Presidential candidates answer questions from Scholastic News Kid Reporters

Brittany Sullivan  //  Feb 26, 2016

Presidential candidates answer questions from Scholastic News Kid Reporters

Since last summer, Kid Reporters from the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps, the country’s oldest and largest student reporting program, have been hitting the campaign trail to get the inside scoop on the 2016 Presidential Election.

From Iowa to South Carolina, Kid Reporters ages 10–14 have covered town halls, campaign rallies, primaries, caucuses, and presidential debates where they talked to voters, fellow reporters and even the candidates themselves! Ben Carson, Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Marco Rubio, and Donald Trump have all answered tough questions from our junior journalists, discussing the most pressing issues currently facing the United States and the importance of engaging kids in the democratic process.

Below is a round-up of quotes from Kid Reporter interviews with current candidates. For more news and updates from our Kid Reporters, follow the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps on Twitter (@KidsPress)!

Note: These interviews have been edited for length and clarity.


Kid Reporter Kaitlin Clark pushed her way to the front of the crowd to ask Clinton a question after a rally at Rundlett Middle School in Concord, New Hampshire, February 6, 2016.

Q: What is the most pressing issue facing the U.S.?

CLINTON: The most pressing issue is to get the economy to produce more good jobs for more people so that they can support themselves and their children. Then their children can do even better, because that’s what supposed to happen in America. So I’m going to work really, really hard on that every single day.


Kid Reporter Gracie Wood asked Trump a question at a TV news station in Spartanburg, South Carolina, February 18, 2016.

Q: What should kids be paying attention to the most in this election?

TRUMP: Education is so important. You have to find the political candidate who really wants to take care of education. And you should have local education [rather than standards like Common Core], so that great people like your mother can be involved.

Q: Presidential campaigns and candidates can be very vicious with each other. How do you explain to kids that [such behavior] is OK? 

TRUMP: It’s not really OK, but it’s something you have to live with. It’s called life. As you grow older, you’ll understand it. The campaigns can be very vicious, just like life can be very vicious. But you have to figure it out and overcome it.


Kid Reporter Kaitlin Clark asked Cruz a question outside the Red Arrow Diner in Manchester, New Hampshire, February 6, 2016.

Q: What is the most pressing issue facing America today, and how do you plan to solve it?

CRUZ:  Our kids are not going to have a brighter future, but I am convinced that we can turn things around. If you look at the principles that built America, that made America the greatest country in the history of the world, they were free-market principles, the freedoms protected in our Constitution.

And I believe if we get back to the free-market principles and our constitutional liberties, we can have a brighter future, a brighter tomorrow, for our kids and for our grandkids, and that’s what I’m campaigning to do. I’ve got two little girls who are 7 and 5, and I’m fighting for them. I’m fighting for the next generation.

I think the future can be brighter if we stop doing things that don’t work, and we get back to doing things that we know work and expand opportunity for everybody.


Kid Reporter Bobby Sena spoke with Rubio at a campaign event for Republican candidates in Orlando, Florida, November 13, 2015. 

Q: Why should young people care about this election? 

RUBIO: Kids across America should be interested in this election because their future is at stake. We’re debating the future, which they are going to inherit.


Kid Reporter Maxwell Surprenant asked Kasich a question after a town hall meeting in Goffstown, New Hampshire, January 24, 2016.

Q: Do you have a message for kids?

KASICH: Live your dream, and work hard.


Kid Reporter Kaitlin Clark interviewed Carson on a campaign bus in Manchester the weekend before the New Hampshire Primary, February 6, 2016.

Q: What is the most pressing issue facing America today, and how do you plan to solve it?

CARSON: One of the first things I want to do is release that economic engine, the most powerful economic engine the world has ever known, and get rid of unnecessary regulations and reform the tax code so that we have an environment that encourages entrepreneurial risk-taking. That way, we can once again churn up that engine and get the American economy growing so that by the time you’re an adult, we won’t be compromising the future.

Q: If kids aren’t old enough to vote, why do you think they should be interested in elections?

CARSON: They should be interested because their parents are old enough to vote, and kids can bug them to vote. Kids have a lot of influence. A lot of times, they are more aware of what’s going on than their parents are, because their parents are so busy with their day-to-day living, and they haven’t really been paying much attention. I think young people can play a real role in helping to restore our nation. Think back to Nathan Hale. He was only 21 years old when he [lost his life during the Revolutionary War for spying on the British]. As the British were ready to execute him, he said, “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.”