways to create and foster an environment where companies want to double down on America?
What makes a lot of sense is that, while people are incarcerated, give them the tools they need to be able to have a productive, lucrative living when they leave so they can provide for their families and break that cycle of recidivism.
I just worry a lot. I'm a worrier. Michelle and Barack are really dear to me. I mean, I love them. And I don't want to see them get hurt. Just the nature of politics is hurtful. So every time they are hurt, I get hurt. It's a lot to ask of people, and it's a lot to see your friends go through. It's hard not to get emotional.
The Recovery plan will put money in the pockets of the American worker, create and save millions of new jobs and invest in crucial areas such as health care, education, energy independence and a new infrastructure.
One of the problems I have with the administration is that they're not tough enough. They are waiting for BP to say, 'Oh, we've got a new plan to stop the oil leak.' They need to stop it, contain it, clean it up.
I've had people say to me, 'Well, I enjoy going to the firing range and using the assault weapons.' But the pleasure derived from that compared to the horrendous damage that it can do, we believe that the damage warrants banning assault weapons.
Equal pay, paid leave, paid sick days, workplace flexibility, and affordable childcare - everywhere I go around the United States, as I talk to working families, these are the issues they raise... We have over 43 million Americans who don't have a single day of sick leave, but everybody gets sick. Everybody's children get sick.
What we wouldn't want to see is just a piece of legislation on border security and high tech immigration without focusing on the path to citizenship for the 11 million people who are here, and other provisions.
I vividly remember early on in my career when I was eight months pregnant, working literally around the clock, and worrying that each trip to the restroom or my need to catch the occasional catnap was causing my colleagues to question whether I could keep up.
President Obama stands ready to work with everyone, because that's what the American people expect and deserve - not for the short term political advantages, but the long term health of our country. We don't spend time trying to figure out what's in the minds of Republicans, we try to keep our focus on the American people.
Throughout the health-insurance reform process, we have had a frequent and consistent dialogue with the business community - small, medium, and large - to analyze and evaluate the impact that reform would have on them. It has been a very instructive and productive dialogue.