Barack Obama's Sweetest Father-Daughter Moments With Sasha And Malia

From the moment Former President Barack Obama set foot into office, he made it clear that his daughters, Malia and Sasha Obama, would remain a top priority. To help their daughters gain a sense of normalcy in their unique situation, Barack and Michelle Obama restricted housekeeping use, assigned chores, and encouraged them to put their education first. Meanwhile, Barack continued to act like a typical dad. While delivering the turkey pardon speech in 2015, Barack said, "Time flies, even if turkeys don't," and proudly looked over to Sasha to see how the joke landed (she burst out laughing). 

Malia's birthday lands on the 4th of July and, in 2016, her father took a moment out of his remarks to sing "Happy Birthday" to his daughter publicly. That same year, Barack busted out his best dad dance moves to dance to "Hotline Bling" with Usher. Like every father, Barack couldn't help but tease his daughters for always having their heads in their phones, so he performed a hilarious impression of them during an official speech. 

But all dad jokes aside, the former president is incredibly proud of his daughters. In his 2017 farewell speech, Barack gushed, "Malia and Sasha, under the strangest of circumstances, you have become two amazing young women. You are smart, beautiful, and more importantly, you are kind, thoughtful, and full of passion." He continued, "Of all that I've done in my life, I'm most proud to be your dad," (via PBS News Hour). Barack's love for his daughters has always shone brightly and created some incredibly sweet moments over the years.

Barack Obama cherished family dinners

Barack Obama shares a long-standing family friendship with Bruce Springsteen. In 2021, the two started a podcast called "Renegades: Born in the USA," and during one episode, entitled "Fatherhood," Barack shared some heartfelt stories about Malia and Sasha Obama's childhood. He began by setting the record straight: "There's nothing I enjoyed more than just hanging out with my kids." However, after becoming president, Barack wasn't sure he'd get to see them as much. Fortunately, the opposite turned out to be true because being in The White House took away the time wasted on commuting. 

Barack explained how he managed to be a loving father despite having one of the most important jobs in the world, confirming, "Unless [I'm] overseas, I'm going to be home at 6:30 for dinner." He added, "And I'm going to be sitting there and I'm going to be entirely absorbed with stories about the annoying boys and the weird teacher and the drama in the cafeteria, reading 'Harry Potter' and tucking them in and listening to whatever music they're now listening to."

The former president prioritized family dinners throughout his tenure, setting a non-negotiable dinner time of 6:30 p.m. and only allowing himself to miss a maximum of two dinners per week. Barack's decision to prioritize these family mealtimes also stirred some positive change in the world because when his daughters expressed that they viewed their friends' same-sex parents in the same light as their own, Barack realized he should, too.

He publicly promised to get Malia and Sasha a puppy

Every child's dream is to have a dog, and for Sasha and Malia Obama, their wish came true in 2008 after their father, Barack Obama, won the presidential election. During his victory speech, he shouted out his daughters, saying, "I love you both so much, and you have earned the new puppy that's coming with us to the White House," (via The Guardian). In 2009, Senator Edward M. Kennedy gifted the family a Portuguese water dog. Malia and Sasha decided to name their pup Bo, which worked on so many levels. 

Whilst brainstorming what to call their new pet, the family thought about Michelle's father, who was lovingly called Diddley. From there, they remembered the singer Bo Diddley and decided to name him Bo. Coincidentally, B.O. is also the initials for Barack Obama. It almost seems like Bo was fated to end up with the Obama family because prior to his adoption, he was named "New Hope" as a nod to Barack's presidential campaign of the same name. 

Throughout his presidency, the family often got together to walk Bo. He also joined Barack and Michelle in their charitable endeavors. Once, Bo seemed to tire of waiting for Barack and demanded belly rubs from Malia and, of course, she happily obliged. Sadly, in 2021, the Obamas shared the heartbreaking death of Bo, writing, "Bo was a constant, gentle presence in our lives — happy to see us on our good days, our bad days, and everyday in between."

Barack Obama coached Sasha's basketball team

In his book "A Promised Land," Barack Obama revealed that he tried coaching the Vipers, Sasha's school basketball team, which also included Maisey Biden. The former president wrote, "After observing an adorable, but chaotic, first couple of games, Reggie [Love] and I took it upon ourselves to draw up some plays and volunteered to conduct a few informal Sunday afternoon practice sessions with the team." Barack admitted that they had to take things back to the basics and teach the players the fundamentals of basketball to help them do better. Thankfully, "The girls seemed to have as much fun as we did," (via The Sunday Times). 

Thanks to their team efforts and the duo's coaching, Sasha's team won the coveted championship league after an undefeated season. Although Barack primarily undertook coaching to spend more time with his daughter, the other parents didn't quite see things that way. They believed that being coached by the then-President of the United States gave the Vipers an unfair advantage. So, alas, Barack chose to resign to maintain the peace.

But that didn't stop him from showing up with Michelle Obama and then-Vice President Joe Biden to support their young ones. Nurturing Sasha and Malia Obama in their creative endeavors is important to Barack. In his 2013 Father's Day address, the former president said that after the end of his tenure, he wouldn't think much about his political career. Instead, he would fondly remember Sasha's dance recitals and Malia's tennis games.

He had a bittersweet college drop off with both daughters

In 2017, Malia Obama enrolled at Harvard University to major in Visual and Environmental Studies. When Barack Obama appeared on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," the host asked how he was dealing with the thought of Malia leaving. He responded, "I was asked if I could speak at her [high-school] graduation, and I said, 'Absolutely not.'" Barack elaborated, "Because I'm going to be sitting there with dark glasses, sobbing. Yeah, she's one of my best friends, and it's going to be hard for me to not have her around all the time. But she's ready to go." 

Although the former president couldn't be happier about Malia paving her own way in the world, he was still understandably upset that he wouldn't get to see her as much anymore. During a surprise appearance at an event for the Beau Biden Foundation, he compared the experience to having open-heart surgery. Barack shared, "I was proud that I did not cry in front of her," adding, "But on the way back, the Secret Service was off, looking straight ahead, pretending they weren't hearing me as I sniffled and blew my nose. It was rough," (via CNN). 

History repeated itself when he and Michelle Obama dropped Sasha off at college because the couple could only hold their tears in until she was out of sight. In 2023, Malia graduated from the University of Southern California with a Sociology degree, and the proud parents showed up to support their daughter, as always.