Obama Girls, Though Unheard, Figure Prominently in Race | NYT

"They are no longer the small children who toted little pink bags with Uno cards and markers at campaign events years ago in Illinois and Iowa. Malia, now 14 and nearly as tall as her parents, is a varsity tennis player with a cellphone. Sasha, 11, who seemed to grow overnight this summer, can chat in Mandarin. […]

Aides who know the girls say they are disciplined, thanks to their father but mostly to their mother. (Some staff members even joke that they wish they could send their own children to Mrs. Obama’s boot camp for training.) Here are just a few of the household rules that she has mentioned in interviews and other appearances:

¶ When the girls go on trips, they write reports on what they have seen, even if their school does not require it.

¶ Technology is for weekends. Malia may use her cellphone only then, and she and her sister cannot watch television or use a computer for anything but homework during the week.

¶ Malia and Sasha had to take up two sports: one they chose and one selected by their mother. “I want them to understand what it feels like to do something you don’t like and to improve,” the first lady has said.

¶ Malia must learn to do laundry before she leaves for college.

¶ The girls have to eat their vegetables, and if they say that they are not hungry, they cannot ask for cookies or chips later. “If you’re full, you’re full,” Mrs. Obama said in an interview with Ladies’ Home Journal. “I don’t want to see you in the kitchen after that.” [photo]