White House Annoyed by School Lunch Campaign

Filed under: Celeb Kids, In The News, Mealtime, Nutrition: Big Kids, Nutrition: Tweens

Did this public service announcement cross the line? Credit: Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine

When it comes to the First Daughters, everything is off-limits. Even if it's for a good cause.

White House officials are annoyed by an ad campaign that promotes healthier school lunches because it specifically mentions Sasha and Malia Obama.

Officials are taking issue with a particular poster created by the Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine (PCRM) because of the following tag line: "President Obama's daughters get healthy school lunches. Why don't I?"

In an interview with The Washington Post, President Neal Barnard said that he was asked to take the posters down but declined to do so. Barnard said that the request did not come from the First Family directly; he believes it came from the President's "handlers." These "handlers" did not directly threaten legal action, but Barnard felt that was implied if he did not remove the posters.

After consulting with First Amendment attorney Jonathan Emord, Barnard and his lawyer agree that PCRM has every right to reference what the First Daughters have for lunch. Emord said that if the President's staffers tried to have the posters removed, he believes "the president... would never stand for it... It would basically amount to censorship."

Still, why mention Sasha and Malia at all?

"The direct comparison is: You have affluent children with access to healthy foods, and disadvantaged children have the same rights to the same kinds of healthy meals as affluent kids," Barnard said. "And we are fighting for that fairness, so we felt that making that statement as directly as we could was important."

The cause is clearly a good one. Healthy eating is a habit that should be learned at a young age. And the campaign will certainly bring more attention to the issue of healthy school lunches, even if it's not the sort of attention that Barnard claims he wanted.

"If this story comes out as Obama versus us, I don't want that story," he said, although Barnard was the one who contacted The Washington Post, according to the article.

What does the PCRM think kids should be having for lunch? Vegan and vegetarian food. The first step, of course, is for schools to offer vegetarian food as an option. The next step is getting children to eat it.

That might be an even bigger challenge.

Are you happy with the lunches your children are served at school?

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