Barack Obama on Families & Children
Junior Senator (IL); President-Elect
But if we are honest with ourselves, we’ll admit that what too many fathers also are is missing--missing from too many lives and too many homes They have abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men. And the foundations of our families are weaker because of it.
You and I know how true this is in the African-American community. And the foundations of our community are weaker because of it.
Still, I know the toll that being a single parent took on my mother--how she struggled at times to the pay bills; to give us the things that other kids had; to play all the roles that both parents are supposed to play. And I know the toll it took on me. So I resolved many years ago that it was my obligation to break the cycle--that if I could be anything in life, I would be a good father to my girls; that if I could give them anything, I would give them that rock--that foundation--on which to build their lives. And that would be the greatest gift I could offer.
We should take all of these steps to build a strong foundation for our children. But we should also know that even if we do; even if Washington does its part too, we will still face difficult challenges in our lives.
A: Keep in mind, on that same day, I said children are miracles. What I was saying was that my daughters are 9 & 6. And so if, at the age of 12 or 13, they made what I would consider to be a mistake, in having unprotected sex, and ended up getting pregnant. And so all I meant was we want to prevent teen pregnancies. And what we don’t want to do is to be blind to the possibility that kids will screw up, just like, surprisingly enough, we as adults screw up sometimes. We want to make sure that, even as we are teaching responsible sexuality and we are teaching abstinence to children, that we are also making sure that they’ve got enough understanding about contraception that they don’t end up having much more severe problems because of a dumb mistake.
A: One of the reasons that I’m running for president is that the American dream has always meant that if you worked hard if you invested in your children then their lives could be better than yours. And that dream that so many generations fought for feels like it’s slipping away, not just for African Americans increasingly but for all Americans. And so what do we need to do? We have to have a tax system that’s fair. I will take away tax breaks from company’s that are shipping jobs overseas and put tax breaks in the pockets of hardworking Americans who deserve it. We’ve got to invest in education. If we can invest and understand that this is a crisis that doesn’t just effect black and brown people but all of America I’m confident that we can make a big difference.
EDWARDS: Yes, we have taught our children when they were young how to look for the signs of wrong touching, any kind of what would be sexual abuse, inappropriate touching. And we have taught our children as they got older, all that they needed to know to be properly educated.
Q: [to Obama]: Mitt Romney has accused you this week of saying that 5-year-old children should be getting sex education. Was he right?
OBAMA: Ironically, this was actually a proposal that he himself said he supported when he was running for governor of Massachusetts. Apparently, he forgot. And it makes the exact point that John made. I want my daughters, aged 6 & 9, to know if somebody is doing something wrong to them, encroaching on their privacy, that they should come talk to me or my wife. And we’ve had that conversation, and I think it’s important that every child does, to make sure that they’re not subject to the sexual predators.
For several days now, Obama has been dealing with a flap over comments he made to a Planned Parenthood gathering last week. He said that he had once been attacked for advocating “teaching sex education to kindergarteners” as a state senator. And he added, “It’s the right thing to do...to provide age-appropriate sex education, science-based sex education in schools.”
Although video of that statement shows Obama stressed the term “age-appropriate,” a news headline read, “Sex Ed for Kindergarteners ‘Right Thing to Do,’ Says Obama.” Romney seized on the headline and slammed Obama, saying, “Obama is wrong if he thinks science-based sex education has any place in kindergarten.”
The Obama campaign later pointed to a 2004 story in which Obama said he “does not support teaching explicit sex education to children in kindergarten.”
The evangelists’ success points to a hunger for the product they are selling, a hunger that goes beyond any particular issue or cause. They need an assurance that somebody out there cares about them, is listening to them.
OFFICIAL CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY: A bill to direct the Consumer Product Safety Commission to classify certain children's products containing lead to be banned hazardous substances.
SPONSOR'S INTRODUCTORY REMARKS: Sen. OBAMA: The unfortunate reality for many children--particularly in low-income and minority households--is the continued presence of high blood lead levels. Lead is a highly toxic substance that can produce a range of health problems in young children, including IQ deficiencies, hyperactivity, and damage to the kidneys, brain and bone marrow.
We know that lead poisoning is completely preventable. As the Nation has increased efforts to reduce environmental lead exposure, the number of children with high blood levels has steadily dropped. Restricting lead in gasoline and paint represent two major accomplishments in this regard. But much work remains to be done.
Disturbingly, lead is present in a number of toys and other frequently used objects by young children. About half of tested lunch boxes have unsafe levels of lead. In 2004, there were 3 recalls of nearly 150 million pieces of toy jewelry because of toxic levels of lead. And the Consumer Product Safety Commission has dragged its feet in aggressively addressing the problem of lead in toys.
It's a national disgrace that toys that could pose a serious and significant danger to children are readily available in our department stores and markets. The Lead Free Toys Act of 2005 will help us keep our children safe and healthy, and contribute to national efforts to reduce lead exposure.
LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Referred to Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation; never came to a vote.
The White House Conference on Children and Youth in 2010 Act - Directs the President to call a White House Conference on Children and Youth in 2010 to: (1) encourage improvements in each state and local child welfare system; and (2) develop recommendations for actions to implement express policy regarding federal, state, and local programs. The Congress finds the following:
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Newly elected in 2008 & seated in 2009:
Newly appointed in 2009;
special election in 2010:
Announced retirement as of 2010:
Up for 6-year term in 2010:
(13 Democrats; 15 Republicans)
Senate Votes (analysis)