Malia Obama Goes College Hunting, But Barack Stays Behind

Malia Obama is starting to go college hunting, but as she tours some of the nation’s top colleges there is one person noticeably absent — her father, President Barack Obama.

The president has stayed behind while his 16-year-old daughter tours places like Stanford University. Instead First Lady Michelle Obama has brought Malia along on trips to New York University, Barnard College, and her dad’s alma mater, Columbia University. She reportedly wants to be a filmmaker.

The Associated Press speculates that President Obama doesn’t want to attract attention, which could distract Malia during her visit.

That was certainly the case last summer when Malia Obama learned how to drive. The Secret Service made sure to keep President Obama far from the scene, letting someone else teach Malia the rules of the road.

“I think our [Secret Service] agents don’t want us driving with teenagers… Especially the president’s detail,” Michelle Obama told USA Today last year. “I don’t think they want him in the state when she’s learning how to drive. We will fortunately be able to hand that responsibility over to someone else.”

But just because he’s hanging back doesn’t mean Obama won’t be weighing in on Malia’s decision. After addressing a cybersecurity summit at Stanford, Barack Obama said he fell in love with the campus.

“I’ve got to admit, like, I kind of want to go here,” Obama said of Stanford. “I was trying to figure out why it is that a really nice place like this is wasted on young people who don’t fully appreciate what you got. It’s really nice. And everybody here is so friendly and smart, and it’s beautiful. And what’s there not to like?”

There could be quite a few others pushing Malia to attend Stanford. President Obama’s administration is filled with Stanford grads, including National Security Adviser Susan Rice, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and senior adviser Valerie Jarret.

Malia also has help from her mom, who quipped in a speech last year that kids today are preparing for college “long before they even start high school.”

“Honestly, when Barack and I talk about this, we look at the college counseling many of the kids are getting today and we wonder how we ever managed to get ourselves into college,” she said.

But Malia Obama still has some time to make her college decision. She is still a high school junior, and will have several months before she has to start filling out applications.