Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Young Obama Backers Twist Parents’ Arms

A curious twist.

Kevin Washo/The Office of Bob Casey Senator Bob Casey, whose family members are shown with Senator Barack Obama, is among the superdelegates who cited the persuasive power of their children in endorsing Mr. Obama.

“Our kids are probably more precious to us than any previous generation of parents,” said Dan Kindlon, a Harvard child psychologist. “We have fewer of them, we’re relativists, and we’re more swayed by them. A lot of parents are a little afraid of their kids.”

Afraid? Oy. But:

For many parents, this campaign season also feels like a fond flashback: in their children’s unvarnished idealism, many see a resurrection of their own youthful political passions. “It’s something you can brag to your friends about,” said Professor Kindlon, who writes about child-rearing and adolescents. “ ‘My kid is involved in politics.’ ”

Andy Manis The New York Times
Ami ElShareif, 20, a college student,
persuaded her father, Bader ElShareif,
who traditionally votes for Republicans, to back Mr. Obama.

Mike Mergen for The New York Times
Ralph Simpson Jr., in Lancaster, Pa.,
with his daughter Megan Simpson,
an Obama supporter, registered
as a Democrat at her insistence.

The two adult sons of Governor Doyle, 62, [Wisconsin ] both black and both adopted, spoke to him with fervor about Mr. Obama’s vision of a multiracial country. Then Mr. Doyle’s young grandson piled on. “He’s a complete Barackomaniac,” Mr. Doyle said in a phone interview. “When I asked him why, he said, ‘I think he’s really going to work hard for us.’ I thought, that’s it through the eyes of a 7-year-old. ‘He’ll work hard,’ and ‘for us.’ ”

In the Illinois primary, Mr. ElShareif voted for Mr. Obama. His daughter, thrilled, sent him an Obama sign, which he displays in his convenience store near the University of Chicago. “The neighbors and the students come in now and say, ‘We like your sign,’ ” Mr. ElShareif said. “Maybe these young people know something we don’t.”

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