Obama: Being a dad is privilege, blessing

Image: BEST PIX:  Obama Makes Father's Day Speech
President Barack Obama speaks during a Father's Day event June 21 at the THEARC Theater in Washington, D.C. Pool / Getty Images
/ Source: The Associated Press

Striking a deeply personal tone, President Barack Obama urged fathers to play an active role in their children's lives, and lamented the time he had to spend away from his own daughters as he built his political career.

Speaking at a Father's Day event in Washington, Obama said, "I know I've missed out on moments in my daughters' lives that I'll never get back, and that's a loss that's hard to accept."

The president outlined a series of plans to fund local projects that help train men for jobs, prevent domestic violence and take other steps to encourage healthy and loving families. He also announced a Justice Department program that would use the court system to help find jobs for men just leaving prison so they could meet their child support obligations and reconnect with their children as soon as possible.

Obama said that while fatherhood is a blessing and a privilege, it's also a challenge.

"Our children don't need us to be super heroes. They don't need us to be perfect," Obama said. "They need us to be present. They need us to show up and give it our best shot, no matter what else is going on in our lives."

Obama was to host a Father's Day barbecue at the White House later in the day.