Obama teared up as he spoke about his “best friend,” first lady Michelle Obama.
“You took on a role you didn’t ask for and made it your own with grace and grit and style and good humor,” Obama said. “You made the White House a place that belongs to everybody. And a new generation sets its sights higher because it has you as a role model.”
Malia Obama, the president’s older daughter, could be seen crying next to her mother at her father’s remarks. Obama expressed his appreciation for her and her sister Sasha as well, saying they “wore the burden of years in the spotlight so easily.”
“Of all that I’ve done in my life, I’m most proud to be your dad,” he said.
Michelle and Malia joined the president on stage after he finished speaking.
Younger daughter Sasha, who still attends high school in Washington, D.C., could not attend the event. She had to study for a test on Wednesday.