Photo Credit: Roger L. Wollenberg/Getty
The easiest job requirement of a U.S. President may be the traditional holiday-time reading of storybooks to kids. But, chatting afterward with kids off the cuff may be another matter. When President Obama surprised children at the local Boys and Girls Club community center to read from The Polar Express on December 21, it’s no surprise that he handled both jobs with genuine charm.
The 27 kids, aged 6 to 11, seemed to really enjoy their moment with the President (as well as his basket of cookies). They presented him with T-shirts for Sasha and Malia, too.
Margaret Taley, a pool reporter with McClatchy Newspapers, said Obama’s "inflection and ad-libbing suggested that of an experienced bedtime-story-reading parent." She writes, "He even got into character during one passage where Santa says, 'Ho, ho, ho,' though [Obama’s] imitation sounded more like 'Huh, huh, huh.'"
According to Taley, when the kids said they wanted iPods, cell phones, and video games for Christmas, the President responded, "Whatever happened to, like, asking for a bike?"
When a student said Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus, Obama noted that it also represents "the possibility of peace."
The children wanted the President to stay longer, but alas he had more stressful things to do (like fix our health care system). Niko Letterbough, 7, also wanted a promise that Obama would come back and play foosball.
"You know, I hate getting beat," the President said.
"I'll let you win," Niko said.
"That's what I'm talking about," said the President.
Amongst all the promises a President has to make, that may be the one Obama would most love to keep.