One of my favorite stories is from Obama's first campaign: Michelle Obama was out there every day, collecting signatures and supervising the other people who did. If you were supposed to get 300 signatures and you only got 299, you had to face the wrath of Michelle.
Michelle Obama has gone from political skeptic to political partner to a woman with a White House agenda of her own, and an approval rating higher than the president's.
Evangelical Christian politicians who cheat often raise questions about hypocrisy, especially if they preached piety in public and disregarded it in private. When Jewish politicians fall, they shatter different expectations, particularly that American Jews need to work together to preserve respectability and fireproof against anti-Semitism.
Michelle has had to grapple with Hilary Clinton's legacy as First Lady... Michelle Obama never wants to be seen as the kind of First Lady who is overly involved in the West Wing.
People who face too many demands - two careers, two children - often scale back somehow. The Obamas scaled up.
I spent a lot of time in the White House in the public areas where reporters are allowed to go, but I spoke to people about the private quarters as well. Some of the things I learned were small, novelistic details. For example, the fact that there were still pet stains on the carpets from the Bush cats when the Obamas moved in.
I would say that Barack Obama has always been a real optimist about what can be accomplished. He believes that government can be used to create systemic, long-term, real change. And the first lady is more of a skeptic.
Those close to Mr. Obama say he grows irritated at being misunderstood - not just by opponents who insinuate that he caters to African-Americans, but also by black lawmakers and intellectuals who fault him for not making his presidency an all-out assault on racial disparity.
Candidates' wives are supposed to sit cheerfully through their husbands' appearances.
I've learned that the best political reporters never make predictions!
Interpreting anyone's marriage - a neighbor's, let alone the president's - is extremely difficult.
Every presidential candidate highlights patriotism, but Mr. Romney's is backed by the Mormon belief that the United States was chosen by God to play a special role in history, its Constitution divinely inspired.
First ladies, you know, we look at Michelle Obama, and we look at most first ladies, and they seem like they have it all. You know, they live in the White House, they go to state dinners, they ride on Air Force One, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. But first ladies do often feel that they are given short shrift or forgotten or left at the margins.
I guess there were things about the Obamas I discovered that I do think are universal to marriage. I found it very interesting in my reporting that their most difficult periods in the White House almost never seemed to coincide. When one was down, the other one was holding it together. In my experience, that's true of marriage generally.
In interviews with dozens of black advisers, friends, donors and allies, few said they had ever heard Mr. Obama muse on the experience of being the first black president of the United States, a role in which every day he renders what was once extraordinary almost ordinary.
Interpreting anyone's marriage - a neighbor's, let alone the president's - is extremely difficult. And yet, examining the first couple's relationship - their negotiations of public and private life, of conflicts and compromises - offers hints about Barack Obama the president, not just Barack Obama the husband.
Mr. Romney is quick to uphold rules great and small. During primary debates, when his rivals spoke out of turn or exceeded their allotted time, he would sometimes lecture them. When supporters ask Mr. Romney to sign dollar bills or American flags, he refuses and often gives them a little lesson about why doing so is against the law.
Sometimes, when you look at an adviser's failings or perceived failings, I think the tough question you have to ask as a journalist is, 'What does this say about the president?'