By this point in the campaign, it’s likely that the candidates could recite in their sleep how they will put more people to work, reinforce our borders and find sustainable energy sources.
But kids ask more direct, often far harder questions, and Linda Ellerbee of Nick News, shared with Zap2it some of what will be coming up in the Monday, Oct, 15 special, “Kids Pick the Presidents: The Candidates.
A girl, who walked into a wall at school, asks the candidates about their most embarrassing moments.
“I run into doors and desks all the time,” President Barack Obama says on the show. He also recounted how at a “big awards ceremony” after he gave a speech, he took First Lady Michelle Obama‘s hand “and walked out of the room.” He immediately found out he was supposed to stay on the stage and had to turn around and march back on, in front of everyone.
“I had to walk back into room and stand there, and Michelle thought I was an idiot,” the president says on the special airing Oct.15.
Ellerbee’s special made news earlier this week when GOP candidate Governor Mitt Romney said he would not have the time for this show. Since 1992, candidates have answered kids questions on the special.
Ellerbee and staff cull thousands of questions from kids around the country. Questions are winnowed to a dozen, and both candidates are given the questions ahead of time so they can reflect on the answers. The interview takes half an hour, and Ellerbee began negotiating for the time in April, when Romney’s campaign was agreeing to the interview.
Romney’s camp did confirm to Zap2it that there was no room in his schedule.
“These days candidates are so packaged,” Ellerbee says. “You ask about jobs, you get the canned response. You ask some of these questions and you get to see through into the person. And they are always the most interesting responses. And we could not ask Romney any of those, which is unfortunate because I am sure he would have had interesting responses.”
One of the kids, 15, asked the president if he had ever been heartbroken. Ellerbee reads the president’s response: “I promise you that happens to all of us. It happened to me. I guess you learn life goes on at a very young age. Every relationship seems like it will be the last one and I promise you it won’t be.”
Another child asks if the president ever has a hard deciding between right and wrong.
“The golden rule is a pretty good one to live by,” Obama says. “If you are interacting with someone, be respectful to them and treat them the way you want to be treated and you are probably doing OK and you should stand up for those values even if those around you are not.”
Immediately after the half-hour special, which Ellerbee is supplementing with footage of Romney talking about the same issues, but not answering these questions directly, kids are allowed to go online and vote.
Since “Kids Pick the President” started in 1988, Nick voting has been an accurate bell weather of the general election with 2000 being the exception. Kids had picked Vice President Al Gore as the winner, and President George W. Bush‘s victory was eventually decided by the Supreme Court.
Naturally children cannot vote, but what this show, as all of the Nick News shows do, is educate children and never condescend to them.
“Anything that encourages kids to get involved in the democratic process is good,” Ellerbee says. “And if this encourages kids to do so, it is a good thing. I guess I am quoting Martha Stewart. I don’t know anyone who would say informing kids about the democratic process is a bad thing. So obviously when the kids ask questions and the presidents answer them directly it shows respect for kids for millions of young people who want to be part of the process.”