January 14th, 2009
09:59 AM ET
5 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. Robin

    He may not have the political experience, but you have to admit he has intergrity and is a great dad. I wish him well.

    January 14, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  2. MsAnnette, Little Rock, AR

    Simply Beautiful!!!!

    January 14, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  3. Robbin

    i believe that Barack Obama is genuine and he has a good and kind heart and loving spirit. Thats what we need in a good leader! I have high hopes for the future with this kind of man in charge. good luck Mr President Elect you really earned my vote

    January 14, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  4. PC From DC

    I am going to cry!

    January 14, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  5. Kim

    You go Obama! What an awesome gesture for your daughters! They are 2 very lucky little girls! I am sure over your 4 years (maybe eight) in office they will question many times why you did this.....this letter in the years to come will be a reminder to them.
    Heck it made me cry and I havent even read the whole letter yet!

    January 14, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  6. Barb

    Why the letter? Are they not speaking? It's more of a publicity stunt if you ask me......why else would it be appearing in a magazine??

    January 14, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  7. Al

    What a crock.

    January 14, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  8. may

    Growing up without a father has taught me how important it is to have that role model in the home. PEBO exemplifies what it means to be a caring, loving, involved parent. I feel blessed that my child also has what I see in him.....how great is it to be proud of both my husband and my president!

    January 14, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  9. Consuela

    I just love Obama and wish him all the best !

    January 14, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  10. Gloria - Minnesota

    That is a wonderful legacy to leave his daughters and the nation as a whole!

    I believe that President Elect Obama and his family will be blessings to our great country.

    January 14, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  11. Laurie-Anne

    I didn't vote for Obama but, as a social conservative, I appreciate his morals and his family values. He really seems like a great dad.

    January 14, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  12. Sweet Pe

    This should inspire all worthless, deadbeat dads to step up to plate and start taking care of their children.

    January 14, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  13. Dorian in NC

    With a fresh new wave of integrity coming into the White House, I believe, along with the American People, we are in store for great things to come, REGARDLESS of any short-term tough times ahead!
    =D orian

    January 14, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  14. laali

    GOD this guy really wants copy the gestures of great leaders from the past.. he is already trying to script his legacy even before taking office...

    If he wanted to write something sweet to 'HIS DAUGHTERS' why make it public? he is somethig else alright.. There are a bunch of letters from 'NEHRU' to his 'DAUGHTER' Indira Gandhi (who later on became india's Prime minister) during India's freedom struggle.. Looks like Obama is trying to copy that gesture and make a name for himself in the process... what a copy cat.. standing with arms folded like kennedy and comapring himself to camelot does not make him one.. He is a joke.. but unfortunatly uninformed and gushing americans have fallen for his gimmick.. disgusting ..using his daughters name to get publicity for himself..

    January 14, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  15. Mickie

    I think Obama has more integrity than any of the presidents we have had in decades, but unfortunately the republicans and/or bigots will always throw everything they can think of against the wall hoping enough will stick to discredit him.

    January 14, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  16. Tiffany

    What a wonderful father! We may disagree with him from time to time, but everyone has to agree on this.

    I wish the Obama family all the happiness in the world. Thank you for sharing this with us.

    January 14, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  17. THE OLD TIMER

    BUBA YOU STILL HAVE A LOT TO LEARN AND WILL FALL ON YOUR FACE MANY TIMES DURING YOUR REIN.

    January 14, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  18. FeFe

    I am so touched by his words not only to his daughters but to this great nation. The world is blessed because of this man and thank God he became our President. My prayers are with President-Elect, soon to be just President, Obama and his family.

    January 14, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  19. EW

    Why didn't he just talk to them instead of hiding behind the impersonal nature of written text or won' the even tolerate hard questions from his own daughters?

    January 14, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  20. BR3

    He's got something better than political experience; he's got hope and the belief that each of us, regardless of condition, can be better than we currently are. I will share his letter with my daughter and I will pray that the bitter and lost will open their hearts and minds to the possibility of hope and that the forces that thrive on dividing and oppressing those less fortunate will be humbled. Give America and the world a chance at peace and prosperity. Heaven knows we've spent the past two centuries - particularly the last 8 years, embracing hatred, fear and retribution. America, it's okay to be great again.

    January 14, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  21. BW

    Quick question...if this is so personal, why is it being publicized? Seriously, I wish this guy all the luck in the world...I'm an American. But enough of this self-promotion. Bush is a nice guy, a Christian...look what that got him with the media and you people who have very little respect for the office of the presidency.

    January 14, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  22. CHILLY WILLY

    BARB – Do You know your father?

    January 14, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  23. Ms. B in California

    I wish that my parents had written me a letter when I was a child. What a wonderful insight you would have on your parents thoughts and feelings. I have written many letters to my son and he is already enjoying them. I wish more men were like Obama. Unfortunately that is wishful thinking.

    January 14, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  24. Cathy

    Barack Obama has always stood out as exceptional. What a guy. We are so lucky to have someone with his mind, vision, and integrity to be our next president. I'm proud I gave him my vote!

    January 14, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  25. southerncousin

    If Sarah Palin did this there would be 700 negative comments and CNN would leave it open for days.

    January 14, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
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