Obamas are empty-nesters, with daughters at camp


By Katherine Skiba Tribune reporter

1:48 p.m. CDT, August 2, 2012


WASHINGTON — Barack and Michelle Obama are empty-nesters — temporarily.

The president, visiting a nut and candy shop while campaigning in Mansfield, Ohio, on Wednesday, said that daughters Malia and Sasha “left me for the summer. They’re off at camp,” according to a press pool report.

“And I don’t want them to forget me, so I was thinking about putting a little care package together,” he told a 19-year-old cashier at Squirrel’s Den, the report said.

Last summer Sasha, 11, stayed home, while Malia, 14, traveled for the first time to an overnight camp.

President Obama earlier divulged the girls’ summer plans when he and the first lady were interviewed last month by Charlie Rose.

“You know, the girls are now of an age where they start having their own stuff,” the president said. “So they’ve got a  sleep-away camp for a month. Both of them are leaving. We’re going to be experiencing the first stages of empty-nest syndrome.”

“Are you prepared for that?” Rose asked.

“Well, I get a little depressed,” the president answered.

LaDonna Secrist, 69, owner of the shop that Obama visited Wednesday, told the Tribune that the president bought his daughters six $1 bags of Jelly Belly jelly beans, and first lady Michelle Obama a $22 gift box with chocolates, cinnamon-frosted nuts and deluxe mixed nuts.

Next he asked Secrist to name the shop’s top seller. The answer: “squirrel paws,” a concoction featuring pecans, caramel and chocolate. He bought four (priced by weight, they were $2.87 total).

The bill came to $30.87 and the president remarked, “I actually have cash,” paid with two twenties and left 3 pennies from his $9.13 in change in the squirrel-shaped penny dish, Secrist said.

A registered Democrat, Secrist is silent about whether Obama will get her vote in November.

“That’s a private thing,” she said. “That’s why we have booths.”

But she is holding onto the two twenties. “I think I’ll just put them in a picture frame for a while, for people to see. It’s just a novelty.”


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