The president scooped ice cream at Baskin-Robbins, waited tables
at an assisted-living facility for seniors and also worked as a
painter. The first lady worked at a book binding shop.
"I think every kid needs to get a taste of what it's like to do that
real hard work," Michelle Obama said in an interview with Parade
magazine, slated to run on Sunday.
"We are looking for opportunities for them to feel as if going to
work and getting a paycheck is not always fun, not always
stimulating, not always fair," the president said. "But that's what
most folks go through every single day."
The first couple has taken pains to keep their daughters Malia, 16,
and Sasha, 13, out of the public eye while in the White House. But
Malia was recently spotted on the set of a CBS television program,
working as a production assistant for a day.
The Obamas gave the interview to promote a summit the White House is
holding on Monday to discuss policies to help working families.
"There are structures that can help families around child care,
healthcare, and schooling that make an enormous difference in
people's lives," Obama said in the interview. (Parade:
This year, Obama has tried to focus on issues such as ensuring equal
pay for women, expanding early childhood education and hiking the
minimum wage. These issues so far have failed to gain traction in
Congress, but do resonate with Democratic voters.
To advance his agenda, he needs Democrats to keep control of the
Senate after November midterm elections, where Republicans stand a
good chance of getting a majority, and likely also will retain
control of the House of Representatives.
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"If we can highlight these issues and sustain it over the next year,
it's still possible to see bold action out of Congress," Obama said.
In the interview, the Obamas talked about how they lived for a year
on the second floor of the house of Michelle's mom Marian Robinson
after law school, drove a used car that they bought for $1,000, and
worked through the stress of being saddled with student loans and
They acknowledged that their careers gave them the chance to earn
good incomes and negotiate family leave when they needed it - a
luxury that most minimum-wage workers do not have.
"But what it made me think about was people who were on the clock,"
the president said. "If you're an hourly worker in most companies,
and you say, 'I've got to take three days off,' you may lose your
job. At minimum, you're losing income you can't afford to lose," he
(Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)
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