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Malia Obama's summer: braces, camp, and a growth spurt

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Kevin Lamarque/REUTERS

(Read caption) President Barack Obama puts his arm around his daughter Malia while first lady Michelle Obama escorts Sasha to Marine One as the first family departs from the White House in Washington for their trip to Maine.

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Just a few days ago, I called the First Lady’s office to ask about the Obama girls. What are Malia and Sasha’s plans for the summer? I asked. Can’t tell you, came the reply. Just imagine if it came out, for example, that they were going away to camp. That would set off an all-out feeding frenzy of media trying to figure out which camp, a diligent press aide informed.

Well, it turns out 12-year-old Malia Obama is going to overnight camp for the first time, and for a whole month, her dad revealed Thursday in an interview with NBC. That’s putting a bit of crimp in the Obama family’s vacation plans.

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"We're going to be trying to figure out where we're going to be able to take some time over the course of the summer," President Obama said on the eve of a weekend family getaway to Bar Harbor, Maine. "But a month of it's going to be taken up with Malia going away for camp, which she's never done before. And I may shed a tear.”

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No word on what nine-year-old Sasha’s doing this summer. But, as is usually the case, it’s the older child who has to break in the parents on all those milestones of childhood. Malia just got braces, and she’s already quite tall, her dad revealed at a recent Kansas City fundraiser.

“Even though she’s 5’9”, she’s still my baby,” Obama said. The braces are good, he added, “because she was starting to look too old.”

Oh dad. Maybe he thinks braces will keep the boys away.

Interest in White House kids is always high, and the rule is that the Obama girls aren’t to be photographed apart from their parents. In general, only their parents can reveal details of their lives. What about music lessons? I once asked during a musical event hosted by the First Lady. Sorry, said the staffer.

So far, the name of Malia’s summer camp still hasn’t come out. If it does, any paparazzi who dare try to infiltrate will presumably face her Secret Service detail.

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