Jonathan Krohn, conservative wunderkind, shifts left

GOP prodigy Jonathan Krohn CBS

Jonathan Krohn
GOP prodigy Jonathan Krohn in 2010
CBS

(CBS News) As a squeaky-voiced 14-year-old in 2009, Jonathan Krohn told CBS News' chief Washington correspondent Bob Schieffer the premise of his political views: "I believe that a conservative has a belief system based on four basic principles: Respect for the Constitution, respect for life, less government and personal responsibility."

Three years later, Krohn -- once hailed as a conservative wunderkind -- sees things quite differently. An incoming freshman at New York University, Krohn told Politico this week that he now supports same-sex marriage, supports the Affordable Care Act and would vote for President Obama this year (if he were old enough to vote).

"One of the first things that changed was that I stopped being a social conservative," he told Politico. "It just didn't seem right to me anymore. From there, it branched into other issues, everything from health care to economic issues.... I think I've changed a lot, and it's not because I've become a liberal from being a conservative -- it's just that I thought about it more."

Krohn gained notoriety after speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2009. He published two books on conservatism, managing to score blurbs from high-profile conservatives like Newt Gingrich. On Fox News, the precocious teen was hailed as a "politics prodigy."

His political evolution has gained a good deal of attention from political pundits, with liberals predictably praising his leftward shift and conservatives dismissing it.

Monday, Krohn appeared on the left-leaning show "Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell" on MSNBC, after which O'Donnell said in a video, "I hope he's leading the new movement of 14-year-old conservatives converting to the bright side."

The conservative website Daily Caller, meanwhile, quotes an anonymous conservative who attended CPAC in 2009 and is less than impressed with Krohn. The unnamed person claims Krohn never should've been in the spotlight, calling him "smug, condescending, and obviously completely ignorant of what he was saying."

NewsBusters, which says it is dedicated to "exposing and combating liberal media bias," criticized Politico for the way it framed its story on Krohn, charging the news site equated being "all grown up" with adopting liberal views.

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