President Barack Obama told ABC News’ Barbara Walters that he ran for re-election because he wanted “men with guns” around as his daughters, Malia (14) and Sasha (11), begin dating boys.
The interview was the first that the President and First Lady have given since Obama’s re-election in November. It aired on Nightline on December 26.
In its published highlights, ABC News has drawn attention to the Obamas’ comments about keeping the romance alive in their marriage, yet those remarks were followed by this exchange:
Walters: I want to talk about the girls. we have been watching them grow up from little girls to young ladies. now, Malia recently got her first cell phone. do you want to see who she calls and who she texts?
Michelle Obama: I give my daughter at this age — I give her a long rope. and there is monitoring because we have rules. But monitoring may be — you never know when I’m going to walk in your room and i’m going to definitely ask you, who are you talking to and are you talking about school work? But…
Barack Obama: And they’re not very good at lying. We joke sometimes about how Malia’s getting to the age now, and boys start calling and, you know, sort of, I always talk about how one of the main incentives for running again was continuing Secret Service protection to have men with guns around at all times…
The interview was apparently conducted prior to the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. In her preview of the interview on December 14, which aired on Good Morning America, Walters omitted President Obama’s remark about “men with guns”:
George Stephanopoulos: You also got to talk about Malia and Sasha, as well.
Walters: Well, Malia has gotten a cell phone. And the President said, one of the reasons that he says one of the reasons I’m glad that I was re-elected, I have the Secret Service to keep an eye on the girls, especially now that Malia is old enough for boys to be calling.
Following the Sandy Hook shootings, Obama has led calls for sweeping policy changes, including gun control.