Barack Obama Shares the Moment That Discouraged His Daughters from Running for Office

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Photo credit: Chip Somodevilla - Getty Images
Photo credit: Chip Somodevilla - Getty Images

Former president Barack Obama shared with James Corden why he doesn't believe his daughters will follow in his footsteps and run for president.

In an interview on Monday's episode of The Late Late Show, Obama explained that the lack of privacy his family endured throughout his presidency had to have taken a significant toll on his daughters, both of whom understandably sought out any semblances of normalcy while spending their most formative years in the White House. "First of all, them as teenagers having Secret Service guys follow them when they were going out on dates, I think, probably has shut down their interest in public service," said Obama. "They still have PTSD from guys talking into their wrist microphones and glasses as they're trying to go to a music concert."

Obama identifies with the tribulations that come with a persistent lack of privacy, which he shared in his book, A Promised Land. Living in the spotlight has certainly come with its costs, but the family has remained grounded, in large part thanks to Michelle Obama and her mother, Marian Robinson, who lived with the family in the White House. Together, they offered a particularly wise and humbling presence for the family throughout both terms.

"Michelle and my mother-in-law were very good about, 'Listen, you have to make your own beds. You have to wake yourselves up,'" Obama added in the interview. "If we ever saw a hint of them somehow thinking they were special, my mother-in-law always had the best line about this. One time they were acting out, my mother-in-law looked at them and said, 'Uh, you guys realize you haven't done anything, right? The only reason we're here is because your parents have done some things. You guys have done nothing.'"

Obama pointed out that such lessons have not been lost on his daughters, and he gushed over how well he believes they turned out. "I could not be prouder of them, not just because they're smart and accomplished, but they're just kind people. They don't have an attitude," he said.

The former POTUS added that his daughters are still very much invested in service, having been actively involved in various protests and forms of activism, but that public office just might not be for them.

Recalling his own public service work before attending law school, Obama reflected on how the subject requires a special level of patience and tolerance for people from all walks of life. "You have to have a certain tolerance for nonsense and silliness and meanness, frankly, to go into public service," he shared. "As a father, I want to protect my girls from that stuff. I think they are probably going to find other ways to serve rather than run for office themselves, but you never know. If they decided to do it, obviously I would be extraordinarily proud of them."

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