CBS Uses Kids’ Letters to Promote ‘Hope’ of Obama

Bill Whitaker, CBS At the end of Monday’s CBS Evening News, correspondent Bill Whitaker gave a fawning report on a book being complied of children’s letters to President Obama: "Eight-year-old Lucy O'Brien loves to draw, ask her dad, a fine antiques dealer...She also knows times are hard at dad's business...So when her mother told her about a 'Dear Mr. President' contest, lucky winners' art and letters presented to President Obama, she poured her heart into it." The young girl explained to Whitaker: "I had added like, confetti, and stuff like that, and then I added 'hope' on the top to show for the future that there's hope for maybe the economy or something."

Whitaker spoke with the book’s creator and CEO of the website kidthing.com, Larry Hitchcock, who described some of the other letters: "We had to extend the deadline because so many were coming in...A 6-year-old who just wants the President to ‘make it rain candy’...’Poor people should have food.’" A clip was played of one girl asking the President: "Please take care of the environment." Later, Hitchcock declared: "There's a theme through all of it of hope and kind of belief that tomorrow's going to be a better day."

Obama Letter, CBS Earlier in the program, fill-in anchor Jeff Glor teased Whitaker’s report: "Coming up next here, a young boy battling cancer has a birthday wish, one only the President can make come true." Whitaker talked to that boy: "Eight-year-old Carlo Santiago feels good these days. He's fighting a rare form of cancer. His message to the President?" A clip was played of Santiago: "When I'm done with all my treatment, I want to go see you in the White House on my birthday. Love, Carlo." Whitaker later concluded the report by describing the book as: "A book full of young hopes and dreams."

Here is the full transcript of the segment:

6:53PM TEASE:

JEFF GLOR: Coming up next here, a young boy battling cancer has a birthday wish, one only the President can make come true.

6:55PM SEGMENT:

JEFF GLOR: Finally tonight, President Obama gets thousands of letters everyday. Aides select ten of them for him to read personally, so the odds of getting a letter into the President's hands are pretty slim. But Bill Whitaker tells us tonight some kids have found a way to beat those odds.

LUCY O'BRIEN: My favorite color is pink.

BILL WHITAKER: Eight-year-old Lucy O'Brien loves to draw, ask her dad, a fine antiques dealer.

MR. O'BRIEN: Lucy is a drawer, that's what she loves to do.

WHITAKER: Her mom.

MRS. O'BRIEN: This is the large-headed girl series.

LUCY O'BRIEN: I'm not bragging about it, but I think I'm good at drawing.

WHITAKER: She also knows times are hard at dad's business.

O'BRIEN: My mom and dad talk about it usually and I'm sort of nosy when I listen to them talking about it.

Obama Letter, CBS WHITAKER: So when her mother told her about a 'Dear Mr. President' contest, lucky winners' art and letters presented to President Obama, she poured her heart into it.

O'BRIEN: I had added like, confetti, and stuff like that, and then I added 'hope' on the top to show for the future that there's hope for maybe the economy or something.

WHITAKER: And sent it off to Larry Hitchcock's web site kidthing.

LARRY HITCHCOCK: We had to extend the deadline because so many were coming in.

WHITAKER: From kids age 5 to 12 all over the country. Kid stuff:

HITCHCOCK: A 6-year-old who just wants the President to 'make it rain candy.'

WHITAKER: Serious stuff:

HITCHCOCK: 'Poor people should have food.'

WHITAKER: From almost 5,000 kids.

UNIDENTIFIED BOY: Dear Mr. President-

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: Please take care of the environment.

CARLO SANTIAGO: Dear President Obama, on Inauguration Day I was at the hospital here in L.A.-

WHITAKER: Eight-year-old Carlo Santiago feels good these days. He's fighting a rare form of cancer. His message to the President?

SANTIAGO: When I'm done with all my treatment, I want to go see you in the White House on my birthday. Love, Carlo.

WHITAKER: The best 150 entries put in this book to be hand delivered to President Obama.

HITCHCOCK: There's a theme through all of it of hope and kind of belief that tomorrow's going to be a better day.

WHITAKER: Carlo's letter made it. Out of 5,000 kids-

SANTIAGO: Yeah.

WHITAKER: That's pretty good.

Obama Letter, CBS SANTIAGO: I felt pretty lucky.

WHITAKER: Lucy's too.

O'BRIEN: And I was jumping up and down. And I was screaming and I ran into to my brother's room and I was, like, 'I made it into the book!' And he was like 'oh, good for you.'

WHITAKER: A book full of young hopes and dreams. Bill Whitaker, CBS News, Los Angeles.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC