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On Parenting
Posted at 08:54 AM ET, 03/26/2012

Santorum, Obama and any other candidate who uses kids to woo supporters

From elsewhere in The Post: We’re only months away from the next presidential election, which means candidates are hitting the campaign trail hard. With them come a gaggle of supporters: campaign managers, field directors, door-knockers. And sometimes, kids. Just look at who was on stage next to Rick Santorum on Super Tuesday.

“I was transfixed by 11-year-old Patrick Santorum, standing front and center between his father who would be president and his 93-year-old grandmother,” says Momspeak columnist Tracy Grant, who believes kids shouldn’t be used as political signage.

“By the time Rick Santorum wrapped up thanking the fine folks of Steubenville, Ohio, I wanted to tousle towheaded Patrick’s hair and shuffle him off to bed with the promise of ice cream for breakfast.

“As parents, we’re proud of our kids. We want to show them off. If they are as adorable and polite as young Patrick seems to be, we think that reflects well on us. But I find kids as political signage unsettling.”

And it’s not just Santorum who’s pulled in his child for some picture-perfect camera time coincidentally around campaign season.

“Likewise I’m not a huge fan of the ads spread across the Web site of The Washington Post (and I’m sure many others) that show a breathtakingly good-looking family. Mother, father, two beautiful girls who are closer to young women than the little girls they were when we first glimpsed them four years ago. There are confident smiles on everyone’s faces. The family seems the epitome of what all Americans aspire to,” says Grant.

“But the Obama 2012 campaign ad bothered me the same way that young Patrick Santorum being made to stand on that stage bothered me.”

Do you agree with Grant? What should the role of children be during a campaign? Where should candidates draw the line?

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By On Parenting  |  08:54 AM ET, 03/26/2012

 
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