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Michelle, Malia and Sasha and Bo with Santa, kids at childrens hospital

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WASHINGTON -- First lady Michelle Obama, Malia, Sasha and first dog Bo were visiting the Children's National Medical Center here on Tuesday when, unexpectedly, Mrs. Obama asked the kids if they had questions for her daughters.

Of course, they did. Malia, 11 and Sasha, 8, are often photographed with their folks, but the poised young ladies have not been heard from at a public event in the 11 months the Obamas have been in the White House.


They handled themselves like pros -- with Sasha getting a little coaching from mom, who made sure she did not spoil President Obama's Christmas gift surprise.

WASHINGTON -- First lady Michelle Obama, Malia, Sasha and first dog Bo were visiting the Children's National Medical Center here on Tuesday when, unexpectedly, Mrs. Obama asked the kids if they had questions for her daughters.

Of course, they did. Malia, 11 and Sasha, 8, are often photographed with their folks, but the poised young ladies have not been heard from at a public event in the 11 months the Obamas have been in the White House.


They handled themselves like pros -- with Sasha getting a little coaching from mom, who made sure she did not spoil President Obama's Christmas gift surprise.

The hospital visit was also Bo's debut at a public event outside the White House. I was told the hospital said it was OK to bring Bo -- and each patient petting the dog got an immediate squirt of anti-bacterial lotion.

Mrs. Obama allowed six minutes of questions just after the Obama ladies had finished reading to the hospitalized children. Mrs. Obama picked 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, and her girls each read from Snowmen at Night.

Earlier, Mrs. Obama toured the 26-bed heart and kidney unit of the hospital while her girls and Bo mingled with patients in the hospital atrium.

Asked how the holidays will be be different for her this year, Sasha said, "Well, it will be easier to get on the plane than last year. But I don't think anything will be very different."

The Obama family departs Thursday morning for Honolulu; the family spends the holidays each year in Hawaii, President Obama's native state.

"Yes, we're doing the same things we usually do," Mrs. Obama told the patients. "Every year, ever since the kids were born, and even before, we go to Hawaii, because that's where the president is from. So we go with a group of friends."

Asked, "What did you get the president for Christmas?" Malia said, "It's something good, though. I hope he'll like it"

Mrs. Obama added, "It's good. You know, we got him sports -- I got him sports stuff."

Just as Sasha was about to spill the secret, saying "We got him . . ." Mrs. Obama cut in and said, "Don't say it, just give it a category."

Replied Sasha, "I'm not. It's something he likes."

The patients asked how many Christmas trees are in the White House. Mrs. Obama said 26. Malia added, "Unfortunately, you don't get presents under all of them."

Sasha brought up the "wishing tree" that stands near the East Wing entrance. She explained what it is: "One of the trees is called the wishing tree, and it is made out of cardboard. And so you can write down a wish and you roll it up, and then you can put it in one of the holes, and it might come true."

Asked about their favorite Christmas song, Mrs. Obama said "Malia and Sasha have been playing two that are just drilled into my head, 'Carol of the Bells' and 'Jingle Bells.' "

Sasha honed her mom's answer: "Well, I don't play 'Jingle Bells' as much as Malia plays 'Carol of the Bells.' "

While those tunes are Mrs. Obama's favorites, said Sasha,"I'm getting bored of that song now."

1 Comment

merry xmas to your family.I am part of a singing group " Inspirational voices of prasies" and we would love to get the oppurnity to meet you all and sing to the young ladies. I have two daughters and both are in college,one will be graduation in may 2010.They both attend Jackson State Univ where the president spoke at doing his campan.The one graduating will be goin on to prof school if i can afford it.Its just me and them but God has been good to us.my sister has a 22 year old Autist son and it would be a great privilege for them to meet you all also.The group consist of 5 women and their families but only 4 women does the singing.I could go on and on about our story but we would like to be given the honor just to meet you all.I know it would be a life time achievement to shake your hands.

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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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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on December 23, 2009 7:02 AM.

President Obama official schedule and guidance, Dec. 22, 2009. PBS, NPR interviews was the previous entry in this blog.

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