Obama Had a Whole Emotional Journey While Putting Together Malia’s Dorm Room Desk Lamp

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Barack Obama. Photo: Netflix

While the discussion between Barack Obama and David Letterman is occasionally political on the first episode of Letterman’s new Netflix show, My First Guest Needs No Introduction, the tone throughout the hour is more often lighthearted. Both Obama and Letterman described their recent, post-job vacations and shared a few anecdotes about parenting. In the best one, Obama describes his experience of dropping Malia off for college for the first time with Michelle, who got out cleaning gloves and started scrubbing the bathroom, and Sasha, who quietly helped her sister arrange her bed and fold clothes. With nothing else to do, Malia suggested that Obama put together a desk lamp. “I grab it, and it should have taken like five minutes or three minutes,” he says. “It only had four parts or something. And I’m sitting there and I’m just toiling away at this thing and it’s taken half an hour. Meanwhile, Michelle’s finished scrubbing and she’s organizing closets and all this, and I was just pretty pathetic.”

After finishing up with the dorm room, and finally building the lamp, Obama drove home with the Secret Service. “I held it together in front of Malia,” he says, “and when we drove away … Secret Service is in the front. They’re pretending they can’t hear me in the back, sniveling.” Ex-presidential parents: They’re as dorky as all the other ones.

Obama Talks Sending Malia to College on Letterman Show