President Obama gave a wide-ranging press conference Tuesday, but his most heartfelt answer came in response to a question about the Rush Limbaugh controversy. He wouldn't want his daughters treated like that, he said.
In many ways, President Obama's first full scale press conference since November was classic Obama, confidently pivoting between foreign policy questions on Iran, Syria, and Afghanistan and logically laying out his case for administration policies.
But twice in the crowded 45-minute session, his answers – about his two daughters, Malia and Sasha, and his wife, Michelle – provided a peek behind the president's professorial manner. For a president who presents himself as the Great Explainer, providing a picture of calm amid turbulent times, the moments provided a more visceral glimpse of the man in the Oval Office.
After several questions on the Middle East Tuesday, Mr. Obama was asked whether he thought Rush Limbaugh was sincere when he apologized for calling Georgetown University Law student Sandra Fluke a “slut.” On his radio show, Mr. Limbaugh took exception to Ms. Fluke's telling members of Congress that health insurance should cover contraceptives. Obama later called Fluke as a show of support.
On Monday, Obama's response was personal. “The reason I called Ms. Fluke is because I thought about Malia and Sasha,” the president said.
The president, who makes it a point of pride to be home for dinner with his daughters at 6:30 p.m. each night, said: “One of the things I want them to do as they get older is to engage in issues they care about, even ones I may not agree with them on. I want them to be able to speak their mind in a civil and thoughtful way."
And, the president added, "I don’t want them attacked and called horrible names because they are being good citizens.”