Barack Obama is happy to be outnumbered at home — and, therefore, used to being the butt of the joke.
In a wide-ranging late-night interview on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Thursday, the former president, 59, discussed new memoir A Promised Land and explained some of his family's dynamics in terms of their humor. Obama shares two children with wife Michelle Obama: daughters Sasha, 19, and Malia, 22.
President Obama recalled first entering the national spotlight after giving a speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention and beginning to be recognized in public. His daughters, young at the time, said he needed to disguise himself when they went out — and the idea turned into an opportunity to joke about him.
"Malia, who's sitting in the backseat with Sasha, says, 'Dad, you need an alias.' Sasha's like, 'What's an alias?' Well, it's like a fake name you use so you disguise your identity. She said, 'So it should be Johnny McJohn-John,' " Obama remembered. "… She said, 'The problem is, you also have to disguise your voice because it's too distinctive. You talk really slow; you need to speed up how you talk and use a higher voice.' "
"She had a whole plan, Sasha agreed to the plan. We get home, they explain the plan to Michelle, [and] Michelle says, 'Hon, the only way that Daddy is going to disguise himself is if he has surgery to pin back his ears,' " Obama said. "Which I found somewhat offensive, but …"
He added: "I'm generally the brunt of jokes at my house."
Talking with Kimmel, Obama also jokingly explained why he's "afraid" of his now-19-year-old. "The reason is because Sasha is a mini Michelle — and I'm afraid of Michelle! And Sasha, having seen that, has the same look and the same attitude," he said.
"Malia is more like me temperamentally," he continued. "And we call ourselves the 'Long Faces' because her face is more shaped like mine, and it's the 'Round Faces' are Michelle and Sasha. And the 'Round Faces' are a fiercer tribe."
"We're like the vegetarians, you know, the gatherers, then they're the hunters," he said with a laugh. "We try to keep the peace with them."
In the cover story for InStyle's upcoming January issue, Obama said his wife and daughters "all have multiple badass qualities." He dedicated his new book to Mrs. Obama, Malia and Sasha.
"I think people know Michelle well enough to know how amazing she can be as a public speaker. They probably are less aware of what it’s like to work out with Michelle when she’s really in her groove," he told InStyle. "And sometimes that includes her boxing. You don’t want to get in the way when she’s working on a bag — including some kicks. There’s force there."
As for his daughters, Obama said their strength comes through in their confidence and buoyancy.
"Sasha is, as Malia describes it, completely confident about her own take on the world and is not cowed or intimidated — and never has been — by anybody’s titles, anybody’s credentials. If she thinks something’s wrong or right, she will say so," he said.
Malia, on the other hand, is "buoyant," her dad said, explaining, "She’s somebody who enjoys people, enjoys life and enjoys conversation. She’s never bored, which is a badass quality that can take you places."
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