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December 30, 2013
Obama needs pr boost...can the "Dad-in-Chief" role help him?
Posted by Staff

The newspaper that brought us the Watergate exclusive 40 years ago has moved on to really important exposes: Obama's teary-eyed view of his daughter's growing up. Newsflash: the Obama girls are getting taller and more independent!  Malia dates!  Sasha has her own unique fashion sense! They're friends with Jay-Z and Beyonce!  But there were some gem paragraphs in this piece. Recall that in 2010, in The Obama Diairies, I documented how the Obamas used their family narrative for political purposes.  While the Obamas demanded that their daughters were "off limits" in politics, they routinely employed anecdotes about the girls, their upbringing, to soften their image or deflect criticism.  It took three and a half years, but the Washington Post finally caught on:

At times, the Obamas have evoked their daughters to make political points. During an appearance last week on the Rev. Al Sharpton’s radio show to promote the new health-care law, Michelle Obama talked about Sasha’s bout with meningitis when she was 4 months old and how fortunate she was that they had health insurance.

Politically, however, the president may need more than family nostalgia can provide at this point, said Elizabeth Mehren, a journalism professor at Boston University who has written about several first families.

“The president’s image needs more help than ‘Father Knows Best’ can give him,” Mehren said. She added: “The public has other things on its mind now, not the Obama girls’ growth chart.”

12/30/13 8:01 AM
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