MONTAGNE: You asked the president to take you to his favorite place in the White House, and he did. He actually took you there. I think you were a bit surprised to find yourself there, because you found yourself in the family quarters.
LEWIS: I found myself in his house. Yes. We get in the elevator that takes him up to the residence. And when we come off the elevators and there we are in the residence. And his mother-in-law is sitting there reading, you know, in a deep chair. And his favorite place turns out to be the Truman Balcony.
And we go out on the Truman Balcony. He explains to me how he will just come out here at night and sit, and he likes it so much because it’s the only place he gets where he feels outside the bubble. And this was one of the spine-tingling moments I had with him, because while we’re talking about how this is the normal place, how he and Michelle can come out and, you know, have a drink on the patio at midnight, and no one knows they’re there kind of thing. He turns around and he points to the spot - it’s right behind his head - where the bullet from the high-powered rifle hit a year ago.
MONTAGNE: A guy who shot at the White House.
LEWIS: The guy who shot…
MONTAGNE: Kind of randomly in a weird way.
LEWIS: Yeah. He shot down from across the South Lawn, and the bullet hit the window right where Obama sits when he’s having his moment of privacy and peace. And I thought, there’s the presidency for you. You know, here is the place where you regard as the safe place, the place you can come and be comfortable and be normal, and people are still shooting at you.
MONTAGNE: Hmm. But did it feel safe with you?
LEWIS: I was a little shocked that the Truman Balcony, that he’s even allowed on it. You know, it’s an incredibly an unnatural job, being president of the United States. You are cut off in such an odd way from the rest of the world. And for some people, that may not be that big a deal. But for someone who is sort of sensitive like a writer, and has the ability to interact with the world the way he did, it’s got to be very difficult to deal with.
MONTAGNE: Michael Lewis is the author of “Boomerang,” which is out in paperback now. This