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article imageU.S. lawmaker's aide to quit over Obama daughters rant

By AFP     Dec 1, 2014 in World

A communications director for a Republican lawmaker said she would resign after she posted a Facebook rant about US President Barack Obama's daughters.

Elizabeth Lauten, spokeswoman for Congressman Stephen Fincher of Tennessee, wrote a post slamming Malia and Sasha, aged 16 and 13, for looking bored at a public event with their father.

Lauten confirmed to US media outlets including NBC and Fox News that she would quit. Her resignation follows a weekend of virulent criticism about her diatribe targeting the Obama girls.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest on Monday said he had been "taken aback" by Lauten's remarks, though he acknowledged her apology as "an appropriate thing for her to do."

"I was taken aback that ... a political operative on Capitol Hill (used) the occasion of ... a Thanksgiving-themed event to criticize members of the first family," he said.

The incident is a reminder, Earnest said, that public figures, including spokespersons, need to choose "words very carefully" and "try to be mindful of how those words and messages will be received."

The teens had stood beside Obama -- looking somewhat bored -- as he issued the annual Thanksgiving turkey "pardon," saving two birds from the dinner table.

The underwhelmed expressions of the teenaged sisters sparked mainly amused comment, but Lauten's remarks were notably more caustic.

"Then again, your mother and father don't respect their positions very much, or the nation for that matter," Lauten wrote in her post.

"So I'm guessing you're coming up a little short in the 'good role model' department."

"Nevertheless, stretch yourself. Rise to the occasion. Act like being in the White House matters to you.

"Dress like you deserve respect, not a spot at a bar," she added, apparently referring to the girls' short skirts.

Lauten subsequently apologized on Facebook.

"I quickly judged the two young ladies in a way that I would never have wanted to be judged myself as a teenager," she said.

US media report relatively little about the private lives of the Obama girls, and personal attacks against a president's children are considered taboo.

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