Obama Sees Gamers as Underachievers

Unlike rival Hillary Clinton, Democratic presidential frontrunner Barack Obama does not have a significant track record with regard to video game content issues.

His speeches, however, often contain a reference to parents making their children “put away the video games.” For Obama, video games seem to serve as a sort of metaphor for underachievement.

The Illinois senator repeated the theme last night in a victory speech following his big win over Clinton in the Wisconsin primary. As reported by the Washington Post, which carried a transcript and video of the speech, Obama said:

I know how hard it will be to alleviate poverty that has built up over centuries, how hard it will be to fix schools, because changing our schools will require not just money, but a change in attitudes.

We’re going to have to parent better, and turn off the television set, and put the video games away, and instill a sense of excellence in our children, and that’s going to take some time.

A day earlier, speaking to a college crowd in Youngstown, Ohio,  Obama made similar remarks. The Youngstown Vindicator reports:

[Obama called for] investments in early childhood education to close the achievement gap, but with an added emphasis on poetry, music and art, not just academics. Obama admonished parents to do their part by turning off the television, putting away the video games, and instilling in their children a desire to get a good education.

Nor is this a new theme for Obama. GamePolitics reported on similar comments as far back as April, 2006.

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