WASHINGTON, June 13 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama Wednesday ventured out of the White House to have lunch at a rib joint with four dads as his guests.
The president, jacketless with a blue dress shirt, took two active-duty members of the military and two local barbers to Kenny's BBQ Smokehouse, where he shook hands with some of the customers at their outdoor tables before going inside, where he was served a platter of steaming beef ribs, greens that looked like collards, black-eyed peas and rice, a corn muffin and a bottle of water.
Obama's pre-Father's Day guests included Army 1st Lt. William Edwards of Fort Jackson in South Carolina, a father of four who was selected the 2012 Military Fatherhood Award Winner by the administration's National Fatherhood Initiative; and Army Capt. Joubert Paulino, a father of two from Fort Meade in Maryland.
Joining them were barbers Nurney Mason, a great-grandfather who has operated Mason's Barber Shop on H Street Northeast in Washington for 51 years; and Otis "Big O" Gamble, a father of three who has worked alongside Mason for 45 years.
Their conversation included the administration's efforts to encourage responsible fathers through community barbershops.
"We want to work with them," Obama said. "We want to work with barbershops to figure out how we can get better information to fathers about resources that are available to them so they can find job training programs; they can find support groups for fathers. Because the more information we're getting out there to folks about how they could take responsibility for their kids, make sure that they're in their child's lives, help support their mother even if they're not living with the mother, makes a huge difference."
At another point, Obama noted children with fathers in their lives are "less likely to do drugs" and "girls are less likely to get pregnant."
"And so that message is something that we want to make sure gets out there. And barbershops are a good place to do it, so that's where everybody hangs out -- right?" he said.