Presidential Candidate Bobby Jindal Under Fire for Using Kids in 'Creepy' Campaign Video

Bobby JindalAs far as presidential campaign announcements go, Bobby Jindal's is a bit unusual. The Louisiana governor announced his intention to seek the Republican party's nomination by releasing a video of him and his wife breaking the news to their three children -- a video taken without the kids' knowledge, via a camera planted overhead.


The video, which looks like it was taken by a crazed paparrazzo snooping on the family from a nearby tree, is about two minutes long. In it, the Jindal children muster about as much enthusiasm for their father's presidential aspirations as is humanly possible when there are already a dozen candidates in the field and there are probably cartoons they could be watching or video games they could be playing instead. They don't appear to know they're on camera -- and they certainly don't sound like they've been set up with a microphone, since Jindal himself is the only one who's clearly audible during the recording:

Children of political families like the Jindals are probably well used to making appearances at public events. We've seen Sasha and Malia Obama at plenty of occasions of state, and before them, the Bush twins and Chelsea Clinton too. At first glance, it doesn't seem too strange to put the Jindal children front and center in this -- albeit rather awkward -- campaign announcement.

Except for one thing: When the Obama or Bush or Clinton kids have appeared at public functions, they knew what they were in for. There's something just a little creepy about filming your kids without warning them -- and then showing that awkwardness to the rest of the English-speaking world. (Or at least the part of the English-speaking world that cares enough about a 13th Republican presidential candidate to sit through the entire video.)

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The video puts me in mind of other videos that parents share on YouTube and Facebook: videos of tantrums, videos of fights, viral videos of their "awesome" punishments for kids' misbehavior. It raises the question of how much parents are entitled to show the rest of the world without their kids' consent. Hopefully Jindal asked his kids after the candid camera session whether it was all right to use the footage as his campaign announcement, although filming them without their knowledge is still a little squicky.

Have I taken video of my toddler sobbing because he fed the dog his last cracker and then realized it was gone? Sure -- I'm only human. Have I posted that video to YouTube? Well, no, and I'm not going to show it to his high school girlfriend, either. Probably. Being in the public eye isn't a free pass to make your kids' lives totally public too, and I hope the Jindal kids are able to enjoy a modicum of privacy in the future, whatever happens with their father's White House ambitions.

Was it wrong for Jindal to use this video of his kids for his campaign announcement?

Image via Bobby Jindal/YouTube

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