, WASHINGTON, Dec 14 – When President Barack Obama sits down at his desk in the Oval Office, it is the weight of his decisions on the world that comes rushing through his mind, he said in an interview Sunday.
"This office, I think, reminds you of what\\\’s at stake… How many hopes and dreams are placed in what goes on here at the White House, all the profound decisions that have impacted the American people and the world," he told his close friend, US talkshow queen Oprah Winfrey.
Pointing to the Resolute desk — a 19th century gift from Queen Victoria built from timbers of the British frigate HMS Resolute — where so many of his predecessors have sat before, Obama noted this is where he usually signs letters to families of US soldiers who died in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
"When you\\\’re sitting there signing it, you feel the weight of what you\\\’re doing," he said in the interview broadcast on ABC television.
In those notes, the president said he writes about "just how extraordinarily humbled we are by the sacrifice of those who\\\’ve fallen. It\\\’s hard to say anything that matches the gravity of the moment."
In the intimate interview with Winfrey, Obama gave his long-time backer from his hometown of Chicago a tour of the plush office where he often meets with foreign heads of state, huddles with advisors but also peers out the window to watch his daughters Sasha, 8, and Malia, 11, playing outside.
Sometimes holding Winfrey\\\’s hand or putting his arm around her shoulder, the president said living with his family at Washington\\\’s most famous address keeps him grounded from all the scrutiny and expectations that accompany his post as commander in chief of the world\\\’s sole military superpower.
"Having (First Lady) Michelle, the kids — their attitude towards me hasn\\\’t changed. I\\\’m still Barack. I\\\’m still daddy," he said. "And that sense of normalcy that we\\\’ve been able to maintain has been absolutely critical during a time that obviously has been pretty stressful."
But it\\\’s the visits of ordinary Americans Obama said he cherished the most, recalling the time he invited the mother and father of a fallen soldier to visit the White House.
"Those kinds of moments are the ones that you remember, partly because you\\\’re seeing the place through their eyes," he added.
"When they come here, this is their house. I\\\’m the renter. I\\\’m the borrower. This is the people\\\’s house, and one of the things that Michelle and I have both been trying to do is to make sure that we open this place up."