POLITICS
12/04/2014 11:39 am ET Updated Dec 04, 2014

Growing Up In The White House: What It's Like To Be Sasha And Malia Obama

Speaking ill of the first daughters resulted in the resignation of a GOP staffer this week, reigniting the conversation about when it is and is not acceptable to discuss a presidents' children. HuffPost Live's Josh Zepps spoke with HuffPost Editorial Director Howard Fineman on Wednesday about the history of the relationship between the press and kids in the White House.

There is an understanding among D.C. media, Fineman said, that Sasha and Malia Obama are off limits, and as a result there are few stories about the children's behavior at places like Sidwell Friends School, which the Obama girls attend.

"Our own kids went to that school -- that's the school Chelsea Clinton went to as well -- and there really was nothing much, if anything, written or leaked out of Sidwell Friends about Chelsea Clinton, either," Fineman said. "And the people at Sidwell are pretty protective about keeping that the case with the Obama daughters."

Fineman also discussed the interesting nature of living in the White House's private residence, which puts the first family "above the store" in the middle of downtown Washington:

From what I've seen of the girls, and I've seen a little bit of them over the years, and seeing the Obamas as parents, and I've seen some of them as parents over the years, they are a very, very tight family. They are a lovely family. I think President Obama and Michelle have done a fabulous job rearing their daughters, from everything I've seem from this distance, and that's something to be celebrated, actually. And I'm sure Malia and Sasha, if they took any note of [the GOP staffer's comments] at all -- and I can't imagine that they didn't -- are big enough kids and mature enough kids to laugh it off.

Fineman pointed to activities like the Obama daughters' athletic pursuits as a valuable way to surround them with normalcy. He added that previous first children who have already left the White House are a good example of how presidents can be great parents.

"You can say all kinds of things about Bill and Hillary Clinton -- and God knows every last one of them has been said -- but I think as parents, judging from the results, they did a hell of a good job with Chelsea under difficult circumstances," Fineman said.

Catch the full HuffPost Live conversation about first families here.

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