Carter's rival, Republican Ronald Reagan, mocked the answer at a later campaign rally, saying: "I remember when Patty and Ron were little kids, we used to talk about nuclear power."
Obama's on safer footing when he jokes about his daughters to puncture the formality of an event and put people at ease.
When the president visited a Master Lock factory in Milwaukee last month to discuss American manufacturing, he got a laugh from the workers when he told them: "As I was looking at some of the really industrial-size locks, I was thinking about the fact that I am a father of two girls who are soon going to be in high school and that it might come in handy to have these super locks. For now, I'm just counting on the fact that when they go to school there are men with guns with them."
In a similar vein, he told a National Prayer Breakfast last year that he has prayed, "Lord, give me patience as I watch Malia go to her first dance, where there will be boys. Lord, let her skirt get longer as she travels to that place."
The crowd loved it.
But you can imagine Malia groaning, and saying "Oh, Dad."
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