Ads targeting Obama girls may anger Mr President
Washington, Aug 5: A NGO in Washington may evoke the ire of US President Barrack Obama, by making his daughters the subject of a new advertising campaign.
According to a report in the Politico, the ads, placed in Union Station by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, could certainly get White House attention and stir up Obama's anger, who has kept Sasha and Malia Obama largely off limits to the news media.
In the ad, Jasmine Messiah, an 8-year-old vegetarian from a Florida public school, asks the question, "President Obama's daughters get healthy school lunches. Why don't I?"
Jasmine has also written a letter to Sasha and Malia, urging them to help by signing the committee's petition to Congress, which urges lawmakers to increase the number of vegan, vegetarian and nondairy food options in public schools.
The Obama girls attend Sidwell Friends, an elite private school in Washington.
"A lot of schools, including mine, don't offer enough healthy fruits, vegetables and vegetarian meals," third-grader Jasmine writes.
"I'm glad that your school, Sidwell Friends, already has lots of healthy options in the cafeteria, including vegetarian chili and roasted vegetable pizza. If we work together, we can make sure all students can eat healthy school lunches," she added.
But, media and political experts say the campaign could easily anger a popular president who has taken steps to shield his daughters from the spotlight.
"This is not the way to win the heart of the president," said Brookings Institution Governance Studies Director Darrell West.
"It's dangerous to target Obama's daughters because many people view family members as off limits for political advocacy. That's especially relevant in this case because his daughters are so young," he added.
The committee is hoping to gain traction on the reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act this year, which regulates the National School Lunch Program and could allow significant revisions to school lunches.
But angering Obama and possibly leading Democrats could slow that advocacy work and dissolve the potential of political ties.
"The best way to get something done is not to anger a popular president," said George Washington University media professor Steven Roberts. "If I were that group, I would fire my advertising adviser," he added.
Much like the Clinton and Bush families, the Obamas have shielded the first daughters from the media spotlight since the campaign trail, limiting photography and reporter access to the girls.
They have also put a quick stop to any commercial use of the girls' images or names.