Michelle Obama Hosts Children on "Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work day"

First lady Michelle Obama and the family dog Bo pause during an event to welcome children of Executive Office employees at the White House's annual take our daughters and sons to work day on Thursday, April 22, 2010 in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Evan Vucci

Michelle Obama vowed today to do her best to make sure every child gets a little recess time.

"There are some kids and some schools and some places that don't have recess," the first lady told an inquisitive crowd of children in the White House's East Room. "Our belief is that it helps kids learn."

Mrs. Obama was speaking to a group of nearly 200 children of executive office employees who had come to the White House for the annual "Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day."

During the question and answer session -- which was occasionally interrupted by barks from the Obama family dog Bo -- the first lady was asked about what she grew in the White House garden, her initiatives on childhood obesity and her favorite thing about living in the White House.

"When you were a kid, did you ever, like, dream of becoming the first lady?" asked one curious kid.

"You know, no, I didn't. When I was a little kid, I probably had dreams like most little kids," responded Mrs. Obama. "I mean, the notion of being first lady of the United States -- there had never been anybody of my race who had been here."

The children also seemed very interested in the perks of living in the White House. When asked how often she used her movie theater, the First Lady cautiously replied, "almost every weekend, but not always every weekend...I don't want anyone from the press to get any ideas on this."

The talk also highlighted some generational disparities between the first lady and her audience.

After being asked what her favorite music was, Mrs. Obama's first response was Stevie Wonder, which prompted laugher.

"Michael Jackson?" asked one of the children.

"I've got some Michael Jackson," said the first lady. "But I've got some Rihanna, I've got some Beyonce -- I love Beyonce."

Michelle Obama wasn't the only boldfaced Democrat to face questioning today. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi held a press conference where she invited members of the Capital Hill press corps and staff to bring along their children. She spent the second half of the conference answering the children's questions.

"Why are there so many problems with the government?" one child asked innocently. Many in the room burst out laughing.

"I guess this is not an appropriate time to talk about the previous administration, then," Pelosi replied. "We have a lot of people who have lost their jobs. We have issues that relate to the education of our children, the pollution of our air, the amount of money that we are going into debt."

Another child asked her what some of the biggest challenges were being a woman in Congress today.

"As Speaker, I don't find too many challenges," Pelosi said, referring to the increase in female lawmakers over her 23 years in office. "We have women who are chairmen of committees. We have a woman who is the Speaker of the House. We have women in leadership. So it is a lot different now."