The president on whether there will be a difference in how he approaches Republicans if reelected:

PRESIDENT OBAMA: My approach has been pretty consistent from the start; I’ve often proposed ways to solve our problems that used to be embraced by Republicans. There’s no better example than the health care bill, which was designed originally by the now Republican standard-bearer and is working pretty well in Massachusetts. The Recovery Act that helped us avoid a depression, a third of it was tax cuts. My hope is that the Republican Party, post election, steps back and says, “Now that we’re not so worried about beating the president, maybe we should spend a little time focusing on solving the problems.”

President Obama reacts to Mitt Romney’s remarks about the way Obama is making our country “far more like Europe, with a larger, more dominant, more intrusive government. …”:

PO: When you look at the policies I’ve promoted, they used to be considered bipartisan, mainstream ideas. What’s changed is not me. What’s changed is where the Republican Party’s gone. In fact, a lot of the things I’ve done are things that Mr. Romney, when he was governor of Massachusetts, seemed to promote. … What’s absolutely true is that we’ve had to take some emergency steps, like saving the auto industry, that weren’t free, that weren’t popular, but were the right thing to do.

On how being black affected President Obama’s ability to govern:

PO: By virtue of being African-American, I’m attuned to how throughout this country’s history there have been times when folks have been locked out of opportunity, and because of the hard work of people of all races, slowly those doors opened to more and more people. Equal opportunity doesn’t just happen on its own; it happens because we’re vigilant about it. But part of this is not just because we’re African-American—it’s also because Michelle and I were born into pretty modest means. … And as president, I want to affirm that that’s important and reject the idea that if we just reward those at the top, that somehow that’s going to work for everybody—’cause that hasn’t been how America got built. Mrs. Obama on the conversation about the “superwoman.”

Can women have it all?

MICHELLE OBAMA: I think that question limits us as women. I work with a lot of young women—we have interns coming in and out, and this is always one of the first questions they ask—and the thing I try to remind them is that we have fought so hard for choice and options with our lives, and we’re just getting to that point where we’re willing to embrace all the different facets of womanhood. I know that when I came out of college, what I wanted and what I thought I wanted were very different things. Then I get married and have a career and, lo and behold, now I’ve got kids. And how you feel about motherhood when your children are small and when they’re teenagers, that’s going to change.

The Obamas on their “empty nest” after their daughters went to camp this summer:

MO: What he said this morning is that life is less sparkly and twinkly with them not around.

PO: It’s true. Our girls are quite expressive, and there’s nothing I enjoy more than just sitting around the dinner table with them and listening to all their ideas. I’ve got this incredible luxury, ’cause I live above the store. So every night at 6:30, I can come up and have dinner with them and get their perspective on what’s happening at school and in their social lives but also on—

MO: On the world.

The Obamas addresses a PARADE reader who asked Mrs. Obama to share an occasion when she was “absolutely furious” with her husband:

PO: Well, I think the hardest time in our marriage was when our kids were really young. And that’s probably not unusual when you’ve got a working—

MO: —two working—

PO: —two working parents. Because no matter how enlightened men like to think they are when it comes to child rearing and balancing work, I think it falls a little harder on women. MO: And the emotions are different. My emotions about my role as a mother are a lot more—not to say that he doesn’t want to be the best father, but he’s much more laid back about it and I’m much harder on myself, like many mothers.