January 14th, 2009
09:59 AM ET
6 years ago

Obama writes letter to daughters about their 'great adventure'

On the eve of his historic inauguration, President-elect Obama has written a letter to his daughters about why he ran for the White House.
On the eve of his historic inauguration, President-elect Obama has written a letter to his daughters about why he ran for the White House.

(CNN) – With the nation fighting two wars, the economy in recession, and signs that congressional Democrats will be asserting their institutional independence from the very beginning of his administration, President-elect Barack Obama has still found time to attend to every detail of his transition to power.

In a letter that will appear in Parade magazine this Sunday, Obama explains to his two daughters why he decided to run for president and, in the process, forever change their lives along with his.

“When I was a young man, I thought life was all about me – about how I’d make my way in the world, become successful, and get the things I want,” Obama says in the letter published on the magazine’s Web site Wednesday. But with the birth of Malia and Sasha, “suddenly, all my big plans for myself didn’t seem so important anymore.”

“I realized that my own life wouldn’t count for much unless I was able to ensure that you had every opportunity for happiness and fulfillment in yours,” he writes. “In the end, girls, that’s why I ran for President: because of what I want for you and for every child in this nation.”

Obama tells 10-year-old Malia and 7-year-old Sasha that he wants all American children to attend good schools, have the chance to go to college, and “get good jobs” when they grow up. The incoming president said he also wants his daughters to see the kind of technological innovation that will make “our planet cleaner and safer.”

“I want us to push our own human boundaries to reach beyond the divides of race and region, gender and religion that keep us form seeing the best in each other,” he writes.

And Obama also calls on his daughters to give back. “America is great not because it is perfect but because it can always be made better,” Obama writes, citing a lesson learned from his own mother.

“I hope both of you will take up that work, righting the wrongs that you see and working to give others the chances you've had.”

Click here to read the entire letter.

soundoff (55 Responses)
  1. Ron

    Very touching letter. The President-Elect has a lot on his plate... I wish him all the best.

    My question– if Sarah Palin wrote a similar letter to her 5 kids, would the people commenting on this site still find a way to bash her for it? After all, they're both parents.

    January 14, 2009 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  2. Josh Maloney, Oakland, CA

    I am so glad Barack Obama will be our President in less than a week. I have great admiration for Obama and the sincerity, tempermant and leadership he exhibits.

    January 14, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  3. Jo

    “America is great not because it is perfect but because it can always be made better.”

    That is fantasic! Finally, a leader with the patriotism our founders intended. Our country was built for constant improvement and involvement from its citizens. THAT is what makes the United States a great country. Blind faith and ego was NEVER intended to be patriotism by our founders.

    January 14, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  4. Citizen of the US

    You will find that many of the negative comments come from an insecurity found in many of those on the other side. They had their chance and failed. They just haven't figured it out yet, and don't ever think that they will.

    January 14, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  5. Jacob

    If the comments regarding why he did not keep this letter private or just to his daughters, please read the pre-amble and you would see that Parade asked him to write a letter to his children, and the children and citizens of this nation. Please read, comprehend then respond.

    January 14, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
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