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President Barack Obama tapes an interview with Scholastic News Kids Press Corps in the library of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

An Interview With the President

President Barack Obama talks with Scholastic News about 9/11, the Constitution, and more

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<p>The President poses with Topanga Sena and Jacob Schroeder after the interview. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)</p>

The President poses with Topanga Sena and Jacob Schroeder after the interview. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

It’s not every day that students get to interview the President of the United States. But two Scholastic News Kid Reporters recently got the chance. Jacob Schroeder, 12, and Topanga Sena, 10, sat down with President Barack Obama for an exclusive back-to-school interview at the White House.

Here are a few of the questions that those Scholastic News Kid Reporters asked the President. For the complete interview on video, click here.

SCHOLASTIC NEWS: We are about to observe the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on 9/11. How would you discuss how that day changed our country with your daughters, Sasha and Malia, who are the same age as our readers?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, I’ve talked to Malia and Sasha about that day. It was a tragic, tragic moment, I think, for all of us.

Since that time, I think we’ve made ourselves safer. We have made sure that it’s much harder to get on a plane with a weapon. It’s much more difficult to plant explosives. Our men and women in uniform have fought in Afghanistan to make sure that Al Qaeda—the folks who carried out the attack—would no longer [be able to] carry out these attacks.

I think it’s important for us to realize that, as terrible as that day was, it brought America together and reminded us that we’re all one people, and that each of us has a responsibility as citizens of the United States to try to make this country the best it can be.

SCHOLASTIC NEWS: Kids across America learn about the Constitution every September 17. Why is the Constitution important to kids today?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: It is an amazing document. When you think about our country, unlike most countries, we’re not all of the same race or religion. We don’t all come from the same places. Many of us are immigrants. But what holds us all together is a belief in certain ideals and certain values.

The Constitution really is what sets us apart by saying that every single person is treated with respect; every single individual has certain rights; and that the government has to follow certain rules in how it interacts with its citizens. So it sets out a model not only for our democracy, but also for how each of us has certain individual freedoms and certain rights that can’t be broken.

SCHOLASTIC NEWS: When you were our age, what did you like to read?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: When I was your age, I think I was getting into The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and stuff like that. I confess that I did read comic books as well. Spider-Man was one of my favorites. Then I read what I was assigned at school.

By the time I was Malia’s age, I was starting to read more serious books, like To Kill a Mockingbird, that make you think a little bit more. They were not just adventure stories. They were also stories that taught me about social problems and about how people interact with each other.

Click here to watch Topanga and Jacob’s full interview with President Obama.

(This interview has been edited and condensed by editors at Scholastic News.)

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