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Obama offers glimpse into White House life

Just two weeks into his presidency, Barack Obama tells TODAY co-host Matt Lauer that he enjoys the perks of working at home and seeing his daughters more. He also explains why having a bowling alley in the basement isn't all it's cracked up to be.
/ Source: TODAY contributor

Barack Obama is likely the busiest (as well as most powerful) man on the planet. But after two years of campaigning on the rubber-chicken and kissing-babies circuit, he’s reveling in actually getting to spend quality time with his wife and two daughters two weeks into his presidency.

“It’s the best deal of this whole thing,” Obama told Matt Lauer in an exclusive TODAY interview. “It turns out I’ve got this nice home office.

“At the end of the day, I can come home even if I’ve got more work to do. I can have dinner with them. I can help them with their homework. I can tuck them in. If I’ve gotta go back to the office, I can.”

Being settled in one place — the palatial White House, no less — is a revelation for a man who was lucky to catch a night in his own bed during his two years crisscrossing the country making campaign speeches. In his first days in the White House, Obama, wife Michelle, 10-year-old daughter Malia and 7-year-old daughter Sasha have already had some family outings within their sprawling new digs.

One of the first things the Obamas did as a family was to check out the one-lane bowling alley in the White House’s basement. “The bowling alley doesn’t seem to be improving my game,” Obama told Lauer. “I wanted to use the bumpers, but Michelle [said] that’s only for the kids.”

Bowling and basketballHe added that they’ve also played games of Horse [H-O-R-S-E] on the White House basketball court, and that he’s looking forward to trying his hand at horseshoes on the pitch on the White House lawn.

Time with the family is vital to Obama as he handles the pressures of trying to lead the U.S. out of its economic turmoil and grappling with decisions involving U.S. troops battling in two different countries. But Obama told Lauer that when it comes to Sasha and Malia, he never had much worry about how they would adjust.

“You know, I think that we are going to be OK,” he said. “Malia is 10, so three years from now she is 13 — who knows what happens to teenagers?

“But if there is a pair of kids who can handle this weird fishbowl, it’s those two. Nobody’s cooler than my two girls. They seem to take whatever comes with happiness and steadiness.”

The Obama girls are getting into the swing of things at their new school in Washington, Obama told Lauer. And one is becoming a chip off the hoop-loving block.

“They’re loving school, they’re making new friends and they’ve already joined some clubs,” he said. “And Sasha, I think maybe to endear myself to her, she decided she wanted to join a basketball team.

“What more could I want?”