Dungog Public School “prime minister” Chelsea Gallagher with US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Julia Gillard yesterday.IT was that unforgettable moment when a prime minister meets the US President in Parliament House, Canberra.
But it was not the nation’s leader, Julia Gillard, who embraced Barack Obama.
To read the Herald’s opinion on the presidential visit, click here.
She had to settle for a kiss and back pat.
Instead it was Chelsea Gallagher, the 12-year-old ‘‘prime minister’’ of Dungog Public School, who wrapped her arms around the world’s most powerful man yesterday.
To see pictures of Barack Obama’s visit to Australia, click below.
‘‘I said ‘hello’ and then I asked him if I could have a hug and he gave me one,’’ said Chelsea, whose school voted her ‘‘prime minister’’ (rather than captain) this year.
‘‘We were just there at the right time.’’
Chelsea described the experience as ‘‘amazing’’.
‘‘He was really cool, and had the biggest smile on his face when he walked into the foyer and saw us all,’’ she told the Newcastle Herald.
US President Barack Obama tries his hand at Australian slang during a speech at a state dinner in Canberra. Click below.
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Mr Obama spotted the children and said ‘‘Whoa. Hello everyone,’’ then exclaimed ‘‘G’day’’. He mingled with the children for a couple of minutes before telling them: ‘‘Fantastic. Well, wonderful to meet you guys. Thank you so much.’’
Chelsea said Mr Obama spotted the badges worn by herself and classmate Laura Inwood, and asked them questions about her PM role.
‘‘I wasn’t really sure what to say so I just told him I’m trying to help the school,’’ Chelsea said.
Chelsea revealed she had been corresponding by email with Ms Gillard for the past few months after learning year six would be visiting Parliament House.
‘‘I was looking on the internet and found a website where you could contact her by email so I did and she wrote back,’’ she said.
Chelsea shared a few emails with Ms Gillard, who sent a letter and signed photograph to Chelsea’s Dungog home.
When she realised her trip to the nation’s capital would coincide with Mr Obama’s visit she emailed Ms Gillard and asked if her school might meet him.
Chelsea and Laura led a group of 140 schoolchildren from Dungog and Darley Primary in Bacchus Marsh, Victoria, who greeted the President. Although the school group had plenty more stops before returning home tomorrow, Chelsea said yesterday’s meeting would be hard to top.
But despite her lofty status at school and her interest in politics, Chelsea said she wanted to pursue a career as a singer.
‘‘It seems pretty hard, ruling the states or the country,’’ she laughed.