Barack Obama: Family Life [cite this] ↑Barack Obama Home Page Barack Obama Essays Life in Brief Life Before the Presidency Campaigns and Elections Domestic Affairs Foreign Affairs Family Life [ print all essays ] When Barack Obama celebrates America's racial and cultural diversity, he speaks from a lifetime of personal experience. In The Audacity of Hope, he wrote: "As the child of a black man and a white woman, someone who was born in the racial melting pot of Hawaii, with a sister who’s half-Indonesian but who’s usually mistaken for Mexican or Puerto Rican, and a brother-in-law and niece of Chinese descent, with some blood relatives who resemble Margaret Thatcher and others who could pass for Bernie Mac, so that family get-togethers over Christmas take on the appearance of a UN General Assembly meeting, I've never had the option of restricting my loyalties on the basis of race, or measuring my worth on the basis of tribe." Obama's wife, Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama, was born on January 17, 1964. Their first daughter, Malia Ann, was born on July 4, 1998, and their second daughter, Natasha, known as Sasha, was born on June 10, 2001. All three were born in Chicago and, until moving to Washington on January 5, 2009, two months after Barack Obama was elected President, they had spent almost their entire lives there. The Obamas chose to send their daughters to Sidwell Friends School, Sasha as a second-grader at the school's Bethesda, Maryland, elementary school campus and Malia as a fifth-grader at its middle school campus in Washington. The Obamas were accompanied to Washington by Michelle's mother, Marian Shields Robinson, whom they invited to live with them in the White House. Robinson is the only surviving parent of either Barack or Michelle Obama. Other close family members include Michelle Obama's brother, Craig Robinson, and Barack Obama's half-sister Maya Soetoro Ng. Ng was born in 1970 in Indonesia, the daughter of Obama's mother and her second husband, Lolo Soetoro. Growing up, Barack Obama's family influenced his values in ways that later shaped his political philosophy. "Empathy is at the heart of my moral code ... ," he wrote in The Audacity of Hope, "a call to stand in somebody else's shoes and see through their eyes. Like most of my values, I learned about empathy from my mother." As a result, Obama is "angry about policies that consistently favor the wealthy and powerful over average Americans, and insist[s] that government has an important role in opening up opportunity to all." Proud Democrat that he is, however, Obama is critical of his party's reflexive liberalism. "In reaction to a war that is ill-conceived," he wrote, "we appear suspicious of all military action. In reaction to those who claim the market can cure all ills, we resist efforts to use market principles to attack pressing problems. In reaction to religious overreach, we equate tolerance with secularism." Interestingly, in The Audacity of Hope, the figures he praised most, except for Franklin D. Roosevelt, were Republican icons: Alexander Hamilton, Abraham Lincoln, and Ronald Reagan, not Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, or Bill Clinton. During his final year as President, Obama consulted with a wide range of formal and informal advisers about life after the presidency, which will begin on January 20, 2017, when he is still just 55 years old. In March 2016, Obama said that he and his family would remain in Washington at least until Sasha finishes high school in 2019. In May 2016, the White House announced Malia’s decision to attend Harvard University starting in the fall of 2017 after she takes a gap year between graduating from high school and starting college. Barack Obama Essays Life in Brief Life Before the Presidency Campaigns and Elections Domestic Affairs Foreign Affairs Family Life [ print all essays ] Barack Obama Home Citation Information Consulting Editor Michael Nelson Professor Nelson is the Fulmer Professor Political Science at Rhodes College, a senior fellow of the Miller Center, and the senior contributing editor and book editor of the Cook Political Report. He is the author of multiple books on American politics and government, including: Resilient America: Electing Nixon in 1968, Channeling Dissent, and Dividing Government (University Press of Kansas), which won the American Political Science Association’s Richard E. Neustadt Award for Best Book on the Presidency published in 2014 How the South Joined the Gambling Nation: The Politics of State Policy Innovation (LSU Press), which won the Southern Political Science Association’s V.O. Key Award for Outstanding Book on Southern Politics published in 2006 American President has changed! Click here to take a short survey and tell us what you think!