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Obama wants to give Sasha, Malia, "space to make mistakes"

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WASHINGTON--President Obama tells ABC's George Stephanopoulos on Monday he worries about how to give daughters Sasha and Malia their "space" to grow up and make mistakes--even though there is a security detail with them all the time.

Said Obama, "They-- they-- they don't-- they don't-- they know who their daddy is. And-- and they're not worried about that. The thing I do worry about is trying to figure out that balance of making sure they've got space to make mistakes, be teenagers, et cetera. But obviously, they're not-- typical-- in some ways. So they're still having sleepovers. And they're still going to the mall. And they're still going to movies. But they've got this guy with a gun following them around! And-- and-- and so just-- just trying to make sure that that space is maintained. We've been able to do it so far. Our secret service detail is terrific about it. But it-- it's a balance that has to be struck."

below, from ABC....

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: And you're not going to tell it's how long it's going to take? (LAUGH) Let me just finish up with a couple personal questions. We got a lot of those-- on Yahoo, as well. A lot of people want to know-- first of all, I should say happy anniversary.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you so much. 19 years.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: 19 years. And they want to know what is the best single piece of advice Michelle has given you?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: You know, that when all is said and done-- the mark of success is do you have children who are happy and healthy and-- able to go out there and function as responsible-- loving people. And-- so far so good. You know, I-- I think in-- in this business-- as is true for a lot of professionals, I think-- you love your kids, but you always got these distractions and they're always-- things tugging at you. And Michelle very early on-- being that anchor that says, "No, no, you know, if we've got-- a parent/teacher conference--"
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: You're gonna be there.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: "--we're gonna be there." At soccer games. You know, Sasha may say it doesn't matter, but it does. That steady drumbeat-- from Michelle-- was exactly right. And-- it-- it's-- it's part of the reason why, I think-- not only are the kids doing well, but-- it-- it provides me-- just a constant source of joy and-- and sustenance.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Four years is a long time in kids' years.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Yeah.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: They were pretty little during the-- the last campaign. How do you protect them? This time around, when everybody's saying all these bad things about you?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: You know, so far so good. I mean, partly because-- they don't watch-- they don't watch news. Although, the-- you know, they're starting to read.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: On the internet, right?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: They-- they're starting to go on the internet. I think that the thing we worry about has less to do with-- them hearing folks say mean stuff about me, which--
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: They don't have to answer them.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: They-- they-- they don't-- they don't-- they know who their daddy is. And-- and they're not worried about that. The thing I do worry about is trying to figure out that balance of making sure they've got space to make mistakes, be teenagers, et cetera. But obviously, they're not-- typical-- in some ways. So they're still having sleepovers. And they're still going to the mall. And they're still going to movies. But they've got this guy with a gun following them around! And-- and-- and so just-- just trying to make sure that that space is maintained. We've been able to do it so far. Our secret service detail is terrific about it. But it-- it's a balance that has to be struck.

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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 October 3, 2011 5:56 PM.

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