Obama Says Being President Has Made Him A Better Father

"I don't have trouble switching off when it comes to Malia and Sasha."

Barack Obama said he believes that despite the hectic schedule of being president, being in the White House has helped him become a better father to his two daughters.

“My ability to function as a present father -- a guy who's there and engaged, was maybe stronger once I got to the White House than before," Obama told NBC "Today" host Matt Lauer in an interview Tuesday morning before his final State of the Union address.

"When I was a senator, I was commuting -- the girls were still back in Chicago," he added. "When I was campaigning for president, I was gone all the time. And I don't have trouble switching off when it comes to Malia and Sasha. That actually is a time where I can kinda block everything else out."

Obama has written before on the presidency making him a better father. Last June, the Obama wrote in MORE magazine that when they moved to the White House, it was "really the first time since the girls were born that we've been able to gather as a family almost every night."

"Michelle and I can go to parent-teacher conferences together," he wrote. "I've been able to make Malia's tennis matches and Sasha's dance recitals. Sasha let me help coach her basketball team -- the Vipers. They won the title. I've even experienced what all dads dread: watching my daughter go to her first prom. In high heels."

Male politicians are increasingly speaking out about balancing their professional life with the responsibilities of raising a family -- a consideration that female politicians were more likely have to deal with in the past. Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) insisted, for example, that he be allowed to keep his "family time" when he agreed to run for the top job in the House.

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