Not the Presidential Daughter Gambit, please

“Malia and Sasha generally finish their homework a day ahead of time,” the president said, in a tone of rising exasperation. “They don’t wait until the night before. They’re not pulling all-nighters.”

President Barack Obama, June 29, 2011, at a daytime press conference.

"I had a discussion with my daughter, Amy, the other day, before I came here, to ask her what the most important issue was. She said she thought nuclear weaponry, and the control of nuclear arms."

President Jimmy Carter, introducing his remarks about nuclear antiproliferation efforts at his debate with Ronald Reagan, October 28, 1980.

Mr. President, please keep your daughters' homework out of public debate. I am certain they are wonderful daughters giving you the right amount of trouble, but as an historian and father, I am certain of a few other things as well: First, the Presidential Daughter Gambit hasn't worked in the past as a political strategy (though I agree with you that the Republican leadership is being foolish and acting dangerously). If you doubt me, ask Jimmy Carter how his debate with Ronald Reagan ended up. Second, your daughters deserve some privacy for their lives, including not having you discuss their schoolwork. Third, they probably will be pulling some all-nighters in college, and possibly before then. If Malia finishes a paper after midnight next year, will you suddenly become more forgiving of the Republicans?

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One response to “Not the Presidential Daughter Gambit, please”

  1. CCPhysicist

    There is a bit of a difference between behavior and policy advice.

    I’d say, based on the “stuck pig” reaction from the elephants not in the room, that his point about who was being childish was more effective than anything Reagan came up with.