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Obama regrets putting his kids on TV

  • Story Highlights
  • Barack Obama and his whole family interviewed on "Access Hollywood"
  • Interview was light; discussed clothing, People Magazine, sweets
  • Obama: "I think that we got carried away in the moment"
  • Reporter: "No one really expected them to open up so much"
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By Alexander Mooney
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(CNN) -- Days after Barack Obama granted the first television interview with his entire family, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee said he regrets thrusting his two young daughters in the media spotlight.

"I think that we got carried away in the moment," Obama told NBC Wednesday morning. "We were having a birthday party and everybody was laughing, and suddenly this thing cropped up, and I didn't catch it quickly enough, and I was surprised by the attention it got."

The comments came five days after the Illinois senator allowed Access Hollywood reporter Maria Menounos an interview with his entire family, including daughters Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7.

The television show, which aired the interview Tuesday, billed it as the first interview with the whole Obama family.

The interview remained decidedly light -- Malia commented on seeing her mother in People Magazine while Sasha discussed her father's aversion to sweets -- but it was highly played across several news programs, including many on CNN. Video Watch: Are Obama's kids off limits? »

In the interview, Malia also said she often gives her dad campaign tips on how to reach out to young people her age.

"You really don't shake kids' hands that much, you shake adult hands," she said.

"And I say you just wave and say hi, so I do that kind of stuff."

Appearing on ABC Wednesday morning, Obama said he didn't think it was healthy for his two daughters to be so exposed.

"Particularly given the way it sort of went around the cable stations, I don't think it's healthy, and it's something that we'll be avoiding in the future," he said.

Speaking with CNN Tuesday, Menounos, the Access Hollywood reporter, said the campaign had reached out to the show for an interview and her only goal was to show the Obama family dynamic.

"No one really expected them to open up so much," Menounos said of the daughters. "You know the campaign and their family were all huddled around and as surprised that the girls took over the interview as I was!"

Stella Foster, an entertainment columnist for the Chicago-Sun Times, said she didn't see anything wrong with the interview.

"It's not like they have the kids on camera all the time. It was like they were just having a good time -- which they need. They deserve that," she said.

Obama and his wife, Michelle, had successfully shielded his daughters from the media spotlight since the 18 month-and-counting presidential campaign began. The campaign has repeatedly asked photographers and media outlets not to photograph the children or air images of them on the campaign trail.


The veil around the children gives their interview a novelty effect, said Matthew Felling, a contributor to the American Journalism Review.

"But at the same time they are trying to have it both ways by saying ... 'Access Hollywood,' you're going to be friendly to us so we'll let you come out," he said. "What happens when the next organization says, 'You let them do it. Why can't we come to the door, too?"

CNN's Carol Costello contributed to this report.

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