My final interview with President Obama in the White House had been scheduled for the day after the presidential election. I had hoped to look back on what he had achieved over eight years and the issues that mattered the most to him and to the readers of Rolling Stone, hear his advice for Hillary and about the road ahead. It was to be the "exit interview," his tenth cover for Rolling Stone, our fourth interview together. Before flying down to Washington, D.C., on the morning after the staggering election results, I called and offered to postpone. This had to be one of the worst days of Obama's political life, and he hadn't had a moment to reflect on it, to be angry or to accept it.
But his office called back; Obama wanted to go ahead with the interview as planned. It was a dull, cloudy day, and the White House was nearly empty when I arrived. It had been a long and unhappy night, and now only a skeleton staff remained. It felt like a funeral.