BEAUMONT, TEXAS -- Barack Obama assumed the role of Dr. Phil at a town hall meeting in Texas, where he coached over a thousand jumping and cheering people on parenting skills and healthy eating, while they listened and laughed.
"Can I make this one last point? I hope I'm not offending anybody," Obama said, "It doesn't matter how much money we put in (education) if parents don't parent."
"So turn off the TV set. Put the video game away. Buy a little desk or put that child at the kitchen table. Watch them do their homework. If they don't know how to do it give 'em help. If you don't know how to do it, call the teacher Make them go to bed at a reasonable time. Keep 'em off the streets. Give 'em some breakfast. Can I get an Amen here?"
Obama went on to give additional advice, ranging from "don't cuss out the teacher" to "don't eat Popeye's for breakfast". The crowd cheered as if they were at a comedy shop and not a political event.
At one point, a local man told Obama that it was evident that the crowd was "in the palm of your hands," but he wanted him to address a more serious issue: experience.
"You're the junior Senator from Illinois and you have not finished your first term," the voter said.
"And you've got this audience all in the palm of your hands, but you have 200 million people that you have to convince by November, that you have the experience to take over all these issues. How do you tell them that you have the experience?"
Although the crowd booed at the question, Obama said it was a legitimate one and that he has been addressing it continuously over the past 13 months.
"We've now had primaries and caucuses in 35 states and there are a whole bunch of people who appear satisfied by my response. Let me give it once again," Obama said before speaking about his record at length.
"I haven't been in Washington as long as some of the other candidates, so if your criteria for who the best equipped is to be president is how long you've been there, then we shouldn't have even had a primary and a caucus, we could have just looked at Joe Biden, who'd been there the longest and settled it that way. But I think what the American people are looking for is not just longevity, but they're looking for judgment."
The questioner appeared satisfied with the response and walked up to stage to shake Obama's hand as the crowd cheered him on.