June 21st, 2010
12:36 PM ET
5 years ago

Obama marks Father's Day with launch of new mentoring program

'Our children don't need us to be superheroes.' President Obama said.  'They don't need us to be perfect.  They do need us to be present.'
'Our children don't need us to be superheroes.' President Obama said. 'They don't need us to be perfect. They do need us to be present.'

Washington (CNN) – President Barack Obama marked Father's Day Monday by announcing the start of a new mentoring program for families and urging dads across the country to live up to their parental responsibilities.

He also highlighted a new Justice Department initiative to help ex-offenders more effectively reintegrate into society and find employment that will allow them to support their children.

"I can't legislate fatherhood," Obama said. "But what we can do is send a clear message to our fathers that there's no excuse for failing to meet their obligations."

"Our children don't need us to be superheroes," he said. "They don't need us to be perfect. They do need us to be present."


The president noted the absence created in his own life after his father left when he was only two years old.

I always "felt the weight of that absence," Obama said. Growing up without a father makes "a hole that no government can fill."


Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (46 Responses)
  1. S Callahan

    "He also highlighted a new Justice Department initiative to help ex-offenders more effectively reintegrate into society and find employment that will allow them to support their children. "

    If this is true, it will be a postivie step in the right direction. Too many have 'felon' attached to their resumes because of political motivations in the local zones, essentially attempting to ruin their lifetime in their communities. Until the laws are changed to suit the crime, and real justice is served, this is a good avenue to walk though the above comment i svery vague and I would like to see CNN explore this a little. (please)

    June 21, 2010 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  2. mar

    Good for you President Obama and very good for us to have you as out leader.

    June 21, 2010 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  3. doug

    A Democrat talking about fatherhood, if it wasn't sick it would be funny.

    Don't forget, it was the DEMOCRATS who destroyed the families in the inner cities and created the war zone that they are now.

    DEMOCRATS did this to hold back these people, because with a strong family unit these children would become successful and step off the DEMOCRAT DEPENDENT train.

    You libs need to be reminded every day of what you REALLY SUPPORT.

    June 21, 2010 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  4. Enough

    And how much will this program cost us? Government needs to stay out of our lives, we don't need a nanny state run by this incompetent bunch.

    June 21, 2010 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  5. independent voter

    you are an awesome example of what a father should be and for those that are "not there" yet, you give them something to strive for. Sasha and Melia couldn't ask for a better dad!

    God Bless President Obama, VP Biden, the First Familes and "Bo"

    June 21, 2010 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  6. anthony

    Makes me proud to be a father (a hard working black father)!

    June 21, 2010 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  7. Neil

    Im not always on his side in regards with his policies but I really commend him on issues about fatherhood in America.

    June 21, 2010 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  8. David in Houston

    This is terrific!

    June 21, 2010 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  9. Matt

    Why cant he say this on Mothers Day? It really ticked me off last year as well when he said this. I didnt vote for him but I try and see the positive in what he does but this is absolute crap. Oh, and I am just a 28 year old single father, raising my son by myself with a mother who refuses to pay any child support, medical coverage, nor even pay for her own damn school pictures. Being a mom doesnt guarantee that you are a good parent just as being a dad doesnt mean your a bad parent.

    June 21, 2010 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  10. phoenix86

    Good comment from Obama in favor of same-sex fatherhood. So much for Obama's "family values".

    Time to impeach this fool.

    June 21, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  11. Dave

    Go back to being a community organizer, just not in my community

    June 21, 2010 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  12. billybob 'n NC

    I am sure that Beck-Palin-Rush-Steele will find something to criticize about this. I can just see Glenn mockingly crying as he did with Malia.

    June 21, 2010 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  13. Wisconsinite

    @Angus McDugan June 21st, 2010 12:38 pm ET

    Good. I hope he gets himself someone to mentor him in leadership

    And I hope you get yourself someone to mentor you in how to make an intelligent contribution to the discussion on the Ticker instead of the childish slams against the president constantly just because you hate him.

    June 21, 2010 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  14. Dave

    He "can't legislate fatherhood;" seems as if he forgot he's now in the Executive branch, not the Legislative.

    June 21, 2010 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  15. Paul

    It's painful to listen to moral family advice from a President who promotes same sex couples. Morality is in the eyes of the beholder these days. Wonder why we can't cap an oil spill? God's judgment is close for America.

    June 21, 2010 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  16. Libby

    What a surprise. Obama probably celebrates going to the bathroom by starting a new government program. Friendly fascism is soooooooooo boring.

    June 21, 2010 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  17. ThinkAgain

    Thank you, Mr. President! Calling attention to the importance of fatherhood (and parenthood, in general) is always a good thing.

    It's also always refreshing to see someone use their painful experiences as a resource to create something positive.

    June 21, 2010 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  18. Tim

    I especially liked his line that we (the US Government) have to provide more incentives for dads to be dads.

    How pathetic. What we need to do is to provide better birth control to dads who don't want to be dad's to insure that they don't become new dads again in the future.

    Maybe we should give dads a stipend for each day they spend with their children.

    June 21, 2010 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  19. Julie

    Strong family values are not the exclusive property of either political party but should be the backbone of any society. President Obama, thank you for setting a good example.

    June 21, 2010 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  20. Anthony Beasley

    It's amazing how people can get on here and turn something that is positive and make it something negative! As in "another program"! This is why our country can't move forward! I guess now, people are going to complain that he is saying fathers should make a bigger and better attempt to be present in their kid's lives. This is a good thing!

    June 21, 2010 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  21. smt

    Why can't you get the extension for unemployment for Kansas. We have been shut down with nothing. People in their 50's don't have a chance to get as good a job s they had. The companies are taking young apps.

    June 21, 2010 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
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