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Obama says he plans to stay in Washington after presidency

Obama says he plans to stay in Washington after presidency
President Obama and daughters Sasha, center, and Malia at a Washington bookstore in 2014. (Dennis Brack / Black Star)

President Obama says he plans to stay in Washington after the end of his presidency so that his younger daughter can finish high school with her class, a rare disclosure about his family's personal plans.

During a visit with voters in Milwaukee on Thursday, Obama said he wasn't sure where he and wife Michelle Obama would settle down for the long term, but added that they were putting off the decision until daughter Sasha finished at Washington's Sidwell Friends School in spring 2019.

"Transferring someone in the middle of high school — tough," Obama told a group of people gathered to have lunch with him at a Milwaukee restaurant.

Then he quickly asked a group of White House reporters to step away while he finished his lunch.

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Obama said in an interview with Barbara Walters three years ago that he and his family might decide to live in Washington after his presidency, at least as long as Sasha remained in school. Sasha, 14, is in ninth grade. Malia Obama, 17, will graduate from Sidwell this spring.

The first lady, protective of her family's privacy, has declined to discuss specific plans. The Obamas have also refused to talk about where they will live after their daughter graduates, spurring speculation that they might not return to her hometown of Chicago, where Obama began his political career.

In an interview with the Chicago Tribune last month, when asked whether he planned to move back to Illinois, Obama said only that he would "certainly be spending time here."

In Milwaukee on Thursday, Obama was relaxing as he met with people who have written him letters to talk about what Obamacare has meant in their lives. They also talked about the weather and life in the Midwest, prompting Obama to remark that he "always feels good being closer to home."

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A woman at the table asked where he would live after he was through being president. Most presidents move back to their home states after they leave office, though some start new lives elsewhere; President George W. Bush went back to Texas, but President Clinton moved to New York instead of Arkansas so his wife could run for the Senate.

"We haven't figured that out yet," he said. "We're going to have to stay a couple of years so Sasha can finish."

He then urged the pool of reporters to move along, saying, "Get out of here." It was unclear whether Obama intended to disclose the family's plans so publicly.

Michelle Obama's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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