Obama says poor relatives keep his kids grounded
August 1st, 2013
08:03 AM ET
12 months ago

Obama says poor relatives keep his kids grounded

(CNN) – Their home has its own bowling alley, movie theatre, and chef.

But while living in the White House could leave Sasha and Malia Obama with a distorted sense of how Americans live, their father says he's always conveying to his daughters how abnormal their situation really is.

"We are constantly reminding Malia and Sasha of the slightly unreal environment that they're in, and that that's not the norm and they shouldn't expect to be the norm," President Barack Obama said in an interview for the Amazon Kindle store.

Having relatives who don't live like the commander-in-chief – and even struggle to get by – has kept his children grounded, Obama said.

"One of the advantages we have is that we still have family members who are not only middle class, but we've got some family members who are poor," he told Amazon editor David Blum. "Malia and Sasha have cousins who know what it's like to struggle and know what it's like to have to scrape by. They know that those kids are just as worthy as they are, they just haven't had as much luck."

Obama, who spoke at an Amazon.com distribution plant in Tennessee Tuesday, said that even kids who don't grow up in the White House have a distorted sense of wealth – a cultural shift, he said, from when he was young.

"If you look back on your childhood, or if I talk to my friends, all of us have that same impression when we go back home and we realize that the place where we were living was pretty small," he said. "These days people would say, 'How did you live in a place that small?' Well it didn't feel that small at the time. It was secure. It was stable."

A constant barrage of made-for-television wealth has changed what kids regard as normal lives, Obama said, so that traditional benchmarks of success – a home, job, education, health care, and retirement – are no longer deemed sufficient.

"There was not that window into the lifestyles of the rich and famous," he said. "Kids weren't monitoring every day what Kim Kardashian was wearing, or where Kanye West was going on vacation, and thinking that somehow that was the mark of success."


Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (75 Responses)
  1. Fair is Fair

    "I'm waiting on you to move over to the D's "fair"..........."
    ------
    Better put on a LARGE pot of coffee... ain't happening.

    August 1, 2013 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  2. Steveo

    Leave the kids alone! Families should be off limits, unless they get politically involved, then they are fair game. These yioung ladies have not done that, leave them alone!

    August 1, 2013 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  3. Data Driven

    I don't think I can bear reading the first 25 comments on this post. I would imagine the hatred is just seething away.

    August 1, 2013 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  4. Rudy NYC

    "It is good he informs his kids how lucky they are with their tax payer paid vacations. I am sure it was done while eating ice cream in hawaii or in africa while daddy was pledging billions, or while daddy sent this message from his busy golf session.

    It is so wonderful to see a man in power with such insight and compassion. I truly can see how his followers kneel to his powerful charisma and charm! Hope he does another executive order for a third run at emperorship –oops ,leadership–oops, president, got it!,"
    -----------------–
    That's a pretty good recap of what The Grand Limbaugh said about the Amazon inteerview with Pres. Obama. I wonder what the Repubilcan is going to do for leadership when he gets dropped in at least 40 major cities in the near future. Hannity can't take over because he's getting dropped in those same cities, too. Beck? Has anyone noticed that he's popped up on most cable TV systems on the "Flame", I think it's called, network?

    August 1, 2013 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  5. Just a thought

    Blake

    @Just A Thought
    Why is it whenever anyone disagrees with a position you (or the president) has, it makes them racist/bigot/homophobe/sexist?
    -------
    Blake, ......One Answer "Critical Thinking". Any fair minded, well-reasoned person would accept the fact that this President inherited the worse economy in this nation's history, save the great depression, and in the midst of two 10 year wars. And to add to it, this president had to endure an opposition party that made up their minds on day one that they would not help. So in comparison you saying you liked lil Dubya's policies...how did those work out for ya? Geesh, that was easy. Did you miss the Critical Thinking class....????Now think about it.

    August 1, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  6. Just a thought

    Blake

    @Just A Thought
    Why is it whenever anyone disagrees with a position you (or the president) has, it makes them racist/bigot/homophobe/sexist?
    -------
    Blake, Any fair minded, well-reasoned person would accept the fact that this President inherited the worse economy in this nation's history, save the great depression, and in the midst of two 10 year wars. Add to that, this president had to endure an opposition party that refused to support a recovery under this president. So in comparison you are saying you liked lil Dubya's policies?? Really?? I think Obama has done a much better job even though he's a black guy. Therefore I conclude Hate Obama's policies as compared to the disaster under Bush" ...I think Racist/Bigot....Sorry

    August 1, 2013 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  7. Minnie Mouse

    This is how everyone has to live with the high cost of living and it's always a constant struggle. It's called living with in your means. Since you are the current president and you see how your own relatives are struggling, then this alone should give you a reason to do something about and stick to it to make sure something happens to help the low income families get out of poverty and the middle class families from all having to continously struggle just to make to surive.

    No one family should have to bring in two, three and sometimes more incomes just to live and no one family should be living soley dependant upon the government welfare system unless they are disabled or seniors, who can not soley provide for themselves and really do need the assistance.

    There are to many famililies living in poverty, to many families who can't keep a roof over their heads, to many families that can't afford college, to many families on the welfare system, the minimum wages are not going up enough at all and are not sustainable with the costs of living, to many americans with health problems, not enough decent paying jobs once a person gets out of college and the heatlh care costs, gasoline costs, childcare costs and food costs are off the roof top, just to name a few.

    Talk to your children about what you are going to do to help your relatives and the rest of the country, and then do it!!! It's a miracle if any family can go out bowling, to the movies ect.. It's a shame that everyone has to go through so much pain and suffering just to have our basic needs meet, which are clothing, food, a house, a job, education, health and utilites. We should all be living in a proserious country, but it is far from that because only 2% live like that.

    August 1, 2013 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  8. just sayin

    why does obama have poor relatives? doesn't he know he is supposed to spread his wealth around and stop hoarding it? he is dragging down the obama family with his greed. what a horrible evil 1%er that is stealing from the rest of his family.

    August 1, 2013 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  9. Lynda/Minnesota

    Dominican mama 4 Obama
    My paycheck keeps me grounded! LOL!
    --------------–

    Oh, yes, Dominican mama. Oh yes indeed. Been there, done that. Now it's my retirement check keeping me grounded, but what the heck ... grounded is grounded ... yes?

    August 1, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  10. Malory Archer

    Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I think our childhood homes always look smaller when seen through our eyes as adults.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    When I was a little girl, I used to practically live at the local roller skating rink. It seemed so cavernous back then. Now when I take my grandson it seems so dinky!

    August 1, 2013 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  11. Data Driven

    @just sayin,

    And Obama's poor relations are exempt from having to pull themselves up by their bootstraps? I would've thought conservatives would be delighted that he's not giving them handouts.

    August 1, 2013 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  12. Malory Archer

    Daniel D Janson, your jealousy is eating you up inside. The President picks up the tab for his family's vacations – NOT the taxpayer. Granted, there IS the issue of security details. HOWEVER, those guys would be with them even if they were just going for ice cream around the corner from the WH. Additionally, he isn't doing anything any other President before him hasn't done, yet you never complained before. What is it about President Obama that your ilk feels he should be held to a different standard? What indeed....

    August 1, 2013 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  13. Hector Slagg

    Golly Gee Gum Drop Rudy NYC,
    On the note that the Republician's will take back the Congress? Not bettnig on that one. Too many "Low Information" voter's out there. But, I will bet the National Debt goes up. unemployment get's worse and you may have to get awhole lot more "Grounded". Of course, the "Hevens" may open, all will be well and Obama will Repeal Obama Care.

    However Rudy, the Obama Girls are fine looking citizens and I would be proud to have them in my family.

    August 1, 2013 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  14. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I'm waiting on you to move over to the D's "fair"...........
    -------------------------------------------------
    I think Fair is waiting for the resurrection of the Republican Party.
    Might as well brew a HUGE pot of Tea because that's not going to happen (at least no time soon).
    Speaking of Tea Fair, what type of impact do you think the Tea Party has had on the Republican Party?

    August 1, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  15. just askin

    i would like the gao to issue a report on all of the money spent by the obamas over their entire time in the whitehouse. this should be done with every president. until the obama's it wasn't being abused with seperate vacations around the world.

    we also need laws that require that the president pay for the use of any government resource if theiir is campaign or fund raising activities involved during a trip. this is outright theft of taxpayer money when their campaign should be footing the bill. again, the obama's have abused this far more than any others. all he does is campaign on our dime. actually working to get things done is just not on his agenda.

    August 1, 2013 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  16. just sayin

    Data Driven
    @just sayin,
    And Obama's poor relations are exempt from having to pull themselves up by their bootstraps? I would've thought conservatives would be delighted that he's not giving them handouts.
    --

    obama is not practicing the politcis he is preaching to everybody else. he talks the talk, but does not walk the walk. this is what we have all come to see about obama. he is always saying one thing but doing the exact opposite.

    i guess when it comes to his own money it suddenly becomes different than when it is other peoples money. yeah, liberals are only liberal with other peoples money. when it comes to their own money, they are cheap cheap cheap.

    August 1, 2013 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  17. Hector Slagg

    Good Lord,
    Do you see who is on the Front Page of CNN. President Nixon. After all these years Noxon still makes Good Copy. Well it is a slow News Cycle so the News need to drum up something. I could say more but no need.

    August 1, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  18. it must be said

    I know if I had very poor relaitives and I was a millionaire like Obama, I would at least try to help them in some way. The word poor would never be used to describe them. Charity starts at home. Obama has had everything paid for him for years so he is doing nothing but packing money away in accounts. Isn't that hoarding according to you liberals in here?

    August 1, 2013 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  19. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    @ Lynda/Minnesota and Malory Archer
    I hear you both loud and clear!
    Malory, grandchildren really?! You're a spunky, sharp-witted grandmother babe! I like that!

    August 1, 2013 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  20. Blake

    @Just A Thought
    Sorry, it was suppose to be "injecting 80+ billion dollars"

    August 1, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  21. Fair is Fair

    "Speaking of Tea Fair, what type of impact do you think the Tea Party has had on the Republican Party?"
    --------
    Some positive, some negative. Positive in the sense of making an awareness of the out of control expansion of the size of government, which was pervasive in the GWB era and is on steroids now, and negative in the sense of attempting to push the GOP too far to the right, much like the progressives have pushed the dems too far to the left. IMHO.

    August 1, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  22. Malory Archer

    just askin

    we also need laws that require that the president pay for the use of any government resource if theiir is campaign or fund raising activities involved during a trip. this is outright theft of taxpayer money when their campaign should be footing the bill. again, the obama's have abused this far more than any others. all he does is campaign on our dime. actually working to get things done is just not on his agenda.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Congratulations – you managed to hit all the reichwing taking points in that one little paragraph. Why would he be "campaigning" when he's term-limited? As for fundraising, the previous occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue came to MacDill AFB to present a one-year service award to a civilian who had been hired to work as a historian for a military unit – a guy with NO experience, but with a daddy who contributed BIG to the previous occupant's campaign. Then he went on a fundraising junket all over the state of Florida. Nobody has the President of the United States show up to give them an award for being an a rather low-level GS job – EVER. The previous occupant turned GS jobs into political patronages and shot out military veterans for government jobs for which they were qualified in favor of his cronies' snot-nosed little tax deductions. My husband – a 25 year military veteran with a service-related disability was one of those who applied for that job and didn't get it. He wasn't upset at first, thinking someone with a higher disability rating got the job. When the truth finally came out a year later there were a lot of veterans like him who felt used and duped.

    August 1, 2013 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  23. Mike Bates

    What about all those Obama references to being "our brother's keeper"? Guess that brother living in a hut doesn't count.

    August 1, 2013 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  24. james

    the kids are not grounded when they take friends, 2 lear jets and go to Mexico for a vacation at the taxpayers expense.
    When will the government be held accountable ? Why should the taxpayers pay for the girl's vacations, much less the estimated $100 million dollars that the Obama's trip to Africa is estimated to cost ? He should have to pay these bills, not taxpayers !

    August 1, 2013 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  25. Malory Archer

    Dominican mama 4 Obama

    @ Lynda/Minnesota and Malory Archer
    I hear you both loud and clear!
    Malory, grandchildren really?! You're a spunky, sharp-witted grandmother babe! I like that!

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Thanks! And I'm H E L L on wheels too!

    August 1, 2013 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
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