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Kid Reporters and President Obama President Barack Obama participates in an interview with Scholastic News Kid Reporters Amiri Tulloch and Hannah Prensky in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

An Interview With the President

Scholastic News Kid Reporters visit the White House for a talk with President Barack Obama 

By Amiri Tulloch and Hannah Prensky | October 25 , 2012

The 2012 race for the White House between Democratic nominee President Barack Obama and Republican nominee former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney went into high gear this fall. It was during this time that Kid Reporters Amiri Tulloch, 12, and Hannah Prensky, 12, sat down with President Obama for an interview about his re-election campaign.

In July, the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps requested pre-election interviews with both President Obama and Governor Romney. The Romney campaign declined.

Here is an edited transcript with links to the President's full responses. You can watch the complete interview here.

SCHOLASTIC NEWS: Why should kids care about this election?

BARACK OBAMA: The decisions that we make now are going to have a huge impact, not just this year or next year; they’ll have impact for 10, 20, 25, 30 years. Click here to watch a video of the President’s full response.

SN: What is the single biggest challenge to fixing the economy, and how will you deal with it if you are re-elected?

OBAMA: The biggest challenge is that we just went through the worst financial crisis since . . . the 1930s . . . so we were still recovering. We lost 9 million jobs during that stretch and now the economy’s growing again. We’ve created jobs over the last 30 months, but there’s still a lot of people who are out of work, so what we need to is really focus on how do we create good jobs. Click here to watch a video of the President’s full response.

SN: What will you do to make sure that the country is preparing workers for the jobs of the future?

OBAMA: Well, it starts early. . . . We want to invest more in early-childhood education so that those programs are good. In high school and in grammar school, it’s really important to make sure that we are getting the best teachers possible. Click here to watch a video of the President’s full response.

SN: What can be done to make sure all kids go to great schools with great teachers?

OBAMA: We’re working with states to make sure that if a teacher is teaching math, that they actually know their subject and they know how to teach math in a way that’s interesting. And so a lot of effort is going into training teachers to do an even greater job because they’re the single biggest factor in terms of how good a school is. Click here to watch a video of the President’s full response.

SN: What can be done to make sure that kids my age get a good college education and will not be stuck with piles of debt?

OBAMA: Over the last four years, one of the things that we’ve done is to make sure that we expanded Pell Grants, which are helping a lot of students all across the country. The good thing about a grant is that you don’t have to repay it, so that is really helpful. Click here to watch a video of the President’s full response.

SN: What would you do in a second term to combat climate change and protect the environment?

OBAMA: Climate change is real. The science shows that we’re seeing all around the country and around the world temperatures go up consistently over the last decade. . . . The key is for us to try to limit the amount of carbon that’s going into the atmosphere. Click here to watch a video of the President’s full response.

SN: We learned in school that America was built by immigrants. How important is immigration today and to the future of our country?

OBAMA: One of the greatest strengths of America is that we have talent from all over the world that wants to come here and, you know, we’re a nation of immigrants. . . . The key is to make this system fairer and a little bit simpler for people to be able to apply for legal immigration. Click here to watch a video of the President’s full response.

SN: Throughout this election, each campaign has criticized the other guy on issues and policy ideas. But we were wondering, what issue do you agree with Governor Romney on?

OBAMA: I think a lot of our disagreements have to do with how we get things done, as opposed to what needs to get done. I think all of us think we have to improve our education system, for example, and the question then is just, “How do we make sure that schools, for example, have enough money to hire good teachers?” Click here to watch a video of the President’s full response.

SN: When did you realize that you wanted to be President, and why do you still want the job?

OBAMA: When I was a kid, I didn’t want to be President. I wanted to be a professional basketball player, and then I wanted to be an architect. I didn’t really think about being President until I was much older. I realized when I was around 23, 24 that a life of public service might be something that I’d be interested in, just because you get a lot of satisfaction from being able to help other people. Click here to watch a video of the President’s full response.

SN: If one of your daughters said that she wanted to run for President, what would you tell her?

OBAMA: If it was something that they really wanted to do, I would encourage them. Because my attitude is whatever you want to do. Whether you want to start a business or be a great lawyer or a doctor or design buildings or work to build something that’s never been built before, whatever it is that you want to do, I just want to make sure that all our young people have the chance to do it, and if they’re willing to really work hard, that they’ve got a chance to succeed. Click here to watch a video of the President’s full response.

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