Obama: Daughters are 'strong, confident'

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Keeping his teenage daughters under the watchful eye of the Secret Service was “the main reason” President Obama ran for reelection, he jokingly said in an interview with the “Today” show airing Thursday.

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In the conversation with NBC correspondent Jenna Bush Hager, the daughter of Obama’s predecessor, former President George W. Bush, Obama said he doesn’t worry “too much” about the social lives of his daughters.

“They’ve got their heads on straight,” he said. “They’re strong, confident young ladies.”

In the pre-Father’s Day chat, Obama said he “made a decision in young adulthood that it was going to be important for me to be there for my kids.”

“I didn’t miss parent-teacher conferences, I didn’t miss ballet recitals or the soccer games. I tried to be disciplined about if I’m in town, being home for dinner every night, and I think it’s made a difference.”

As a result, Obama said, he believes his daughters “would say I am a good, fun dad who teeters on the edge of being embarrassing sometimes.”

The president said he was motivated by his own absentee father, and had begun initiatives to help young men of color who “aren’t doing well” because they lack present fathers and “networks of support.”

Obama also said he didn’t believe that the public criticism aimed toward him was affecting his daughters — something Bush Hagar said had been tough for her family during their time in the White House.

“They don’t really feel deeply burdened by some of the chatter in the news because it’s not really a part of their lives,” Obama said.