Hey, Barack Obama and John McCain … move over. You have some pint-sized competition, CBS News correspondent Kelly Wallace reports.
At the Walter S. Boardman Elementary School, just outside of New York City, nine little McCains went up against nine pint-sized Obamas in a debate.
"I John McCain will not keep our troops in Iraq a minute longer than necessary," said one of the McCain proxies.
One little Obama said: "Be sure you vote for me."
And, just like the pros, they bounced right back when things didn't go quite as planned.
One student said: "I also support the amendment of people purchasing … uhh …" and received not applause, but laughter.
"There's a, much greater awareness of the election, the issues and the candidates and how big it is right now, how important it is," said Diane Provvido, the school's social studies supervisor.
The campaign's influence has reached beyond the classroom - to the student council.
At a Long Island middle school, candidates for the council took a page out of the presidential campaign playbook for their own elections. While campaigning, the students could be heard saying, "you can make a difference," and "in this troubled economy … "
"Actually, when I was writing my speech, I was watching the campaign so I was getting a little details to write in my speech," said student Brandon Pecora.
And student Shawn Green touts his experience.
"This is my third year in the school," he said.
Sixth grader Jonathan Rutchik promises change.
"With me as treasurer, you can make a difference," Rutchik said.
Do they think experience will trump change in the Lawrence Middle School?
"Yes," Green said.
Matt Foley, an eighth grader, says he's the treasurer for these troubled economic times. He hands out free chocolate bars - even to his rivals - to sweeten the choice.
Did he get any of those ideas from John McCain or Barack Obama?
"Well, not the chocolate bars. I don't think they hand out chocolate bars," Matt said.
Maybe they should be handing out chocolate bars?
"It might help," he said.
Back at the fourth-grade match up, the spin room was buzzing post-debate.
Did Obama win? Or McCain? It was a tie.
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