March 5th, 2009
04:59 PM ET
14 years ago

A big surprise for the Obama girls


The President and first lady surprised their daughters with this new swing set which arrived at the White House on Wednesday afternoon. (Photo Credit: CHRIS KLEPONIS/AFP/Getty Images)

(CNN) - The Obama girls still don't have a puppy, but they did receive another surprise when they arrived home from school Wednesday– a brand new swing set.

A spokeswoman for First Lady Michelle Obama says Malia and Sasha, ages 10 and 7, "squealed with delight" when they saw their surprise, playing on the swing set for almost an hour in the chilly weather.

The girls' parents arranged for the play set to be installed Wednesday at the White House grounds, within sight of the Oval Office, before Malia and Sasha arrived home from Sidwell Friends school.

Filed under: Obama family • Popular Posts • White House
soundoff (456 Responses)
  1. Jane (Minnesota)

    Maybe the President can invite the "Children on Capitol Hill" to come and play on it too.

    March 5, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  2. Jean

    I haven't read all the comments, but I've read enough to get the gist of some of the negativity. People should just chill!

    When I moved out of NYC to the suburbs, I bought my kids almost exactly the same swingset - it is a Rainbow swingset by the way. (This one is slightly more deluxe than mine, but far far far from the most deluxe set they sell, believe me.) It was the very first thing we had installed at our new house, I wanted it waiting for the kids when we moved in. I felt that we were upending their lives by moving them out of the city, where they were used to going to the playground practically every day. I wanted to make the transition from city to suburban living smoother for them

    Think about the transition these lovely little girls are going through. They can't go to a playground to play any longer - imagine the security and press issues they would face. But they are still little girls, and they still need to run and play outside to be healthy. I think it is only a normal parenting thing to do to get a swingset. Pretty much every house in my neighborhood has a swingset just like this in the backyard.

    And for those who think it is wrong to buy a swingset when people are suffering? It only makes the recession worse, and likely to last longer, if people who have money don't spend it during a recession. The Obamas obviously have enough money to afford a swingset. The Rainbow Company made a nice sale, and will have some free advertising as well. Whoever installed it (Rainbow Company generally contracts this work out locally) got a day's work, and probably a nice tip, etc.

    I do not get the impression at all that these girls are spoiled. They have advantages, sure. But they also have extra burdens as the daughters of the president. I think their parents are just trying to preserve as much of a normal childhood as they can for them. I think that is admirable.

    March 5, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  3. kendal

    great parents

    March 5, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  4. Marge

    It is nice that they have this excessive swing set. I guess all the kids starving to death because their parents have no job would get joy out of it also. What I am saying is this should not have been news. The obama's can afford it, but the press should not have reported it.

    March 5, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  5. P. Mathew

    That's nice and everything...but is this really newsworthy?

    (Sigh), at least we know where former president Bush will want to hold diplomatic talks should he be invited for a visit to the White House.

    March 5, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  6. Chryssa

    Anyone who thinks a swing set is a sign of being spoiled certainly must have had a horrible childhood.

    Good for them. Outdoor activity should be promoted in every family, even in the winter.

    March 5, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  7. Theresa

    Good for them!! I know that the girls are SO excited about getting this playset. My kids have a very old one – the 10 year old uses it most, but even my 13 and 15 yr olds have been known to still get on it sometimes – you're never too old to have fun! Can't wait to see the girls playing on the swings with their new dog running around...

    March 5, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  8. Dennis Matanda

    This is exactly the kind of news we would like to read. These are the things that build the economy. These family values are what make the world strong and these are the same values that keep us working for the things we hold dear.

    For some reason, this is a great story whether it does not seem like a priority. This is NEWS. And for those saying negative things, would you not want the same for your kids if you could afford it? I cannot afford it – but if I had daughters or even sons, I would do anything to give them the world.

    Now, I just need to start that dream family and work my self to the bone to give them the world – and of course, stimulate the economy in the process!

    March 5, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  9. shawn

    Meanwhile, old European banking families are trying very hard to crash the global economy, start ww3, and then have a guy come out with a perfect solution when he brainstormed the whole thing. Now here's Bob with the weather.

    March 5, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  10. Carrie

    I'm a full-blooded Republican here, and I think it's sweet. Those poor girls have had their lives turned upside down at a very young age. They deserve to have some sense of normalcy. All the haters need to remember that these girls are 7 and 10, none of this is their fault. As for the dog issue, I hope the Obamas do not buy a purebreed, because there are so many wonderful dogs in shelters who need a good home, so I hope they think of that when getting a new puppy.

    March 5, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  11. Lori

    Refreshing to see children in the White House! I love this family!

    For those complaining (which must be bitter Republicans) about this swing set and asking if their tax dollars paid for this... Yes, just as much as our tax dollars helped the wealthiest 10 percent of Americans get richer, the Iraqi's rebuild their country, and paying the big salaries of Republican elected officials who got us into this economic mess during the Bush administration.

    March 5, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  12. Anonymous

    a real family in the white house glad to see the bush zombies gone

    March 5, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  13. csf

    Can't wait to see what will be written when the Girls get the puppies...

    Such bitter people, I guess your kids are locked away in the basement, in the closet, under the floor, in the barn, in the dark, all alone. Need I say more?

    March 5, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  14. Wow

    If you are bad mouthing these children you should be ashamed of yourself.

    They have every right to have one and have as normal of a childhood as possible. I know that I had one growing up.

    Let the Obama's decide how to spend THEIR MONEY. Don't be bitter and bad talk CHILDREN because you lost your job. Stop blogging and start job hunting.

    Oh, a swing set is "unreal" during these times, but an Oscar de la Renta dress and drowning in diamonds at the RNC is okay.... roger that.

    March 5, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  15. Abigail

    How is this news? I will never understand how celebrity crap makes CNN. There are big headlines in the world and we're talking about celebrities and swing sets? I think it's great (as long as it comes out of his own pocket) we have a family man in office but really CNN? This was what you chose to report on instead of real news?

    March 5, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  16. gee

    a real family in the white house glad to see the bush zombies gone

    March 5, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  17. Brad

    Good for the girls, however it doesn't top the McCains kids air-conditioned playhouse.

    March 5, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  18. Tim

    CNN management or who ever is the one who decides to allow posts to the Ticker stories. You are a real low life to post this for comments. I blame you her the hate being spewed out here. People please ask yourselves honestly. Is there anything wrong with kids getting a swing set?

    March 5, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  19. Andrew Jakubowitch

    Just like the names Hooverville and Hoover blanket used during the Great Depression, we shall call this the Obama House. The Obama House will be supplied to all peoples who have foreclosed on.

    March 5, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  20. Leena

    Louise– how can a 10 and 7 y/o be too big for a swing seat? I feel sorry for your poor grandkids if you actually believe that.

    Strong– you're anything but. You're weak and it shows. Sad.

    Anonymous– the fact that you can't even post your name with a racist comment shows how you were raised. Loser.

    I can't believe how many racists and ignorant people are in America.

    March 5, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  21. Mike, FL

    Why can't you radical Reps use your heads before you say nasty things about something that is sweet and innocent?

    March 5, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  22. reagan fan forever

    BTW, if you think this is an extravagant playset, you have not seen a playset catalogue in the last thirty years. Have a look at one and calm down. And leave those innocent, adorable little girls out of your political comments. They are children. Nothing at all is their fault.

    March 5, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  23. DS

    "SORRY, IT IS NOT THE NEWS THAT AT THIS TIME PEOPLE OF AMERICA IS WILLING TO HEAR WHEN WE ARE HAVING FISCAL PROBLEMS" ... umm, it looks like a Costco swing set. I'm thinking it's probably not exactly a million-dollar luxury item.

    Oh, and by the way, why can't CNN cover human interest stories like this in addition to all the hard news. If you're not interested in the story, don't read it. What evidence is there that this story was covered at the expense of something else?

    March 5, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  24. ~~ July ~~

    Lotta Muni March 5th, 2009 10:05 am ET

    Wow! So glad we have this story in the political section, not to mention the ability to blog about the implications that the first swingset holds for this country. Who said the media can't focus on real issues?

    Oh dear ... how soon we forget .... the ticker use this space for the Bush girls too ... remember. It was for .................. getting DRUNK! jajaaaaaa

    March 5, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  25. Wow


    What 7 year old is too old to play in that swing set.


    March 5, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
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