ABC News' Tahman Bradley Reports:
President Obama took his daughters Malia and Sasha, along with his niece and nephew, out tonight for ice cream.
The Father's Day outing to Thomas Sweet, an ice cream spot in Georgetown, comes the day before his daughters travel with their mother to Africa.
The symbolic outing capped off several days of the president trying to emphasize fatherhood.
In an e-mail message on Sunday, Obama announced an initiative to support fathers. He said his administration will help men who want to be good fathers facing challenges spending times with their kids. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums, Major League Baseball, Groupon, LivingSocial and the WNBA are among the organizations and businesses that will offer discounts and special offers for fathers and kids.
Drawing from his own experience of growing up barely knowing his father, Obama has tried for several years now to use his influence to encourage fathers to do their jobs. In 2008, then a candidate for president, Obama told a black church in Chicago, “We need fathers to realize that responsibility does not end at conception.”
He added, “Too many fathers are M.I.A, too many fathers are AWOL, missing from too many lives and too many homes.”
Last week, President Obama took questions from the public on fatherhood in an interview with ABC’s Robin Roberts on “Good Morning America”.