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The President As Parent

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The President was talking about his daughters again. When explaining to ABC's Robin Roberts why he has decided to finally come out in unequivocal favor of gay marriage, he noted that Malia and Sasha have friends who are being raised by same sex parents.

"It wouldn't dawn on them that somehow their friends' parents would be treated different," he said. "It doesn't make sense to them and frankly, that's the kind of thing that prompts a change in perspective."

Obama often brings up his perspective as a father when explaining his thoughts and actions. Critics see hypocrisy in his insistence that the girls are off limits except when he decides otherwise. Opponents see a chance to make some fun. After he quoted Malia saying "Daddy, have you plugged the hole yet?" at a press conference after the Gulf oil spill, for instance, late night comedians had a field day (just as they had years earlier when Jimmy Carter said during a presidential debate that then 13-year-old Amy felt nuclear power was a most important issue in the campaign).

What some call politics and pandering, however, I call just plain parenting.

Of course he thinks about his children at pivotal policy moments -- don't you? Don't you wonder how you are going to explain terrorism to your second grader? And worry about whether the Supreme Court will say you can't keep your young adult child on your health insurance? And hear "debt crisis" and "global warming" and think of your grandchildren?

Like Obama, my children magnify and inform and give meaning to everything I do. And if I had the power to transform the debate on same sex marriage in this country, I'm pretty sure I would be thinking of my sons as I did so, and the ways in which this might transform their world.

I know I thought of them when I heard Obama's words today. My sons have parents who were allowed to marry. Shouldn't everyone's?

How President Obama Is Influenced By His Daughters
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