Obama no-tattoo strategy involves a lot of family bonding

Published: Friday, April 26 2013 2:04 p.m. MDT

President Barack Obama walks to St. John's Episcopal Church from the White House with his daughters Sasha, left, and Malia, in Washington, on Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012.

Jacquelyn Martin, Associated Press

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What's a parent to do when the kids announce they're hankering to get tattoos?

President Barack Obama thinks he may have it figured out. This week, he told "Today" reporter Savannah Guthrie that his plan involves some family tattoo togetherness.

"Michelle and I have used a strategy when it comes to things like tattoos — what we've said to the girls is, 'If you guys ever decide you're going to get a tattoo, then Mommy and me will get the same exact tattoo in the same place,'" he said. "And we'll go on YouTube and show it off as a family tattoo. And our thinking is that it might dissuade them from thinking that somehow that's a good way to rebel."

The remark got a lot of laughs and some discussion by various media organizations. The Christian Science Monitor's Peter Grier called it "interesting, in the sense that it's a fairly coherent and intellectualized way to approach this common parental problem." Not totally bowled over, though, he also pointed out that the girls are too young to get tattoos without parental consent. Malia is 14 and Sasha is 11. Most places — and certainly the nation's capital — require someone to be 18.

"But the real reason the preemption strategy probably appeals to the Obamas right now is that their daughters still listen to them," Grier wrote. "...They haven't entered that period where common sense gets suspended and they focus mostly on their own needs and wants, because that's what teenagers do."

Slate got perhaps the biggest laugh, with a doctored family portrait that showed one possible result.

EMAIL: lois@desnews.com, Twitter: Loisco

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