Barack Obama was sworn as America’s 44th president on January 20. He is this country’s very first African-American president and the first president to have been born in Hawaii. His inauguration was historic for other reasons too. The president’s daughters Malia and Sasha, ages 10 and 7, are the youngest children to live in the White House since President John F. Kennedy’s children over 40 years ago.
Our KidsView offices are located less than 20 miles from the White House and though we were not able to go downtown and witness the events, we watched it on our TVs and the Internet like many of you may have.
Third grade students in Mrs. Hyde’s class at Atholton Adventist Academy in Columbia, Maryland, watched the inauguration in their classroom and got a chance to see the president’s young daughters take part in the ceremony. We wanted to find out what they thought about the inauguration, being a kid in the White House, and all those Secret Service agents!
What did you like best about witnessing this historic inauguration?
“I like that they had all the living presidents of the United States like George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush there to inspire Barack Obama. I also like that President Obama’s kids Malia and Sasha and his wife encouraged him to be president and that he put his hand on the Bible to have God help him run the country.”
“I enjoyed the very beautiful music and liked seeing Barack Obama’s family—Michelle, Malia, and Sasha. I learned that no matter how small you are, you can still help people. I’m very happy that we have our first African-American president. Maybe some day we will have our first woman president. I was hoping Barack Obama would get elected and he did!”
“The inauguration was O.K., but since I was going for Senator John McCain it wasn’t the same. I was more excited than I thought I would be, though. I am happy for Sasha and Malia because they must be really excited. They even get a puppy! I learned that it is important to work together and not to have a bad attitude when things don’t go your way.”

President Obama and his wife Michelle promised Malia and Sasha a new puppy in the White House. If you were living there, what kind of pet or pets would you like to have? What might you name them?
“I’d like to have one guinea pig, six snakes, and two cats. I’d name the guinea pig Marshmallow, and the snakes would be called Chip, Sunny, Daisy, Snowy, Melody, and Lala. The cat’s names would be Shadow and Cream.
Malia and Sasha Obama spent their first night in the White House after their dad’s inauguration. If you were moving to the White House, what would be the first thing you would do on your first night there?
"I would get every video game in the world. I’d also like Xbox, Xbox360, Play Station 2 and 3, Wii, PSP, and a Nintendo DS. I would also get 30 cats. I think I’d also get a 500 foot TV with ultra surround sound and I’d get lots of cars too. (Want to know what Josiah would name his cats? Click here to find out.)

"I would have a welcome party. I would ask my dad if my family and friends would come. If my family couldn’t come, I would just play games.”
“I would have a slumber party with popcorn and pizza and drinks. I would invite friends and we would see Alicia Keys sing! We would stay up all night and have a pillow fight and we’d watch a movie.”

"I would want every video game system and all the games in the world. I would want every phone in the world. I would want every iPod and mp3 player in the world along with a new basketball hoop. I would meet pop stars and have a 500 inch TV. I'd also have 100 bowls of candy.
The Obama girls have to have secret service agents to protect them at all times. Even at school! What do you think it would be like to have those agents with you all the time, every day, rain or shine?
“I would not get privacy. I would not be able to do my homework because they would follow me wherever I go.”

“I might be a little scared, but I would feel safe and secure after a while. I like to be safe. I’d be so happy!”

"If I lived in the White House and had Secret Service agents, I would ask them to design my room very, very pretty, with pink and flowers and a king-size bed and a bit TV with surround sound. I would also like a puppy.

I would have my Secret Service agents around and I would need to see if they were there to hurt the president or be kind to him.
What do you think is the best thing about living in the White House? What do you think might be the worst thing about living in the White House?
“The White House has lots of rooms and I could play at any time. The worst thing might be being there at night. It is so dark and scary!”
“There are lots of fun things to do in the White House and good things to eat! The worst thing about living in the White House might be having the secret service people around who might hear some things that are personal.”