President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama made an unscheduled visit to a Let’s Move camp on the South Lawn to talk with about 50 Girl Scouts who planned to sleep on on the grounds of the White House Tuesday evening.
The Girl Scouts, who were mostly 5th graders, were gathered around a “campfire” of electric lanterns. At one point during their visit, a campfire leader praised President Obama for “Being in touch with your feminine side”, and told him this is what makes him so “wonderful”.
“What are you guys doing in my yard?” President Obama asked teasingly.
Transcript from the White House press office:
THE PRESIDENT: I don’t know. They just showed up. (Laughter.) I don’t know what you guys are doing here. (Laughter.)
GIRL: Camping on your lawn. (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: You’re camping on my lawn. I don’t know how that happened.
MRS. OBAMA: They’re making history.
THE PRESIDENT: I think the reason you guys are here is because we’re celebrating the Great Outdoors and the National Park Service is trying to make sure that young people get outside — so you guys aren’t watching TV all the time, or playing video games all the time, but you’re getting outside, getting some fresh air and spending time with your friends and having adventures. And there are national parks all across the country, and it turns out that the White House is a national park. (Applause.) I didn’t know that.
MRS. OBAMA: They knew.
THE PRESIDENT: You guys knew. Okay. So you guys are helping to celebrate and kick off this whole Great Outdoors adventure that everybody is going to be having this summer, right?
THE PRESIDENT: All right. So I don’t really know any campfire songs. Are you guys going to teach me one?
(The President and the First Lady sing along to campfire songs.)
THE PRESIDENT: Did you see the First Lady rocking out a little bit? (Laughter.) She had the moves.
This next part wasn’t in the White House Press Secretary’s transcript, but according to last night’s pooler, this happened and it’s too perfect not to share. Well, it’s perfect if you think that “feminine side” is a positive thing, and I do.
During this visit to the Girl Scout’s camp, a campfire leader called President Obama “our sister, too.” Obama corrected her that he was a “brother.” The campfire leader then suggested that the President was “very in touch with your feminine side. That’s what makes you so wonderful.”
President Obama’s response? “Clearly.”
These are the moments when it’s obvious that President Obama’s mother was a strong, brilliant woman, he is married to a strong, powerful woman and cherishes his two daughters. Our President is a man surrounded by women and this love and admiration for women is reflected in his policies.
Too often we hear “like a girl” as an insult. It matters that this campfire leader praised the President for being in touch with his feminine side and he rolled with it. These girls will never forget that moment.
Back to the transcript:
THE PRESIDENT: All right, well, you know what, you guys are having so much fun. Unfortunately, I’ve got to go to work.
GIRLS: Noooo —
THE PRESIDENT: I am not allowed to have fun. (Laughter.)
GIRL: Can we have a hug?
THE PRESIDENT: We can have a group hug. (All the girls at once come running up for a group hug.) Those are some good hugs! I didn’t know that Girl Scouts gave such good hugs. (Laughter.) Who are those Girl Scouts over there? (pointing to the troop leaders.) They look at least like they’re juniors. (Laughter.)
I’m so glad you guys are having fun. But I want to make sure — you guys better clean up this mess. (Laughter.) When I wake up in the morning — I’m teasing. You guys aren’t going to be making a racket, are you?
THE PRESIDENT: All right. It was good to see you guys. All right, have fun.
Using the White House lawn as a camp out for Girl Scouts is part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign, to encourage Americans to get out and get active.
It’s possible that the White House didn’t include the bit about the feminine side because Republicans will mock the President for being the kind of man who respects women, suggesting that he is weak because of it. But half of the country are women or girls. It is Republicans who should be embarrassed if they mock the President for respecting women because this is “family values” in action.
Women aren’t “weak” just because they have been systemically kept in a lower economic position and in this country are not admired for being feminine unless they are offering themselves up as a sexual object or having a baby.
It’s not weak to be in touch with the feminine side. Republicans ought to be reminded that this man who so adores the women in his own family and has done more for women policy-wise than any other administration is also the man who got Osama bin Laden when the Republicans could not.
Obama also made history with Obamacare. He just changed relations with Cuba and he’s working on a nuclear deal with Iran. These actions are not the actions of a weak person. They are the actions of someone who is not afraid to use all tools at his disposal in order to make this a better world.
Image via Twitter, Kristin Donnelly, NBC News
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.