TODAY

TODAY   |  September 03, 2010

Growing up Obama in the White House

As the first daughters get ready to head back to school, NBC’s Norah O’Donnell takes a look at Sasha and Malia Obama, two girls growing up in the White House spotlight.

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>>> when president and mrs. clinton moved into the white house , they laid down the law, chelsea was off press. the obamas seem to be a little more open with the details of their daughters' lives. norah o'donnell has more on this. good morning.

>> good morning to you, ann. this president and first lady do try to keep their young daughters' lives as normal as possible. they try to keep them away from the press and out of the news, but lately it's mom and dad who have been spilling the beans, talking openly about everything from malia 's new braces to sasha's love of hip-hop. president obama still calls his oldest daughter his baby, but even he admits she's growing up quickly.

>> i don't have teenagers yet. malia is just -- just turned 12. say good luck, huh? she's my baby. even though she's 5'9", she's still my baby.

>> but malia is no baby, a growth spurt over two years now has her almost as tall as her parents.

>> and she just got braces, which is good because she looks like a kid, you know. she's starting to look too old for me.

>> the president is increasingly sentimental in public about malia , especially her first summer sleep away camp.

>> which she has never done before and i may shed a tear when she's on her way off.

>> once off limits, the daughters are now everywhere, photographed on vacation from spain to martha's vineyard. the president is not only seen with them but likes dishing about his daughters.

>> when i woke up this morning and i'm shaving and malia knocks on my bathroom door and peeks in her head.

>> except when the president got in trouble for talking about malia 's grades.

>> so, malia came home the other day. she had gotten a 73 on her science test.

>> it's not just the president. the first lady, too, has spoken openly about her daughters' interests.

>> malia 's one issue for her father is saving the tigers. so, we talk about the tigers at least once a week. and what he's doing to save the tigers.

>> since it's back to school time, we learned that the girls get up at 6:00 am . they are not allowed any tv during the week. they've got to do their homework. why so much sharing about america's first daughters? advisers to the president say it's totally natural . the president and mrs. obama are proud parents and, like all parents, we love to talk about our kids. ann?

>> all right. norah o'donnell this