When a group of 6th graders from Iowa started planning their class trip to Washington, one of the most anticipated highlights was a tour of the White House. That is, until the White House cancelled all tours following the across-the-board budget cuts known as "the sequester."
After hearing the news that their long-planned White House tour had been cancelled, the disappointed students from St. Paul's Lutheran School sought to make their voices heard, shouting “The White House is our house! Please let us visit!” in a web video. The students' message spread, growing into online lobbying campaign to restore the tours.
"It's really amazing," one student told Politics Confidential. "We could have never have thought it would get this far."
The students, who arrived in Washington Friday, were enjoying a tour of the Capitol building when Politics Confidential met up with them. "Wow!" the students said in unison when asked about their first impressions of the Capitol.
Karen Thalacker, a parent chaperone along for the trip, admits that it's been "pretty overwhelming" how fast and far the kids' message spread, but says it's been a a great lesson in leadership for the students.
"I think they're showing our President and Congress a great example of how things can work and I think people were so inspired by their spontaneous display of patriotism and that is what has moved people," Thalacker says. "These kids aren't Democrats, they're not Republicans, they're American kids who want to see the White House, and everybody should be let in regardless of who's living there."
While it doesn't look like the kids are going going to get their tour of the White House, their campaign has made a difference for future student groups. President Obama told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos last week that the administration is working to find a way to accommodate student tours.
Despite the disappointment of missing out on a White House tour, Thalacker says the kids have handled the situation well.
"The kids have a great attitude about it, and they will be thrilled when the White House tours get reopened as soon as possible," Thalacker says.
To hear more about the St. Paul Lutheran School's trip to Washington and their campaign to get White House tours back up and running, check out this episode of Politics Confidential.
ABC's Eric Wray and Mary Bruce contributed to this episode.
- Politics & Government
- the White House