Wednesday, November 30

8-year old aspiring reporter scores interview with 68-year old aspiring presidential candidate

Editor’s note: Katrina Russell, an 8-year-old Naples girl, made national news this weekend when the Community School of Naples student had the chance to interview Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich at a book signing in Naples. Here, in her own words, she tells readers of her experience:

I was still in my pajamas when my mom said, “I have a great idea, Newt Gingrich is at Books-a-Million doing a book signing today. Let’s go.”

I thought Newt Gingrich was a famous author. My mom explained that he wasn’t the man that owns the pizza stores ( Herman Cain) but another man trying to be president. I want to be a reporter like my mom and I thought this might be my big chance.

My mom stopped me right away and said, “Before you get excited you have to do research and prepare some questions.” I came up with seven questions that were really important and I knew that other people would want to know the answers too. I used index cards and wrote them in different colors so if I had to pick out a specific question I could identify it by the color. I thought other kids would want to know the pizza question because everyone likes pizza. Honestly, I didn’t think the plan would work.

When we got to the bookstore at 9:15 a.m., people were already in line. While we waited (over 2 ½ hours!) my mom introduced me to the TV and newspaper reporters. One reporter (Chris Moody, of Yahoo News) read my questions and suggested I pick out the best three. I practiced reading them outloud and he (Moody) said, “I like that one” or he just nodded his head so I knew he didn’t really like that question as much.

I was nervous when I went up to the table to talk to Mr. Gingrich because I’ve never seen a president (even though he’s not a president yet). While I was asking the questions I was scared and wanted to run out of the bookstore but my legs wouldn’t move. I didn’t notice all of the reporters around me but it felt really crowded.

Mr. and Mrs. Gingrich shook my hand and both signed the children’s book for me and my brother Timmy. Mr. Gingrich signed a book for my parents.

My first question was, “Have you met a president? If so, who was your favorite one?” He answered “George Washington and I’ve met Nixon, Carter, Ford, Reagan, Bush 1, Clinton, Bush 2, Obama, and of course, myself. I’m not a president yet. But with your help, I could be.”

“If you become president, will you order Godfathers pizza?” I asked.
“I like Herman Cain. Godfathers pizza is good. But I shouldn’t be eating so much pizza,” Mr. Gingrich said.
“Do you like Godfathers pizza? Mr. Gingrich asked me.
“I’ve never had it before,” I said.
“Well, I’ll tell Cain that you would like to try his pizza,” he said.

I asked “If you have pets, what are you going to do with them if you become president?” He answered, “I don’t have any pets right now, but I love pets. I think if I become president we’ll get a dog.”

I wasn’t able to write everything down because he had long answers and it was taking up too much time. On one of my question cards, he signed the back and wrote “Great questions, Newt.”

I wanted to run out of there with my mom but the reporters stopped me. I knew the answers to the easy questions, like “How old are you?” but some of the reporter’s questions were really hard. I told them, “He’s a good person and I know he’ll make good laws and he’ll set the U.S.A. to some peace. He’s just a really good person and that’s why I’m voting for him.”

I thought Mr. Gingrich was going to look young but I think he looks like the grandfather in the book “Little Women.” I think he would play outside and scooter with me. I think Mrs. Gingrich is more the sort of person that would go on the swings.

I’d like to meet them again because I have a lot more things I’d like to know. For example, I wanted to ask what he does in his free time and if I can come to the Easter Egg Hunt at the White House?

I’d also like to interview President Obama because he’s the most important person in the world. I would like to know if President Obama would ever have a lady for vice president. I hope there is a lady president one day. Also, I want to know if he has ever had pizza with Herman Cain.

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