President Obama Says Dating "Will be an Issue" for Sasha and Malia

Filed under: Celeb Parents

I was nine years old when Jimmy Carter was elected President -- too young to care about politics, but old enough to be envious of his daughter, Amy, who was also nine. After all, she was getting to live in the White House! "You know she has her own pool!" I told my father. "And a bowling alley!" Yes, he said, he knew. "Why don't you run for President?" I asked. My dad laughed and said, "I don't think it would be all that much fun for you." Then he explained how Amy Carter, for the rest of her life, would have a Secret Service detail with her all the time. "Even at school?" I asked. "Even when she goes on dates?" Yes, my dad said, even when she goes on dates.

Talk about a buzz kill.

Sasha and Malia Obama

    President Obama told "Newsweek" that dating "will be an issue" for his girls. "I have men with guns surrounding them at all times, which I'm perfectly happy with, but they may feel differently about it."

    Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

    Malia Obama walks First Dog Bo on the White House Grounds in April of 2009.

    Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images

    Just days after the inauguration, the makers of Beanie Babies introduced "Sweet Sasha" and "Marvelous Malia." Now they're valued at over $3,000 for the pair.

    Getty Images

    A boy sneaks a photo of Sasha and Malia as they watch their mom speak to 6th and 7th grade school children from around Washington, DC, in February 2008.

    Getty Images

    Sasha Obama runs down the colonnade as she returns to the White House after a February 2009 weekend visit to Chicago.

    Jonathan Ernst, Reuters

    President Obama took a night off from running the nation to hang out with the family and watch the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater perform at the Kennedy Center.

    Getty Images

    The Obama girls were easy, breezy and totally adorable on their father's inauguration day. Malia, 10, wore a double-breasted periwinkle-blue coat with a blue-ribbon tied in a bow at the waist. Seven-year-old Sasha wore a matching outfit in pinks and corals; both coats were from Crewcuts by J. Crew.

    Getty Images

    Sasha gives her father the thumbs up following the presidential oath.

    Stan Honda, AFP, Getty Images

    Sasha laughs with her father President Barack Obama following his inaugural address.

    Elise Amendola, AP

    Sasha Obama is playful after taking her seat .

    Jeff Christensen, AP



When Sasha and Malia Obama moved into the White House, I had essentially the exact same conversation with my sons, who are more or less the same ages as the First Kids. And the President himself weighed in recently on what it's been like for his kids to be so much in the public eye -- and on why he likes that Secret Service protection.

President Obama told "Newsweek" that so far, the girls seem to be adjusting well to life in the fishbowl. "You know, the nice thing is that, partly because of temperament, partly because of Michelle's unbelievable parenting skills, I've just got some happy, normal kids." However, he said, he does worry about the teen years, "where, you know, you're already embarrassed about your parents."

While Obama doesn't seem worried that his girls will pull anything like what the Bush twins did, he's still a protective father. All those boys who think it would be cool to take one of the First Daughters out to a movie in a few years should take heed; the President says that dating "will be an issue" for Sasha and Malia. Because he and Mrs. Obama aren't going to let the girls out of their sight? No; because of that Secret Service detail. "I have men with guns surrounding them at all times," Obama said, laughing, "which I'm perfectly happy with, but they may feel differently about it."

I can only imagine.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.