This story really made me nervous. You don't want dolls of your kids? OK. That's legit. But what is it about Malia and Sasha Obama that is off limits. J. Crew shamelessly plugs their clothes, and that seems OK. There is a TON of first family paraphernalia including Malia and Sasha paper dolls and coloring books, and President Obama wrote an open letter to his daughters. Open, as in published in Parade Magazine.

Let's compare an excerpt from his letter to the ad that the White House objects to:

In the end, girls, that's why I ran for President: because of what I want for you and for every child in this nation.

I want all our children to go to schools worthy of their potential—schools that challenge them, inspire them, and instill in them a sense of wonder about the world around them. I want them to have the chance to go to college—even if their parents aren't rich. And I want them to get good jobs: jobs that pay well and give them benefits like health care, jobs that let them spend time with their own kids and retire with dignity.

That's the letter. And here's the ad:

With all due respect Mr. President, when you ran for president your kids became public figures. Yes. There is a history of the media leaving first kids alone, yes, there is a history of the White House using the kids when it's prescient (see: Malia and Sasha at assorted White House events, Chelsea Clinton holding her parents' hands at Martha's Vineyard, the Checkers Speech), and yes there are different media ethics for kids and for adults.

I am not sure how I feel about letting the girl in the ad be a literal poster child, but I sure know that whoever is in the White House making an A1 fuss about this ad is making the White House look like a bully, even though the expert in the article is right that it's seriously unlikely the Obamas want to censor anything.

And the ad? It's political speech. The most protected form of speech there is. I really do see where the White House is coming from, it's a slippery slope: having your kids appropriated for political purposes . I understand that. I really do. I'd even understand a zero tolerance for political ads with the first daughters. I'd understand it from Daddy and Mommy Obama. But from the President and the First Lady? Well, I've said it before: the only thing I stand for publicly is the First Amendment. In all its glory.

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