Obamas want daughters to get taste of life on minimum wage

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Obamas want daughters to get taste of life on minimum wage
President Barack Obama, with daughters Sasha, center, and Malia, pays for his purchase at the local bookstore Politics and Prose in northwest Washington, Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
U.S. first lady Michelle Obama with her mother Marian Robinson, daughters Sasha Obama, right, and Malia Obama, back right, arrives at Beijing Capital International Airport on Thursday, March 20, 2014, in Beijing, China. (AP Photo/Photo by Feng Li, Pool)
U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama, front left, her daughters Sasha, front right, Malia, right in the back, and Michelle Obama's mother Marian Robinson, left in the back, arrive at Capital International Airport in Beijing, China, Thursday, March 20, 2014. Michelle Obama has arrived in Beijing with her mother and daughters to kick off a seven-day, three-city tour where she will focus on education and cultural exchange. (AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan, Pool)
President Barack Obama stands, left, as his daughters Malia and Sasha board Air Force One at Honolulu Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, in Honolulu, Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014, as they travel back to Washington after their annual family vacation. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
First lady Michelle Obama, right, standing with daughters Malia Obama, center, and Sasha, second from right, receive the official White House Christmas Tree from Leslie and John Wyckoff, left, at the White House in Washington, Friday, Nov. 29, 2013. The tree was grown by Christopher Botek, a second-generation Christmas tree farmer from Crystal Spring Tree Farm in Lehighton, Pa. Four other trees, all from Wyckoff's Christmas Tree Farm in Belvidere, N.J., will be placed throughout the White House. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
President Barack Obama, with daughters Sasha, left, and Malia, makes a joke during remarks at the Thanksgiving tradition of saving a turkey from the dinner table with a "presidential pardon," at the White House on Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2013 in Washington. After the pardoning, the turkey travels to George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens where they will be on display for visitors during "Christmas at Mount Vernon." (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
President Barack Obama, second from left, and his daughters Malia, left, Sasha, third from left, and mother-in-law Marian Robinson, second from right, watch a basketball game between his brother-in-law Oregon State Beavers Coach Craig Robinson’s team play against the Maryland Terrapins, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013, at the Comcast Center in College Park, Md. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
The first family, President Barack Obama, right, first lady Michelle Obama, left, and their daughters Malia, second from right, and Sasha, walk back to the White House from Saint John's Church in Washington, after attending a church service Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, with daughters Sasha and Malia, leave the White House in Washington to board Marine One helicopter, Wednesday, June 26, 2013, as they begin their trip to Senegal, Tanzania, and South Africa. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
US first lady Michelle Obama right, shows her daughter Sasha a crack for placing a rose at the Berlin Wall memorial as the other daughter Malia, left, stands in the back ground, in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2013. US President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama are on a two-day official visit to Germany. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
The daughters of US President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, Sasha, left, and Malia, walk to their car after they disembarked from Air Force One at the Tegel airport in Berlin Tuesday, June 18, 2013. Obama arrived for a two-day official visit to Germany. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama watch with their daughters Sasha, left and Malia, second left, during the Inaugural parade in the reviewing stand in front of the White House on Pennsylvania Ave., in Washington, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013. Thousands marched during the 57th presidential inauguration parade after the ceremonial swearing-in of Obama. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Malia Obama, right, and Sasha Obama look on from the presidential box during the Inaugural parade, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, in Washington. Thousands marched during the 57th Presidential Inauguration parade after the ceremonial swearing-in of President Barack Obama. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
First lady Michelle Obama, center, and daughters Sasha, left, and Malia, right, react during the Kids' Inaugural: Our Children. Our Future." event in Washington, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013, as part of the 57th Inauguration weekend of events. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
President Barack Obama walks with daughters Sasha and Malia as they return to the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 21,2 012, after he pardoned Cobbler a 19-week old, 40-pound turkey, on the occasion of Thanksgiving, in the Rose Garden. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and their daughters Sasha, front left, and Malia, walk from Marine One to board Air Force One at Chicago O'Hare International Airport, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago, the day after the presidential election. Obama defeated Republican challenger former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

(Reuters) - President Barack Obama and wife Michelle both worked minimum-wage jobs before they got law degrees: a character-building experience they said they also want their teenage daughters to share.

The president scooped ice cream at Baskin-Robbins, waited tables at an assisted-living facility for seniors and also worked as a painter. The first lady worked at a book binding shop.

"I think every kid needs to get a taste of what it's like to do that real hard work," Michelle Obama said in an interview with Parade magazine, slated to run on Sunday.

"We are looking for opportunities for them to feel as if going to work and getting a paycheck is not always fun, not always stimulating, not always fair," the president said. "But that's what most folks go through every single day."

The first couple has taken pains to keep their daughters Malia, 16, and Sasha, 13, out of the public eye while in the White House. But Malia was recently spotted on the set of a CBS television program, working as a production assistant for a day.

The Obamas gave the interview to promote a summit the White House is holding on Monday to discuss policies to help working families.

"There are structures that can help families around child care, healthcare, and schooling that make an enormous difference in people's lives," Obama said in the interview.

This year, Obama has tried to focus on issues such as ensuring equal pay for women, expanding early childhood education and hiking the minimum wage. These issues so far have failed to gain traction in Congress, but do resonate with Democratic voters.

To advance his agenda, he needs Democrats to keep control of the Senate after November midterm elections, where Republicans stand a good chance of getting a majority, and likely also will retain control of the House of Representatives.

"If we can highlight these issues and sustain it over the next year, it's still possible to see bold action out of Congress," Obama said.

In the interview, the Obamas talked about how they lived for a year on the second floor of the house of Michelle's mom Marian Robinson after law school, drove a used car that they bought for $1,000, and worked through the stress of being saddled with student loans and small children.

They acknowledged that their careers gave them the chance to earn good incomes and negotiate family leave when they needed it - a luxury that most minimum-wage workers do not have.

"But what it made me think about was people who were on the clock," the president said. "If you're an hourly worker in most companies, and you say, 'I've got to take three days off,' you may lose your job. At minimum, you're losing income you can't afford to lose," he said.

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