President Barack Obama said in an interview broadcast Tuesday that daughters Malia and Sasha can use their cell phones only on weekends, are banned from Facebook, can't watch TV and are only allowed on the computer during the week when they have to do their homework. He also said he was "too long-winded" to use Twitter and that he likes to "tape" things on "this—what's it called, DVR."
It's almost enough for a national newsweekly to dub him "America's First Amish President."
Obama's wide-ranging interview with ABC's "The View," recorded in New York on Monday, included a pop culture quiz and a predictable election prediction ("I'm gonna win"). The president cautiously gave himself an "incomplete" rather than a letter grade on the still-sour economy, and publicly forgave Vice President Joe Biden for forcing his hand on same-sex marriage last week.
And he revealed that First Lady Michelle Obama is "merciless" in mocking him—to the delight of his staff. Her repertoire includes "big ear jokes ... big nose joke, all my funny little habits," said the president.
"She just is relentless," Obama said. "But it is good for you. Especially in the White House, you know, you've got a bunch of people around who are always laughing at your jokes and thinking you're funny. And Michelle's like 'this guy? Really?'"
"And I will tell you, when she does it in front of my team, they love it. They're crackin' up," he added.
The Obama White House—and his political campaign—have embraced technology to an unprecedented degree. But when it comes to their daughters, the president and first lady have a pretty tough set of rules.
Obama's campaign Twitter account may have some 15,452,000 followers, but the president didn't sound as obsessive about the microblogging service as, say, reporters who cover him.
"I am not much of a tweeter," Obama told "The View's" co-hosts. "I have a tweeting account, so folks follow it." But Michelle Obama tells him he's "too long-winded for 140 characters," the length limit for posts on the site, the president said.
Obama mentioned that he celebrated his 50 th birthday last year with a small, private roast, and that Malia had said he was a good dad because "You are just the right amount of embarrassing."
The president, who has struggled with a smoking habit, also disclosed that he had not had a celebratory puff when elite American forces killed Osama bin Laden last ear.
"I did not. I did not because Michelle will catch me. But, more importantly, the reason I quit was Malia and Sasha were getting old enough where, even though I never did it in public, even though I never did it around them, you know, they might be able to figure it out."
"And that's not, you know, the example you want to set. The only great thing about being a parent is it will straighten you out because you want to do what's best for them."
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