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President And First Lady Get H1N1 Shots

Declaring that the H1N1 vaccine is safe, President Obama says he and the First Lady got their swine flu shots on Sunday.

If it wasn't safe, he said he would not have allowed daughters Sasha and Malia, "the two people that are most important in my life," to get the vaccinations for H1N1 several months ago.

"Now there's enough vaccine so that adults should get it as well," the president said in an Oval Office interview today with April Ryan of the American Urban Radio Networks.

In fact, he urged senior citizens to make sure they get vaccinated against both seasonal flu and H1N1. "The seasonal flu is still deadly," he said, "particularly for older Americans."

On the movement of health care legislation, Mr. Obama admitted he was up at 1:00 o'clock this morning when the Senate voted to pre-empt a filibuster on its latest version of the health care bill.

"I was up because I wanted to make sure that I was watching what could end up being a historic moment," he said. "I think people need to understand just how significant this is."

"We've got 30 million people who are going to get health insurance because of this bill," said the president.

The Senate measure does not contain a public option for a government-run health care coverage alternative to private insurance, but Mr. Obama isn't troubled by it.

"As a practical matter, this is not the most important aspect to this bill," he said. Overall, he said, there's just five percent difference between the House and Senate versions.

A final vote on the Senate bill is scheduled for Christmas Eve, but that is far from final passage of health care legislation. Then both measures must be reconciled into a single compromise measure and returned to each chamber for final votes.

In her interview, Ryan asked Mr. Obama about growing dissatisfaction with his performance in the black community.

"Of course there's grumbling," said the first African-American president. "We just went through the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. But if you look at the polling in the African-American community, there's overwhelming support for what we've tried to do."

Mr. Obama soon takes his family for its annual Christmas holiday in Hawaii, and Ryan asked him about his penchant for body surfing.

"The Secret Service these days does not like me doing it." He said his bodyguards put a bunch of people out on jet skis. He said they surround him with all kinds of stuff and it's a little distracting for the other swimmers. Nevertheless, he said body surfing is "a wonderful thing to do."

"I don't know if I'll get out there this year, but I tell you what, I will definitely be enjoying some sun," he said.

Update Dec. 22, at 9:30 a.m. ET: The White House has released a picture of Mr. Obama receiving the shot, which you can see below:


Mark Knoller is a CBS News White House correspondent. You can read more of his posts in Hotsheet here. You can also follow him on Twitter here:
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