President Barack Obama recently sat down for an interview with his former senior adviser David Axelrod, on his new podcast called “The Axe Files.”  The president spoke about what role friendship played in his life, telling Axelrod that they gave him “serenity.”

“One gift I do seem to have is getting really, really good friends around me who’ve got my back. And that gives you a certain serenity in the midst of a lot of foolishness,” Obama said.

He also praised his wife, First Lady Michelle Obama, whom the president said helped support him through the difficult times in his career.

“And you know, Michelle, I can’t underestimate the degree to which having a life partner who is so grounded and so strong and steady and fundamentally honest helped,” he said.

Obama said that he has also maintained friendships with many of his close friends through his many challenges and successes.

“Their relationships with me never depended on my success or outward success. They didn’t — my best friends from high school don’t operate any differently with me now than they did when I was …”

“And they’re around a lot. You — you have them here a lot,” Axelrod interrupted, adding that Obama’s personal friends never refer to him as “Mr. President.”

“They do not,” Obama confirmed.

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