The Obama family's holiday card.

The Obama family's holiday card.

The Obama family's holiday card.

Who's winning, who's losing, and why.
Dec. 21 2009 7:14 AM

Barack Obama's Holiday Card

The first family reflects on its year in the White House.

The Obama Family
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Friends and Family,

Happy Holidays! This time last year, the Obama family was getting ready for the big move. Now we're here! And what a year it has been. As you know, Barack has had a lot on his plate. But what are the holidays if not a chance to shove all that stuff aside and think about what's really important? So forget all the politics—here's an update on what's been happening with us.

First, the year's big news: We got a dog! That's right, Bo Obama joined the family in April, and he's still all anyone talks about. The kids love him, but—listen to this—Bo turns out to be pretty selfish. Always barking for attention (especially when there are cameras around). Always wondering what's in it for him (belly rubs from Barack, usually). He'll lick your face one minute and then go pee on the rug when you're not looking. This makes the kids sad because they thought dogs were supposed to be loyal and care about other people. We tell them Bo will come around, he just needs to learn that some things are more important than getting re-elected senator in Connecticut. Also, he humped John McCain's leg.

As for Michelle and Barack, we're doing great! Just great. We don't always agree on things, but unlike some people, we always reach a compromise. Like last week, we had a special date night planned in the White House screening room. Michelle wanted to see Sicko. Without thinking, Barack said "no!" Michelle explained to him that you can't just say "no." (That had been his response to Wall Street, Detroit Rock City, and An Inconvenient Truth, too.) If you want to be taken seriously, you have to offer an alternative. So Barack suggested The Road. Michelle vetoed that—too depressing. But since Barack likes action and Michelle likes John Cusack, we decided on 2012. And it was really good! Who'd have thought good-faith negotiation was so easy and so productive and so satisfying, Mitch McConnell?

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Malia, meanwhile, was just voted valedictorian of her high school graduating class! We are so proud of her! There was some controversy about the achievement, since Malia is in the sixth grade. But the students and faculty at her school felt it wasn't an award she earned so much as an aspirational symbol of what might be possible once she really starts doing stuff. Malia, while slightly embarrassed, nonetheless accepted the honor and gave a rousing speech defending her history of flunking World Civ and getting in fights with classmates, especially the Afghan one.

In related news, Sasha has become quite the soccer star—she made team captain! Barack goes to every game, and as he tells Sasha, it's important to know everything you possibly can before the game starts: the opposing team's win-loss record, its weaknesses, its strengths, the pitch and terrain of the playing field, the weather forecast, the prejudices of the referee and of course the rules of the game. (How do you define victory, anyway?) Figuring all this stuff out sometimes takes longer than expected. And sometimes you get hamstrung by a head coach who you respect but can't quite trust. It's worth it in the end, though, because you go in knowing you made the right decision to send more troops.

I know what you're thinking: What about health care? What about Afghanistan? Why hasn't this letter mentioned those things? We figured it was better to use this once-a-year opportunity to focus on the real stuff: family. And loyalty. And cooperation. And passing climate-change legislation and regulatory reform before we lose the House in 2010 and are left sitting on our hands like a bunch of chumps.

With love and prayers,
Barack, Michelle, Malia and Sasha

P.S. This being the most transparent administration of all time, go to Whitehouse.gov to see all the earlier versions of this letter. Or check out Flickr for photos of Michelle and Barack hard at work on this holiday message. For a full tick-tock of the letter's drafting, see tomorrow's Washington Post. And the New York Times. And the Los Angeles Times. In keeping with our commitment to green jobs, this card was printed on granola.

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