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Obama was mistaken for waiter at black-tie do

He may be the President of the United States, but Barack Obama says he was once mistaken for the valet.

"There's no black male my age, who's a professional, who hasn't come out of a restaurant and is waiting for their car and somebody didn't hand them their car keys," Obama told People magazine. That happened to him, he said.

First Lady Michelle Obama (inset) said her husband was also mistaken for a waiter at a black-tie party and asked for coffee. She said even when she went to a clothes store as First Lady, a fellow shopper asked her to get something from a shelf.

"I think people forget that we've lived in the White House for six years," she said. "Before that, Barack Obama was a black man that lived on the south side of Chicago, who had his share of troubles catching cabs."


The first couple spoke about their experiences with racism amid protests nationwide over the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in State Island, New York. The president said racial relations have gotten better, but more progress is needed.

"The small irritations or indignities that we experience are nothing compared to what a previous generation experienced," Obama said.