Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Obama's kids are so off-limits they're on the cover of his new book

In August 2009 a nutrition-advocacy group put up posters in Washington DC featuring a photo of a young girl with the caption, "President Obama's daughters get healthy school lunches. Why don't I?"

The group, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, soon got a call from the White House with the word: the posters must go. "They called and said, 'Please take those down, you can't mention the kids' and so forth," the group's president told the Washington Post. "They felt that mentioning the president's children was off-limits. They said [they're] not going to allow the use of their daughters as leverage."

A year earlier, in July 2008, candidate Obama allowed his two daughters, Sasha and Malia, to appear on a segment of "Access Hollywood," but soon came to regret his decision. ''I don't think it's healthy,'' he told ABC, ''and it's something that we'll be avoiding in the future.'' Since that time, there has been a general rule that Obama's children are off-limits for most public discussion. But it's been a rule the president has observed at times and ignored at others. Now, it appears, is one of those times he's ignoring it.

Today Alfred A. Knopf for Young Readers is announcing the publication of a new book, Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters, by Barack Obama. The cover will be a painting depicting the two young girls, along with First Dog Bo.

Politics Daily's Lynn Sweet reports the book is part of a three-book, $1.9 million deal Obama signed shortly after being elected to the Senate in 2004. The first book was The Audacity of Hope, the new children's book is the second, and the third has been postponed until after Obama leaves the White House. Sweet reports the book is "a tribute to 13 Americans, including artist Georgia O'Keeffe, baseball legend Jackie Robinson, and George Washington." It is 40 pages long, will list for $17.99 (although Amazon is now selling it for $9.89), and the money from sales will go to charity.