AP Interview: Barack Obama Is Potter Fan

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 26, 2005

BOCA RATON, Fla. – Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama is the “Harry Potter parent” who has read all six books about the boy wizard’s adventures with his older daughter, his wife said Thursday.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Michelle Obama said her husband has read the books aloud with 9-year-old Malia and saw the latest movie, “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” with her last Sunday.

Both are awaiting the release of J.K. Rowling’s seven and final book in the series, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” this weekend, but finding time to read won’t be easy, she said.

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“The challenge will be scheduling Harry Potter reading time in between Iowa and New Hampshire and fundraising, but I guarantee you they will figure out a way to do it,” Michelle Obama told the AP. “Harry Potter is huge in our house.”

She wasn’t sure how the family would get their copy of the book.

“He handles all of that. That’s one of those things, I’m like ‘You are the Harry Potter parent,'” she said.

Michelle Obama also talked about the challenges facing her husband’s campaign and the difficulties women face in balancing work and family. She was in Boca Raton, Fla., to meet supporters and attend a fundraising luncheon, her second campaign trip to the state.

Florida holds its primary on Jan. 29.

The Obama campaign raised nearly $32 million from April through June. Michelle Obama said they didn’t expect that kind of success but that the money eases various concerns.

“The plan has always been building a base of support and creating and sustaining enthusiasm, and now we will have the resources that we need to do it,” she said.

An administrator at the University of Chicago Hospitals, Michelle Obama has scaled back her hours to campaign for her husband, though she generally makes day trips to be home in the evening for the couple’s two young daughters.

“We want to be the best parents that we can be with fewer and fewer resources and support systems to make it happen,” she said. “Affordable child care is becoming less of a thing that women can count on. Quality education in the public school is a hit or miss. Health care, keeping your family healthy. I could go down a list of struggles and challenges.”

Obama said that isn’t being talked about publicly, and she wants to change that.

“We suffer in silence, and it’s almost as if we don’t want to admit that it’s as hard as it is, and that if we do that somehow we’re failing _ when the truth is that we need more help,” she said.

She had a message for voters, especially women.

“The one thing that I say to women is I hope people will vote based on who they think the best person for the job at the time will be. Just as many people would be upset if black people said ‘I’m voting for Barack because he’s a black guy.’ We have to think more broadly about what this country needs, and it doesn’t necessarily have a gender or race.”

A service of the Associated Press(AP)