April 24, 2013 at 8:09 AM ET
During a wide-ranging interview, conducted hours before the Boston Marathon bombings, President Barack Obama answered questions about gun control, North Korea, immigration reform, abortion and various other topics. At the end of the discussion, Obama also spoke about life in the White House as a husband and father to Malia, 14, and Sasha, 11.
The president gave his wife tremendous credit for her role as a working parent, particularly during his campaigns. He laughed off a question about the first lady’s recent gaffe when she accidentally called herself a “busy single mother” before quickly correcting herself and laughing off the mistake.
“You know, as somebody who has stumbled over my lines many times, I tend to cut my wife or anybody some slack when it comes to just a slip to the tongue,” Obama told TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie in an exclusive interview. “But there's no doubt that there've been times where Michelle probably felt like a single mom.”
The president said there were times he didn’t see his wife for a week while he was campaigning.
“And she was still working and having to look after the girls. And she definitely, I think, understands the burdens that women in particular tend to feel if they're both responsible for child rearing and they're responsible for working at the same time,” he said. “And that's kept a lot of women not only single, but also married around the country.”
President Obama and the first lady have a failsafe plan for discouraging their daughters from getting tattoos or engaging in other rebellious acts: If you can’t beat them, join them – and then show the entire world.
“What we’ve said to the girls is, ‘If you guys ever decided you're going to get a tattoo, then mommy and me will get the exact same tattoo in the same place. And we'll go on YouTube and show it off as a family tattoo,’” Obama said. “And our thinking is that might dissuade them from thinking that somehow that's a good way to rebel.”
Obama has already proved to his daughters, not to mention the rest of the world, that he’s not afraid to risk public embarrassment. Last year, he belted out Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” while at a fundraiser at the Apollo Theater of Harlem.
Michelle Obama also proved she’s game for laughs when she famously showed off her “mom dance” moves with Jimmy Fallon during a February appearance on his show.
The president said his wife has always insisted she’s the better dancer of the two.
“In private, you know, I can bust a move and I think I'm pretty good,” he told Guthrie. “But she tends to hold out when it comes to praise of my dancing.”
Obama also confirmed rumors of going Gangnam Style during his second inauguration.
“Fortunately, we destroyed all the tapes,” he said.