President Obama is preparing for his eldest daughter to graduate in the spring. The commander in chief spoke briefly about the milestone while having lunch at the Jolly Pumpkin Brewery in Detroit on Wednesday. The stop was a more relaxed one on his visit to Michigan to address progress in the Motor City as well as touch upon the ongoing water contamination crisis in Flint, just 70 miles north of the metro. The president stressed the importance of fatherhood and what it means to provide for the nation's children in a speech in which he mentioned the lead contaminated water that had led to a state of emergency being declared in Flint. He clearly takes both the role of president and father seriously, especially given Obama's sweet comments about Malia graduating high school.
Speaking with friends and colleagues, including Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, the president highlighted how proud he was of Malia. He echoed a statement that many parents make after their kids move closer to adulthood, potentially entering college or the working world. Obama had indicated that Sidwell Friends School, where Malia will be graduating, had even asked him to speak at the ceremony. The president politely declined, citing being a just little too choked up to deliver remarks on Malia and her graduating class' special day. Obama said:
Malia's graduating in June. I can't talk about it. They're going to leave their daddy. It's shameful! ... Malia's school asked if I wanted to speak at commencement and I said no. I'm going to be wearing dark glasses and I'm going to cry.
Obama has made similar statements about how overwhelming and meaningful the thought of Malia graduating is to him. He reportedly mentioned at a town hall in Baton Rouge last week that he couldn't talk about her completing high school in detail, as it made him incredibly emotional. Although the president has hinted at the fact that Malia will be going away for college, neither he nor the first lady have yet to indicate which university she's chosen.
Malia's interests lie in filmmaking, and she has reportedly whittled down her college choices from the likes of Princeton and Yale to either New York University's Tisch School of Performing Arts or the women's liberal art school Barnard College, which is affiliated with Columbia. Both film programs are considered among the best in the nation. Obama has stressed the importance of Malia picking a school for more than name recognition but rather what best fits her. Ultimately, the president said, the decision is up to Malia. Now that's a supportive father.