First lady Michelle Obama graces the September cover of Ladies Home Journal

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Michelle Obama graces the September 2012 cover of Ladies Home Journal, which features an exclusive interview with both the first lady and President Obama. The article focuses on the tight relationship the couple enjoys, their vibrant affection for each other, and how athletics can increase the participation of young women in leadership roles.

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Regarding encouraging girls to embrace their power, the first lady said, “We have to start with them while they’re young and instill in girls a sense of confidence. That’s why sports are so important. They teach you how to compete — how to fall down and get back up.”

Mrs. Obama has certainly been putting her support of the edifying aspects of sports into practice by heartily cheering for America at London’s Olympic Games. President Obama has done his part as well by calling Olympic winners, including gold medalist Gabby Douglas. Yet, not every aspect of their Ladies Home Journal interview was about serious social issues. In keeping with their penchant for PDA, the first couple also got playful.

When asked why people take Michelle’s advice so seriously, Obama responded, “Well, she’s very smart. She’s a wonderful speaker. She’s very cute.” Michelle quipped back, stating, “Thanks for this question. I wanted to see what he had to say [laughs].”

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But President Obama did not rest his point on this moment of levity. “Having said all those things, the quality I love most about her is, she’s honest and genuine. I think that comes across to people,” he said.

“They get a sense that they can trust her. You know, the word ‘authenticity’ is overused these days. But I do think it captures what folks are looking for — not just in leaders, but also in friends and in coworkers — and that is, folks who are on the level,” the president continued. “People like that tell you what they think and don’t have a bunch of hidden motives. That’s who Michelle is. She’s also funny. She’s the funniest person in our family.”

Enjoy more of the Obama’s perfect mix of flirtation and exposition on positive values on the Ladies Home Journal web site. Will you be picking up a copy of the magazine’s September issue?

Follow Alexis Garrett Stodghill on Twitter at @lexisb