Her husband repeatedly used messages of hope in his presidential campaigns and during his time in office.
But US First Lady Michelle Obama has struck a much less upbeat tone in her last TV interview before the family leaves the White House.
Speaking to talk show host Oprah Winfrey, Mrs Obama said America’s outlook had changed since Donald Trump won November’s election.
“Now we’re feeling what not having hope feels like,” she said.
Mrs Obama played an unusually prominent role in the 2016 election cycle, throwing her support behind Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and trading barbs with Mr Trump.
She called on women to rise up against him over his groping comments and denounced his campaign’s “hateful language”.
In turn, the Republican accused her of spending too much time campaigning for Mrs Clinton.
Mrs Obama does not mention the president-elect by name in the preview clip of the Oprah Winfrey interview, to be aired by the CBS network on Monday.
But she repeats previous assertions that the US needs “an adult” in the White House, saying the country’s president should provide stability and inspiration.
“Having a grown-up in the White House who can say to you in times of crisis, ‘Hey it’s going to be ok, let’s remember the good things we have, let’s look at the future, let’s look at all the things that we’re building…” she says.
“All of this is important for our kids to stay focused and to feel like their work isn’t in vain, that their lives aren’t in vain. What do we do if we don’t have hope?”
She says she believes the US public will come to appreciate Barack Obama’s impact with time.