Friday, June 17, 2011

President Obama On Fatherhood: Yes To Family Dinners, And No To Boys With Beer

Video: President Obama discusses the joys and challenges of parenting in 'Good Morning America' Father's Day interview...
Speaking in a special Father's Day interview on Good Morning America, President Obama spoke about his experience parenting his daughters, Malia and Sasha, in the White House. In an interview with co-anchor Robin Roberts conducted Thursday in the Library at the White House, President Obama, billed by ABC as "the most famous dad in the world," spoke about dating and family dinners, among other topics. Unless there's "an actual national emergency," he eats dinner every night with his girls, the President said. But first the President discussed something that's on the not-so-distant event horizon: Dating. (Above: Today's White House Photo of the Day is the President soothing a crying baby during Wednesday's Congressional Family Picnic, as Mrs. Obama looks on)

Sasha celebrated her 10th birthday on June 10th, and Malia, 12, enters her teen years on July 4th. When Roberts asked the President if he's "prepared" for the new challenges, the President said "it's a little intimidating," but noted that one reason he's looking forward to a second term as President is because it will keep his daughters away from the dangerous practices of teenage boys. (Above: The President with the girls during this year's Christmas vacation in Hawaii)

"I have men with guns that surround them often, and a great incentive for running for reelection is that it means they never get in the car with a boy who had a beer, and that's a pretty good thing,” President Obama said.

"I'm not anticipating complete mayhem for the next four or five years, but, I understand teenage-hood is complicated," President Obama said.

Asked how he will vet a potential suitor for the girls, the President said he'd ask for a resume.

"I might invite him over to the Oval Office, ask him for his GPA, find out what his intentions are in terms of career," President Obama said, adding "Malia and Sasha, if you're watching this, I'm just joking."

The President praised his girls: "I could not ask for better kids," he said.

This week, the President launched a year-long Fatherhood mentoring initiative, Strong Fathers, Strong Families, but he gives big credit to First Lady Obama for his daughters' excellent character.

"Malia and Sasha, for whatever reasons – and I think Michelle gets the lion's share of the credit – are right now just wonderful kids. They're smart, they're funny. But most importantly, they're kind, they're respectful, they're responsible, they're well-behaved," President Obama said.

Family Dinners...
Mrs. Obama has made the importance of shared family meals part of her policy platform for the Let's Move! campaign, and while the President said that he has struggled with family balance throughout his career, he and his wife make sure that they set aside time every day for family dinner.
"As president, I have this huge advantage. I live over the store. At 6:30, no matter how busy I am, unless there was an actual national emergency, at 6:30, I'm up and I'm having dinner with the kids," President Obama said. "And we're sitting around that dinner table. And so, for an hour to an hour and a half, my only focus is them."

Mrs. Obama recently announced that USDA's MyPlate icon is now guiding what's on the First Family's dinner plates.
"The First Lady has made it clear that we are eating by the plate at the White House," Senior Policy Advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives Sam Kass told GMA's Roberts during his own recent appearance on the show.

"Every night from here on out," Kass said, about using MyPlate.
Asked if he'd like to have more kids--particularly a son, the President said it's not his decision, and that Mrs. Obama has announced "we're done."

The President also spoke about being raised without a father; the economy; and the Anthony Weiner scandal during the interview. Weiner, he said, should focus on his own family. The newly resigned Congressman's wife, Huma Abedin, is pregnant with their first child.

A video of the President working his magic with the baby in the photo at top:

*Photos by Pete Souza/White House; ABC video