Obama courts the ‘one day they’ll be old enough’ vote
something Prime Minister Julia Gillard might like to keep an eye on. US President Barack Obama is wooing Americans not yet old enough to vote in a unique children’s television news special that rival Mitt Romney opted to avoid. Obama fielded prerecorded questions from under-18s on topics as varied as the economy, gun control, gay marriage and heartbreak during the half-hour program called Kids Pick the President: The Candidates. ‘‘The good news is that we’re starting to bounce back,’’ says Obama in reply to a 14-year-old’s question about hard times. ‘‘The most important thing for you guys is making sure you’ve got a great education.’’ On the issue of gun control, Obama favours a ban on assault weapons. On immigration, he says those who entered the US illegally to seek a better life should ‘‘have a chance to earn their citizenship over time’’. In response to a California teenager with many gay friends, he says: ‘‘I’ve got a lot of gay friends, too . . . Ultimately, it’s the right thing to do, and the fair thing to do, to allow gay couples to marry.’’ He also confesses to going through heartbreak. ‘‘That happened to me,’’ he tells a 15-year-old who asks the President what lost love had taught him. ‘‘I think the main thing you learn is that, you know, life goes on.’’ Kids Pick the President premiered a day before Obama, who has two young daughters, and Romney, with five grown children and 18 grandchildren, faced off in the second of three prime-time debates ahead of the November 6 election. Over the coming days, Nickelodeon viewers can vote online for their favourite candidate in an internet straw poll that has – uncannily – forecast the real winner in five of the last six presidential elections.