Photo: George Burns/Harpo Studios
Less than a week before his Oprah Show appearance, President Obama held a town hall meeting hosted by Facebook, answering questions from users of the social networking site. During the town hall, the president said these are the most tumultuous times he's witnessed in his lifetime.
"What do you think defines this as the most tumultuous?" Oprah asks.
"What's happening is that there are these big global changes, and the world is more integrated because of technology—we know what's happening on the other side of the world instantly," he begins.
"And that's a good thing," Oprah says.
"That's a good thing," the President agrees. "But what it also means is that if there is a problem in one place, it can move around the globe very rapidly. So what happens in Libya suddenly affects oil prices here. What happens because of a subprime loan in California can cause Iceland to be bankrupt."
"Have you been disappointed at how difficult it is to get things done?" Oprah asks.
"It can be painful to watch," Mrs. Obama says. "But, Barack was in the Senate for many years, and I think he had a taste for how challenging it is when you work in a democracy—and that's one of the beauties of our country. We have a democracy. ... I always tease people, 'Barack's not a dictator, and that's a good thing.' ... It requires congressional cooperation and a whole range of cooperative actions that make our country great. But it makes the process difficult and slower than I think most people would like."