Obama Links Malia's Childhood Asthma With Global Warming In A Powerful Call For Change

President Obama is about to take further steps to curtail the harmful effects of global warming, and while many politicians may continue to deny climate change, the president has a much different take. For Obama, it seems like this is personal. While speaking at Howard University on Tuesday, Obama linked global warming to his daughter, Malia, and her asthma as a young child. His daughter's condition led him to his climate change activism.

Obama told Dr. Richard Besser, ABC's News’ chief health and medical editor, in an interview at Howard on Tuesday:

Obama also told a similar story in an interview with CBS News' chief medical correspondent Dr. Jonathan LaPook that same day:

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The president further emphasized his personal take on the issue by telling a story about his time in Los Angeles at Occidental College. He told ABC News that when he was there as a student in 1979, the air quality was already so polluted that he couldn't go outside for a run. The president said that America took steps to clean up air pollution, and although "it's not perfect ... the same thing is true with climate change."

Much of Obama's public remarks at Howard University also revolved around climate change as a public health issue. "We also know that [climate change is] going to have an impact on our public health," the president said on Tuesday. "And through the efforts of these individuals and organizations around the country, I think we’re going to be able to start having an impact."

He added that the government needs to help protect "vulnerable Americans," including the health of families. "You can’t cordon yourself off from air or from climate," Obama said.

Surgeon General Vivek Murthy added that global warming may continue to negatively impact the nation's health. Increased asthma attacks and respiratory problems were some of the common health issues linked to climate change, Murthy said:

To help educate Americans about the ongoing effects of climate change, the president said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in collaboration with Google and Microsoft, have made data sets on climate change and public health open to the public. Obama also announced that the White House is working with educators at medical schools.

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