President Barack Obama revealed his favorite presidential perks during a speech at the White House on Monday, while also making a push for government programs that would give new parents time off after the birth of their child.
Obama’s speech may have highlighted the things he has enjoyed the most while being president, but the real message behind the speech was far greater than great flights and stunning views.
“People ask me what do I love most about being president,” he told the audience. “And it’s true, Air Force One is on the list.”
The crowd immediately began smiling and laughing as the president continued on.
“The Truman Balcony has a really nice view,” he added. “But one of the best perks about being president is anybody will hand you their baby.”
The laughter in the crowd grew. The president then seized the moment to advocate for government programs that would offer paid time off for new parents.
“So I get this baby fix, like, two or three times a week,” the president joked before continuing on. “But the reason it’s so powerful is because I remember taking the night shift when Malia was born and when Sasha was born, and being up at 2 in the morning and changing diapers and burping them and singing to them and reading them stories.”
Never missing a chance to get the crowd’s laughter going again, he added that he would also have his girls “watching SportsCenter once in a while.”
He then brought the conversation back to matters of policy and how some parents don’t get the opportunity to cherish those moments with their children.
“But the point is, I was lucky enough to be able to take some time off so that I was there for the 2 a.m. feeding and the soothing and just getting to know them and making sure that they knew me,” Obama said. “But that requires a society that makes it easier for us to give folks that opportunity.”
Throughout the speech, he also noted that many Western nations already offer such programs and that “if France can figure this out, we can figure this out.”
According to The Huffington Post, the U.S. is currently the only industrialized nation that does not mandate paid leave for mothers of newborn babies.
Australia passed a parental leave law in 2010, which left the U.S., Lesotho, Swaziland and Papua New Guinea as the only countries with no mandated paid leave for new mothers, according to The Huffington Post.