The following editorial first appeared in the Chicago Tribune:
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There's no denying it now: Barack Obama has been scheming since elementary school to take over the White House. Obama wants Americans to believe that running for president is something that just came over him in his 40s, like male pattern baldness or the urge to buy a red convertible. But staffers for his chief Democratic rival, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, produced two smoking guns - Obama's kindergarten and third-grade teachers. In separate news stories, each recalled essays penned by the pint-size prodigy in which he confessed a desire to be president.
Barack, you're busted.
Political analysts are still trying to figure out what the Clinton campaign hoped to gain from this gotcha. Clinton, after all, has been dreaming of being president since before girls were allowed to think that way. Since when is ambition a liability?
The real surprise isn't that Obama decided in kindergarten that he wants to be president - it's that 40 years later, he still does. Maybe we should be paying closer attention to the reams of paperwork the current generation is bringing home in its backpacks. Through timely intervention, we might weed out the bank robbers and telemarketers and at least half of the lawyers.
So what do today's kids aspire to be? Trolling the Internet, we came across a YouTube spot featuring Emma Claire, a 4-year-old in a pink "princess" T-shirt who set down her sippy cup and stared into the video lens to answer the question posed by an off-camera adult: What do you want to be when you grow up? In a little less than a minute, our heroine mused that she might be a doctor, or an artist, or a veterinarian, or a builder, or a "music player," or an acrobat ...
Emma doesn't have to declare a major until kindergarten, of course, so she has time to mull her options. This being America, she's free to be an acrobat if she wants. But somebody has to be president when he or she grows up. We hope Emma will give it some serious thought before she turns 5.