July 18, 2007 1:13 PM
ABC News' Teddy Davis and Lindsey Ellerson Report:
"I remember Alan Keyes . . . I remember him using this in his campaign against me," Obama said in reference to the conservative firebrand who ran against him for the U.S. Senate in 2004. Sex education for kindergarteners had become an issue in his race against Keyes because of Obama’s work on the issue as chairman of the health committee in the Illinois state Senate.
"'Barack Obama supports teaching sex education to kindergarteners,'" said Obama mimicking Keyes' distinctive style of speech. "Which -- I didn’t know what to tell him (laughter)."
"But it’s the right thing to do," Obama continued, "to provide age-appropriate sex education, science-based sex education in schools." Oh, as long as it is "science-based". For a moment there I was worried.
Speaking to a young woman (how young, I wonder) who asked a question about sex education, Obama said, "You, as a peer, can have enormous power over your age cohort but you’ve got to have some support from the schools. You certainly should not have to be fighting each and every instance by providing accurate information outside of the classroom because inside the classroom the only thing that can be talked about is abstinence." There you go, parents. Tomorrow's headline: "Obama urges school children to learn about sex on the playground-- Candidate seeks to ameliorate the damaging effects of abstinence advocacy".
"Keep in mind: I honor and respect young people who choose to delay sexual activity," Obama continued. "I’ve got two daughters, and I want them to understand that sex is not something casual. Please make sure you send in those parent-of-the-year nominations. That's something that we definitely want to communicate and should be part of any curriculum. But we also know that when the statistics tell us that nearly half of 15 to 19 year olds are engaging in sexual activity, that for us to leave them in ignorance is potentially consigning them to illness, pregnancy, poverty, and in some cases, death." Hard not to laugh, but crying helps.