Political Punditry: Kids’ Stuff?

ABC's Child Pundits Not Childish Enough

You know how The Daily Show sometimes gets young kids to read and reenact actual moments in cable punditry, to hilarious effect?

Well, ABC’s Good Morning America this morning invited a group of 7-and 8-year-olds to pontificate in their own words (teased as “the political pundits you haven’t heard from”). And while the effect may have been less comedic than Comedy Central’s version, it was a reminder to all that professional punditry takes practice.

As the following exchanges with ABC’s Chris Cuomo demonstrate, the members of ABC’s “Kiddy Cabinet” were hardly Tuckers-in-training or Baby Buchanans (or Begalas).

CUOMO: Who do you think is going to be the Democratic nominee? That’s the hot race.

7-OR-8-YEAR-OLD BOY: ‘Cause of her husband, Hillary has been in the White House because of Nixon and…

CUOMO: Nixon?

7-OR-8-YEAR-OLD BOY: Yeah.

CUOMO: What about Nixon?

7-OR-8-YEAR-OLD BOY: Well, he was president, obviously…

CUOMO: Clinton, Bill Clinton, you mean? Nixon was president a long time ago. Bill Clinton is Hillary’s husband. He’s very different from Richard Nixon he would say.

7-OR-8-YEAR-OLD BOY: Yeah, I messed up.

Messed up, alright! Real pundits don’t admit error.

CUOMO: Who believes a woman can be president? Does anybody believe that a man makes a better president than a woman?

7-OR-8-YEAR-OLD GIRL: We don’t know. Because we haven’t had a woman president yet.

Grow up; Don’t fall back on the facts! A seasoned pundit offers conjecture, not common sense.

This was another 7-or-8-year-old’s answer to Cuomo’s question of who “is going to be the Democratic nominee?”

Actually Obama is winning, but I think it will be maybe Hillary. It’s more Obama at this stage but I think it could maybe change.

For the love of Chris Matthews! A mature pundit does not say “maybe.”

CUOMO: If John McCain is standing next to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and all three of them are talking about Iraq, and war, and what has to happen, do you think [McCain] has an advantage because he’s been a soldier, and he suffered for America already?

7-OR-8-YEAR-OLD GIRL: Yeah. a little bit.

7-OR-8-YEAR-OLD BOY: He knows about soldiers and stuff, because he was one.

ANOTHER 7-OR-8-YEAR-OLD BOY: He was in war, and he knows what they’re going to go through. He’s been through it.

Boys and girls, here’s the situation: If you ever want to see the inside of The Situation Room, you tangle with the other talking heads, you don’t nod your heads in agreement. This is TV! Think of the viewers!

And finally, there was this rookie mistake:

CUOMO: Have you been following [the election] on all media sources — TV, print, radio?

KIDDY CABINET: [Heads nodding]. TV and radio. TV, computer…

CUOMO: When you say TV, you mean ABC News, right?.

7-OR-8-YEAR-OLD BOY: Actually, CNN.

CUOMO: I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you. What did you say? ABC News?


Psst, kid: Don’t bite the hand that feeds you! You’ll never get a seat at Russert’s roundtable with that kind of candor.

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.