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."