Obama regrets letting "Access Hollywood" interview daughters. Won't do it again. MSNBC's Dan Abrams gets the story behind the story.

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WASHINGTON—The Obama’s did not anticipate the massive news interest in the “Access Hollywood” interview they did with their adorable and charming daughters, Malia, 10 and Sasha, 7, regret they put them in the spotlight and won’t do it again, presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) said Wednesday morning.

Obama made the rounds of three morning news shows and was asked in each about the speaking debut of his daughters. The Obamas up until July 4 minimized their daughters public exposure. They have been seen often, but never heard from.

The "Access Hollywood" interview was conducted July 4-Malia’s birthday—while the family was campaigning in Butte, Montana. “Access Hollywood,” never expecting to get the Obama children on camera, is running excerpts of the unexpected scoop over four nights this week.

Asked by ABC’s Diane Sawyer if he was sorry, Obama said,“I don't think it's healthy and it's something that we'll be avoiding in the future."

The Obama campaign agreed to Michelle and Barack sitting for an interview because “Access Hollywood” reaches a wide audience and their viewers may be people who don’t keep up on politics, and thus may not “know” much about the personal side of the couple.

Maria Menounos, the “Access Hollywood” reporter who conducted the interview, told MSNBC’s Dan Abrams Tuesday night while guesting on his show that that she only expected to be interviewing the couple.

“And I had time to hang out with them before. And it just became something where it was just that kind of a chill situation. And they just jumped into the interview. We had no idea.”

"....It was not something that they had told us was going to happen in any kind of way. We showed up that day. And they said, you know what, the girls really love The Jonas Brothers, and they`re kind of intrigued at the fact that we`re going to be doing this interview, they may want to say something at the end about The Jonas Brothers.

"And I said, hey, anything from the girls will be great, you know, wonderful. And the senator and his wife sat down, they were right next to each other, and all of the sudden after their miked and we`re about to go, the girls pop in.

"And Sasha sits in between. She like wedges her way in. And the senator goes, you look like you figured out where you want to sit….. So it just kind of happened. And I know that they may have discussed the possibility of it behind the scenes before, but it was not something that was intentional. When I first met the girls, they were very sweet but very shy and quiet.

"We had the whole day to kind of -- not the whole day, but at least an hour before where a friend of mine who had traveled with me was taking them on a tour of the Mining Museum and had great rapport with them. And they kind of got comfortable with us. That`s just how it happened," she said.

CBS’ Russ Mitchell, asking if the girls will be seen more, was told no by Obama on Wednesday.

“We had a unique situation in Montana where it was Malia's birthday, and all of us, I think, got caught up in the festivities. And so they had a chance to be their adorable selves on TV, but generall y we've been very protective of them. And, you know, in retrospect, I think if you'd asked me, we probably wouldn't have done it then, and we wouldn't do it again.

While the Obama daughters have been on occasion campaigning with their folks for a year—they spent July 4, 2007 in Iowa—their parents have never put them in front of a microphone.

NBC’s Matt Lauer wondered if the Obamas made the right call in giving up some of their private life for the sake of exposure on the show.

“You know, I think that we got carried away in the moment. We were having a birthday party and everybody was laughing, and suddenly this thing cropped up. And I didn't catch it quickly enough. And I was surprised by the attention it received as well."

Would he do it over again?

“ We wouldn't do it again, and we won't be doing it again.”


8 Comments

Next he'll be changing their names to something old fashioned. Perhaps Amy or Chelsea.

I think it's a great opportunity to get to know the family. After all we all know that Bush's daughters have been interviewed over the years. They've been in trouble for partying, and underage drunkeness, and insubordination. That's a lot worse than two innocent girls talking freely. I think it was a light and enjoyable experience getting to know the human side of Obama. I think everyone that is thinking he was an opportunist and threw the kids to the wolves is wrong. He was being an opportunist, but wanted to show America that he is a responsible family man and not out of control like Bush and other political candidates.

I DON'T BLAME YOU, YOU ARE A GREAT FATHER, ALWAYS PROTECT YOUR
CHILDREN, ESPECIALLY YOUR DAUGHTERS!

Please....it is convenient and he seized the moment. I noticed it got no attention on the liberal news tonight. I was always told you can't have it both ways - but I was raised in a conservative family.....hmmmm...if in a liveral family maybe I wouldn;t havet o work for a livings, get food stamps for my kids and not pay taxes.....oh, I forgot, all my taxes pay for all those liberals.....

Apparently what's left after those taxes didn't pay for an education. Spell check...make friends with it.

The entire thing has been handled well. Good job, Senator O.

I don't know what the fuss is about. He is a real father with a real family! I didn't see anything wrong with the the interview other than it was endearing. He's got my vote!

THERE IS ONLY ONE KIND OF NEWS, AND FOX NEWS ISN'T IT!
THEY ARE TROUBLEMAKERS, AND WHAT GOES AROUND COMES RIGHT BACK
AROUND!

I'M GLAD HE HAS YOUR VOTE, BUT SOME NOT MANY BELIEVE HE USED HIS
FAMILY, WHICH IS RIDICULOUS TO SCORE POINTS, I'M FOR BARACK OBAMA
ALL THE WAY, HE AND HIS FAMILY ARE GREAT AND THEY WILL BE GREAT
ON PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE!

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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