Do you have the power to make school lunches better?
August 13, 2009 7:37 PM   Subscribe

This was a great opportunity for a young person to meet with the President, and I'm glad he took the time to answer his questions. Thanks cdm for posting it!
posted by garnetgirl at 7:56 PM on August 13, 2009

posted by PlusDistance at 8:03 PM on August 13, 2009 [4 favorites]

At first glance I thought this post read: Eleven year old performs Dream Weaver by Gary Wright (SLYT)
posted by ageispolis at 8:06 PM on August 13, 2009 [2 favorites]

Imagine you're the President. You've got things going on, stuff to do, places to be, arms to twist. You've just come out of a meeting with Rahm Emanuel, who in no uncertain terms has told you "the Republicans are planning to fuck you right in the eye socket. No lube. They're just gonna grab you by your giant ears and start fucking."

Then you have to unplug from all that, stop, and field some well-written, straightforward questions from an 11-year-old that looks an awful lot like you did at the same age.

Better give good answers, because the cameras are rolling. Better not come off like a dick, because he is 11 years old, after all. Better not come off like you've got better things to do, even if you do. Better not fuck up, because YouTube is forever, everywhere.

Kudos to Obama.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:16 PM on August 13, 2009 [18 favorites]

This young man also interviewed then-Senator Joe Biden during the campaign. It ranks among my favorite videos of all time, especially at the 1:35 mark, when it shows the cameraman rockin' out to the "tight music"...
posted by elmer benson at 8:17 PM on August 13, 2009 [3 favorites]

I feel like I've heard about Damon Weaver before. Didn't he interview the soon to be VP last year around the primaries ? I seem to recall him asking for a sit down with Obama at that time.
posted by nola at 8:20 PM on August 13, 2009

Preview is my friend.
posted by nola at 8:21 PM on August 13, 2009

...and, now that I'm watching this video, I'm wondering why more people aren't interviewing like Damon Weaver. Maybe Jim Lerher can give him a weekly interview slot.
posted by elmer benson at 8:23 PM on August 13, 2009

Damon Weaver is welcome to interview me whenever he likes.

And since I'm down here in Key West, if he comes down here to my Southern climate, I promise we'll have mangoes and french fries!
posted by Mike Mongo at 8:23 PM on August 13, 2009

Is it my imagination, or did Obama introduce himself as BarAAAck?
(ie, the Brit pronunciation, instead of the usual American Ba-ROCK?)
posted by pseudostrabismus at 8:25 PM on August 13, 2009

I can't believe this post didn't include the awesome backstory! WTF????
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:32 PM on August 13, 2009

yay, I'm glad Damon finally got his interview.
posted by edgeways at 8:48 PM on August 13, 2009

"He's very tall and nice." GO DAMON! I'm so glad he finally got his interview!
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:54 PM on August 13, 2009

Man, it's so freaking obvious how much the media loves this guy. I mean, almost all of these questions are soft-ball fluff. School lunches? Come on.

Of cours, Damon does deserve props for shaking things up and making Obama do a double-take by pointing out that, as president, he seems to get picked on quite a lot.
posted by koeselitz at 9:02 PM on August 13, 2009 [2 favorites]

That young man is going to grow into that suit just fine.
posted by longsleeves at 10:22 PM on August 13, 2009

OK, one! I voted for this guy. Yay! Ossom!

Two! He needs to have his speechwriters taser him every time he uses "uhh" or "ummm" when answering a question. Just take a deep breath, pause thoughtfully, tap his chin, whatever... there are better ways to buy time while formulating a response. Hell, a looong, lingering, Regan-esque "Welll, youuuu knooooooowwwwww..." would work better than what he's got going on in that interview.

The "uhh, ummm, ahhhh" needs to go away. Now.
posted by Slap*Happy at 11:47 PM on August 13, 2009 [2 favorites]

Damon Weaver is going to be famous. Not sure for what, but watch for this guy in 10, 15 years.
posted by Meatbomb at 3:36 AM on August 14, 2009 [1 favorite]

But he definitely needs some voice / elocution coaching if he is serious about making the big time, his regional accent is pretty thick and sometimes I had to back up the tape to hear WTF he was saying.
posted by Meatbomb at 3:38 AM on August 14, 2009

I can't believe this post didn't include the awesome backstory!

What is the backstory?
posted by Houstonian at 3:39 AM on August 14, 2009

That kid has access:

Sam Jackson
Chris Tucker
Larry King
Caroline Kennedy
The Miami Heat
Paula Abdul... just to name a few.
posted by Pollomacho at 4:40 AM on August 14, 2009

I’m at work, so I can’t watch this video. But if I’m remembering his Biden interview correctly, there’s a great moment where Damon asks Biden a question and then Damon has to stretch his arm really far upwards so the mic can reach Biden.

Biden immediately goes off into Policyland and starts rambling. He doesn’t notice when Damon’s arm starts getting tired. The kid’s arm starts swaying and he has to use his other hand to prop it up. Meanwhile, Joe is just looking off into the distance, still talking. I give credit to Biden for not giving Damon some dumbed-down answer just because he’s being interviewed by a kid, but would it have killed him to just look down for a second and notice that the kid was struggling?
posted by Kronoss at 7:06 AM on August 14, 2009

Wow, I'd never heard of this kid before, but he's great. He's got incredible access for a fifth grade reporter and I wonder why that is.
posted by SkylitDrawl at 7:51 AM on August 14, 2009

Once you get the first couple, its gotta be easier to get the rest, right?

Then you can be all, I've already interviewed xyz and I am obviously smart and precocious and so on.
posted by lazaruslong at 8:06 AM on August 14, 2009

Like others I wish he'd be more forceful about health care and gay rights and stuff, but, shit, after the past few years it's still an active pleasure just to have a president who's in little danger of being visibly outwitted by his fifth-grade interviewer.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:16 AM on August 14, 2009

I love when he says "how are we going to improve education with all these budget cuts?" and obama kind of hesitates for a second as though he weren't expecting a real question.
posted by shmegegge at 8:30 AM on August 14, 2009 [1 favorite]

Loved it, but a little too much speechifying by President Obama and not enough tailoring his message to his audience.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:50 AM on August 14, 2009

That kid is a much, much better interviewer than the talking heads at Fox. Obama's right, they're doing something right with that kid (his school, his parents, whatever).
posted by sandraregina at 10:14 AM on August 14, 2009

One thing I really like about this interview is the careful styleshifting that Obama is doing as he talks. He's indexing two identities and addressing different audiences* at once, and doing that by blending Standard American English (SAE) and African American Vernacular English (AAVE) features in a non-overt way. If you listen to it again you'll start to hear it in the words he chooses, rhythm/prosody, vowels, and's very cool!

Here's a great read on this (warning, looong article): Speaking in Tongues, by Zadie Smith. Also should be noted that this styleshifting is not new...politicians do it all the time; Hillary Clinton talking to Southerners, George Bush talking to, well, everybody and countless other examples, on and on.

*blacks and whites, young and old, kids that look up to him and adult equals, politicians, informal vs. formal, etc.
posted by iamkimiam at 4:09 PM on August 14, 2009 [2 favorites]

Speaking of speaking. He always pronounces we'll + um as weeeeeelll (the eeeeeee pronounced as in well instead of as in we or wii) when the proper pronunciation is we'll, um. (wii'll, um)
posted by xorry at 7:50 PM on August 14, 2009

Nicely done, Damon!

And nicely done, Obama! Quite frankly, America would probably benefit were you regularly interviewed by children. A lot of the 20% nutbaggers need to be spoken to in such friendly, well-paced, simple terms.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:57 PM on August 14, 2009

posted by WCityMike at 10:25 AM on August 15, 2009 [2 favorites]

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