CHICAGO – President-elect Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, said their young daughters will still have to do chores in the White House, including picking up after their new puppy.
Sasha, 7, and Malia, 10, will have to "scoop the poop," the president-elect said in an interview with Barbara Walters broadcast Wednesday. "We've been talking to them about that. We don't want litter on the White House lawns. They're going to have to do their job."
The Obamas long ago promised that the girls could get a dog after the election, but the family has not yet chosen what kind. Walters suggested one like her Havanese named Cha Cha.
The president-elect grimaced and said it sounded like a "little yappy dog," the type that seems a little "girly."
"We're girls, we have a house full of girls," his wife shot back.
He pledged the family would "have a big, rambunctious dog of some sort."
Either way, walking the dog and cleaning up its messes will be the girls' responsibility. The Obamas said the children will also help out around the house.
"That was the first thing I said to some of the staff when I did my visit," Michelle Obama said. "I said, 'You know, we're going to have to set up some boundaries,' because they're going to need to be able to make their beds, and clean up."
The girls, who will be attending the prestigious Sidwell Friends School, also will be expected to do their homework as usual. Although, the president-elect said, Malia has her eye on a special spot to write important papers.
When she came back from her White House visit recently, she told her dad that she plans to work at the desk in the Lincoln bedroom.
Obama, who is known to be an avid reader of Lincoln history, said his daughter told him "I'm going to sit at that desk, because I'm thinking that will inspire big thoughts."
During the interview, Obama described the desk as being the spot where Lincoln signed the Gettysburg Address. While there is a copy of the address on display in that room, it actually was the Emancipation Proclamation freeing the slaves that Lincoln signed there.
Obama will be sworn in on Jan. 20, and he said he wants to work quickly to make the White House "green."
The president-elect said he plans to sit down with the chief usher for the presidential mansion and do an evaluation of its energy efficiency.
"Part of what I want to do is to show the American people that it's not that hard," Obama said.
Asked whether he'll be tiptoeing around at night, turning off the lights, Obama said he isn't going to be obsessive about it.
"But I do that in my current house," he added, "and there's no reason why I wouldn't do it in my next one."