Eleven-year-old reporter Damon Weaver, who has been trying to interview President Obama since he was still on the campaign trail, finally got his wish with an hour-long sitdown in the Diplomatic Room.
Weaver has previously talked to Joe Biden, Dwayne Wade, and Oprah, among others, and started off this interview with questions about education. The President gave what may be a preview of his upcoming Sept. 8 speech on the issue, saying that the federal government, state governments, and parents need to come together to improve kids' performance. They also discussed school lunches, which Obama promised to make healthier. He deemed Weaver's suggestion — french fries and mangoes for everyone — to be tasty but perhaps impractical, as mangoes don't grow well in northern climes.
Obama looks pretty graceful throughout — especially when he answers a question about whether he gets "bullied" a lot as President — but Weaver obviously steals the show. His charm and self-possession have been on display since the beginning of his campaign to interview Obama, and he comes off as smart as well as adorable. Some of this interview is pure cuteness — like when Weaver sums things up by saying Obama is very "tall and nice" — but Weaver is also an apt spokesman for some real issues. Coming from struggling Pahokee, Florida, Weaver asked Obama what he would do to help schools in poor neighborhoods. And in an earlier segment on 20-20, Weaver says, "I worry about what's happening to my community," and "that's why I'm telling you my town's story, so more people don't die."
Weaver is a passionate advocate for his family and his home, as well as living proof of the promise that exists in kids all over the country, not just in places with money. He dreams big — in the 20-20 segment, he says he wants to be "a journalist, and a football player, and a pilot, and a person who trains whales, and President, and a senator, and a commissioner." He's already the first one — but Obama and America have the responsibility to make sure that he, and his brothers (one says he wants to be "a football player, or if that doesn't work I'll be a lawyer or a doctor"), and the other kids in his town, have the opportunity to achieve all of their dreams. In his remarks on education, Obama says "setting a really high standard for kids" is important. Damon Weaver is doing just that.