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Obama Tells Daughters: I Did It for the Children

Thursday, 15 Jan 2009 03:34 PM

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WASHINGTON – In an open letter to his young daughters, US president-elect Barack Obama said Thursday that he entered the race for the White House "because of what I want for you and for every child in this nation."

"When I was a young man, I thought life was all about me -- about how I'd make my way in the world, become successful, and get the things I want. But then the two of you came into my world," Obama said in the letter published in Parade magazine, a weekend newspaper color supplement.

"I realized that my own life wouldn't count for much unless I was able to ensure that you had every opportunity for happiness and fulfilment in yours. In the end, girls, that's why I ran for President: because of what I want for you and for every child in this nation," wrote the soon-to-be Dad-in-chief.

Obama's wish-list for children includes challenging and inspirational schools; equal opportunity to go to university, regardless of their family's financial standing; and well-paid jobs with benefits such as health care and a pension plan that will allow them to "retire with dignity."

The 47-year-old father of Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, said he wants to "push the boundaries" of discovery to encourage the development of new technology and inventions that improve lives and protect the environment.

And he spoke of his vision of a United States that has reached "beyond the divides of race and region, gender and religion that keep us from seeing the best in each other."

He would strive to send young Americans to war "only for a very good reason", trying first to settle differences with other nations peacefully.

"These are the things I want for you -- to grow up in a world with no limits on your dreams and no achievements beyond your reach, and to grow into compassionate, committed women who will help build that world," wrote Obama.

"And I want every child to have the same chances to learn and dream and grow and thrive that you girls have. That's why I've taken our family on this great adventure," wrote Obama, who on Tuesday will move into the White House with his two daughters and wife, Michelle.

Copyright © 2009 Agence France Presse. All rights reserved.

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