President Obama has unique way of deterring his daughters from getting tattoos

NBC’s Today Show did an interview with President Obama prior to the terrorist bombing in Boston. I guess it was because he was named one of the 100 most influential by Time Magazine, or maybe they were just checking in with the POTUS. Due to all the horrible things that happened last week, the Today Show never got around to airing the best part. In this second part of his interview, Obama spoke to Savannah Guthrie about his family, and he gave some very diplomatic and funny responses, as we’ve come to expect from him. He talked about his wife Michelle accidentally referring to herself as a single mom, he admitted she’s a better dancer than he is, and he shared a kind of hilarious strategy to deter his daughters Sasha, 11, and Malia, 14, from getting tattoos:

The president gave his wife tremendous credit for her role as a working parent, particularly during his campaigns. He laughed off a question about the first lady’s recent gaffe when she accidentally called herself a “busy single mother” before quickly correcting herself and laughing off the mistake.

“You know, as somebody who has stumbled over my lines many times, I tend to cut my wife or anybody some slack when it comes to just a slip to the tongue,” Obama told TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie in an exclusive interview. “But there’s no doubt that there’ve been times where Michelle probably felt like a single mom.”

The president said there were times he didn’t see his wife for a week while he was campaigning.

“And she was still working and having to look after the girls. And she definitely, I think, understands the burdens that women in particular tend to feel if they’re both responsible for child rearing and they’re responsible for working at the same time,” he said. “And that’s kept a lot of women not only single, but also married around the country.”

President Obama and the first lady have a failsafe plan for discouraging their daughters from getting tattoos or engaging in other rebellious acts: If you can’t beat them, join them – and then show the entire world.

“What we’ve said to the girls is, ‘If you guys ever decided you’re going to get a tattoo, then mommy and me will get the exact same tattoo in the same place. And we’ll go on YouTube and show it off as a family tattoo,’” Obama said. “And our thinking is that might dissuade them from thinking that somehow that’s a good way to rebel.”


Right now I’m living with two smallish tattoos that I got at around 19, and it cracks me up to see young famous twits like Justin Bieber (and to a lesser extent, Miley Cyrus) getting so many tattoos and tweeting about it. They’re so young! If my parents told me this when I was 16 or whatever, I still would have gotten a tattoo as soon as it was legally possible to do so just to call their bluff. I would have shown that sucker to my parents, like “I see your attempt at parental discipline and I raise you one wonky horseshoe.”

I googled “Obama Tattoo” and there are so many of them! People have “hope” tattoos, they have Obama’s portrait, and rapper The Game even has a huge Obama face tattooed across his chest. That’s a risky tattoo, in my opinion. I consider politician tattoos like tattoos for boyfriends. They may be in your good graces now, but just wait. By the nature of their job, they’re going to piss you off at some point.

Here’s Obama’s interview:

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Photo credit: Official White House Photos by Pete Souza via Flickr. Couch photo with Obama’s daughters credit: Newsphotos/

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39 Responses to “President Obama has unique way of deterring his daughters from getting tattoos”

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  1. Zimmer says:

    I can’t help loving Obama, only time can tell whether he was a good president, but as a person he is really cool!

    • capepopsie says:

      Same here!

    • Michele says:

      It’s been six years, it’s clear he’s not a good president.

      • Hakura says:

        Unfortunately, I agree with you, Michele. I’m not sure he’s managed (or even come close to managing) to live up to any of his campaign promises. (correct me if I’m wrong.) It’s his choices regarding immigration that upsets me the most, however.

  2. Jackie Jormp Jomp (formerly Zelda) says:

    I lost my shit at “wonky horseshoe”. haha-Nice.

  3. Samigirl says:

    Omg. That is hilarious. And it *might* work. Can’t wait to see if Barack and Michelle end up with roses or hearts on their shoulder blades!

  4. Anna says:

    I would call the parental bluff. ‘Ok dad, get ready for a portrait of Justin Bieber on your chest!’

    • Miffy says:

      Careful what you wish for… I called my mother’s bluff (she threatened the same thing). Cue on horrific, DIY belly button piercing from her (she was doctor, assumed it was just like being a piercer!). That was the end of that rebellious phase.

  5. marie says:

    while I don’t necessarily agree with his politics, I think that Michelle and him are great parents. That’s a really cute story, I think a family tramp stamp would deter most folks.

  6. teehee says:

    I agree— politics makes me sick and the world is full of corruption- but Obama as a person is great and admirable, very intelligent, classy, gracious. 🙂

    • Jennykins says:

      I live in canada and I have to say I’m jealous of your president. He is such a well spoken, kind hearted man. He speaks with a sensitivity to women’s issues, to racial issues and with what I feel is genuine empathy. Can we trade? Our current pm has the charisma and brain of a wonky horseshoe.

      • vv says:

        I wish Jenny was exaggerating but it’s true. Our Prime Minister is a complete fail and our ‘first lady’ is sooooooooooo lame. No presence whatsoever 🙁

      • Max says:

        Justin Trudeau may spice things up.
        You can tell Harper is feeling the heat.

        As for his wife, she doesn’t have to do much as the public never asked or expected anything from the Canadian “First Lady”.

      • Lisa says:

        omg, cackling into my coffee over wonky horseshoe. Bizarrely accurate.

  7. lucy2 says:

    I love that idea! I wish more parents did that, because there are some DUMB kids out there covering themselves with stupid stuff.

  8. Jess says:

    Yeah, if my parents had done that I would have called their bluff ASAP, even if I hadn’t wanted a tattoo. That’s just like waving a red flag at a bull.

  9. Naye in VA says:

    The kid who lives behind me is just under 19 and he’s covered in tattoos and im like “dude, you dont even know who you are right now, these tattoos will be completely irrelevant in 5 yrs” pshh. Cant tell kids nothing. I think I’ll use Obama’s move, but only because Im tatted up myself so I really wouldn’t mind, but I think any young girl would be pissed if her mom kept getting tats to match her lol.

    • Hollz says:

      I got my first (of many) tattoo 8 years ago and it’s certainly not “completely irrelevant” to who I am. Why does it matter to you what is on his body?

      • Naye in VA says:

        I have several tattoos and I got my first seven years ago. In the interim every tattoo I have gotten has meant something very important to me, or marked an important time or transition in my life. In the span of less than one year he has covered his arms and most of his chest with random tattoos, and he is not even out of high school yet. For some, tattooing becomes an addiction, and I think it’s important before you cover every inch of your body, to know what you are doing, and do it with a purpose. Shoot even if it’s just for the Art of it. But I’ve seen his tattoos and they’re just the randoms of an 18 kid.
        I like the kid, but he blew a lot of settlement money on the tats, and I wish he had shown more concern for his future.

        Also, my first tat I got in a bit of a rebellion, and a crackhead did it in his basement. Its my initials inside of a little dragon that looks kind of like Mushu and I can’t for the life of me remember why I wanted a dragon or why I got it on my hip. That’s why I think you shouldnt go out and cover your whole body in a year. Especially at the dumb (yes dumb) age of 18.

  10. Emma13 says:

    I highly doubt it would work because it is a bluff. My mom told me she’d beat me so hard it’d come off, and that seems to have worked so far 🙂

  11. The Original Original says:

    Beyonce has a song where she talks about her father and says practically the same thing…that she got a tattoo and didnt like it, so her father went out and got the same one to make her feel better. The first family seems so tight with B and Jay, I wonder if thats how they got the idea?

  12. Samtha says:

    The girls have gotten so big! It makes me feel old just looking at them. Beautiful family.

  13. mkyarwood says:

    Yeah, that’s dumb and cute. Just like him, I guess. And before you jump all over me for calling the Prez ‘dumb’, that’s his job. Just like Dubya and Slick Willie before him.

  14. yeahright says:

    Bahahaha! I like that. Im using it when my babies grow up!

  15. andrea says:

    But I kinda like the idea of an Obama family tramp stamp. Angel wings around a heart with the words “E pluribus unum,” perhaps?

  16. Hollz says:

    The day after I got my first tattoo my mum got one! Not the same thing, or in the same place, but she still got one! (She got a butterfly, and a few years later I got a butterfly as well :))

    *Edit* I LOVE this story, it’s super cute. Go Obama!

  17. Red32 says:

    I had a friend whose parents said “you can get a tattoo, but first you need to show us a drawing of it, put it in a drawer, and wait one year. If you still want that exact tattoo one year later, you can have it. But you’d better be sure you won’t get sick of it later. ” Even after they turned 18, they were cautious with tattoos because they remembered all the designs they looked at a few months later and regretted.

    • Zvonk says:

      I’ve done this with myself 4 years running. Have now come to the conclusion that tattoo’s aren’t for me. I’m too fickle in my tastes to commit to a tattoo design that’ll last me the rest of my life.

    • Naye in VA says:

      That’s what I’ve told my kid brother to do. And that is pretty much my method with mine. I spend months and months deciding what I want, where I want it, and finding someone to do it just the way I want it. and getting the money together lol. Ive had some planned for years, I just need the right artist.

    • Hakura says:

      I’ve known I wanted a tattoo (more than one) since I was 16, but didn’t know what I wanted until I was 18. I started drawing (I’m an artist), usually looking at it sideways & sighing, not getting a design down that I wanted.

      I spent years periodically drawing something until I was struck by very sudden inspiration as I was falling asleep one night, & drew it perfectly. I was almost 26 by then, & *then* had to devote myself to finding the best/most trusted artist. xD

      It was *totally* worth it. Covers my upper back/back of my shoulders, & I know I’ll never regret it. =) Then my mom (who has none) asked me to design something for her xD So I’m working on that now. ^^

  18. ramona says:

    I love the Obama family. They’re the kind of family I’d want living next door. Alas, I have slightly mad folks whose biggest hobby is complaining about the garden.

    Switching topics, I’ve got five tattoos and I love them all. Can’t wait to get more. I followed one simple rule – they’re all placed so that they’re only seen if I want them to be.

    • LahdidahBaby says:

      So true about the Obama family. You can tell how much they love each other.

      And you’ve got a smart approach to tattoos, btw.

    • Hakura says:

      I have that exact same rule. Before even getting the first, I knew I didn’t want to ever hurt my chances of employment by having one that couldn’t (unnoticably) be properly covered. Society is more accepting of them now than ever, but there are still those who believe stereotypes or will assume you’re a certain kind of person for having them.

  19. KellyinSeattle says:

    The girls are really pretty…and smart/sweet. I would love to have a family where I held hands with my parents, too~

  20. LahdidahBaby says:

    Or tramp stamps! 😉 i’m almost praying for that!

  21. LahdidahBaby says: