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Sunday, February 1, 2009

Michelle Obama bans daughters Malia and Sasha from mixing with celebrities

By Philip Sherwell in New York

Michelle Obama bans daughters Malia and Sasha from mixing with celebrities
Michelle Obama, America's First Lady, has banned celebrity socialising for her daughters Malia and Sasha as she attempts to forge a normal family life in the White House Photo: REUTERS

The girls' final encounter for now with A-list stars came on the night of Barack Obama's inauguration. The Jonas Brothers boy band made a surprise appearance in the White House as Malia, 10, and Sasha, seven, explored their new home and their parents danced at the inauguration balls.

But family friends told Us Weekly that Mrs Obama is "trying to keep them grounded" and insisting on no special treatment as they begin their new lives in Washington. That means an end to hanging out with celebrities such as Beyonce, whom the girls were thrilled to meet during the campaign, according to their father.

So after the excitement of the election, the move from Chicago and the inauguration, Mrs Obama's priority as self-styled "mom-in-chief" is to make sure her daughters settle in well at Sidwell Friends School, a prestigious private Quaker academy.

"Michelle is spending a lot of time talking to the girls about the new school and she's reached out to fellow parents at Sidwell," another friend says.

Although the Obamas did not speak directly to the magazine for the report, they posed for a happy family portrait and clearly authorised friends and staff to be quoted, on and off the record.

The gushing coverage is an early example of the Obamas' "paparazzi presidency" tactic: wooing glossy magazines by offering access and pictures in return for uncritical reporting that will help maintain the new president's high popularity ratings.

Us Weekly notes that Mrs Obama will not be hiring a nanny as her mother, Marian Robinson, 71, has moved into the White House to help look after the two grandchildren on whom she is said to dote.

The First Lady has reportedly confided to friends that the biggest plus for their family set-up is that President Obama can have breakfast and dinner with his wife and daughters - a luxury he rarely enjoyed during the previous two years on the campaign trail.

The magazine also has details of the first party that Mrs Obama threw at her new 55,000 sq ft residence: two days after moving in, she invited the entire White House staff to a welcome celebration in the East Room.

The invitees returned the honour by presenting her with a belated cake to celebrate her 45th birthday five days earlier.

Mr Obama takes on the hosting duties on Sunday when he holds a Super Bowl party for both Republican and Democratic congressman, including members from the home states of both finalists - the Pittsburgh Steelers, whom the president is backing, and Arizona Cardinals.

Aides say it is the latest example of his efforts to build a mood of bipartisan co-operation in Washington. But that strategy failed its first key test last week when his $820 billion economic stimulus package secured no Republican support in the House of Representatives.

Original here

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