As children across the world waited for a visit from Santa Claus on Christmas Eve, First Lady Michelle Obama helped track Santa’s path as part of the North American Aerospace Defense (NORAD) Command annual tradition for children.
The First Lady’s office said that Mrs. Obama surprised children callers from across America by answering calls for the “Tracks Santa” program, run by NORAD since 1958 – first exclusively by phone and then on the internet starting in 1998.
The website receives millions of hits and the live Operations Center is staffed by 1,200 volunteers each year in the lead-up to Christmas morning.
First Lady Michelle Obama spent over 40 minutes on the phone with children, answering Christmas Eve queries from kids as to where Santa is and how soon he will be at their home.
"You know that Santa only comes after boys and girls have gone to sleep, no matter where he is in the world," Mrs. Obama said to each of the children callers. "So Santa won't be at your house until you’re fast asleep, okay?"
While Mrs. Obama was on the phone, according to the her readout of the NORAD radar, Santa spanned several parts of Africa and into Europe.
"The radar shows that it looks like the vehicle is being pulled by all nine reindeer and it’s pretty full of toys," Mrs. Obama assured the children. "He’s moving at a pretty good clip. The weather looks good, so there shouldn’t be any problems with him getting the toys around."
The First Lady asked the children callers if they had been good this year, to which all of them answered affirmatively. One child, Sean, told Mrs. Obama that he had been so good that Santa sent him an email.
"You got an email from Santa? Well, he’s really moving up. He’s pretty high-tech now," Mrs. Obama said.
The First Lady told the children to put out cookies for Santa and of course vegetables for the reindeer.
One child, Austin, asked Mrs. Obama a few questions: is being First Lady a hard job, is it hard to have secret service and is it hard to be married to the president.
Mrs. Obama said the job is not nearly as hard as the president because she gets to do a lot of "fun stuff," that similarly the secret service is fun – could you be mad at people who are trying to protect you. Lastly Mrs. Obama said it isn't hard to be married to her husband.
"He's a pretty good guy. I mean, it’s a tough job and sometimes you want to do everything you can to help him, but it’s pretty easy being married to him. He’s kind of funny — fun to hang out with."
"Okay, cool," Austin said, seemingly satisfied with her answers.
The White House still does not anticipate releasing a still photo.