Ari Garnick, the eight-year-old son of freelance documentary producer and writer Darren Garnick, had an important question for Republican candidates as they visited New Hampshire in anticipation of the GOP primary: If you could be any superhero in the world, who would you be and why?
Ari, a superhero fiend, made the video as part of a project with his dad, according to Comic Riffs. The superhero primary stunt resembles a similar attempt by Darren Garnick during the 2008 campaign to photograph his daughter with all of the candidates.
But Ari's Q&A sessions are less about equating one's superhero of choice with an aptitude for politics than in what the answers given by candidates like Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich and Jon Huntsman reveal about how they deal with a questioner who won't be voting for them, and how their response is spun (or not) through their own particular campaign agendas.
'Republicans in Tights'
Garnick's video is called Republicans in Tights: Behind the Scenes of the 'Superhero Primary,' and the first thing that's noticeable is who the GOP candidates' favorite character is: Superman.
Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney and even a pre-suspended Herman Cain all picked Superman as their favorite superhero, citing his patriotism, his lasting power, and in Cain's case his ability to solve a super mess.
In fact, only Rick Santorum and Jon Huntsman had answers beyond the Man of Steel, with Huntsman choosing Spider-Man from the Marvel universe for his abilities and integrity and Santorum picking Mr. Incredible, weaving his commitment to his loved ones seamlessly into his emphasis on a family values campaign.
Ironically enough, since the choice of Superman by Gingrich, Perry, Romney and Cain was heavily influenced by considerations of patriotism (as Perry said in his answer, Clark Kent came to save the United States), the ultimate illegal alien has been something of an international citizen for decades now.
Ron Paul Ignores, Jon Huntsman Engages
But far more telling than the candidates' answers themselves are the way they dealt with an earnest fourth grader appearing suddenly in their midst.
In the aftermath of eight-year-old Elijah confronting Michele Bachmann about gay marriage, Mitt Romney was perhaps understandably hesitant to engage Ari Garnick before he asked his question, at which point the candidate gamely played along.
Gingrich, in an effort to engage the young boy, gave only a one-word answer before immediately asking him what his favorite character was: after some seconds of Ari expounding on the skills of the Martian Manhunter, however, the Republican candidate quickly looked for someone of voting age he could turn to, instead.
Rick Perry, while giving a prompt and congenial answer, didn't go much beyond the pro-America script. Cain, while spouting off his usual warm-smiling and effusive answers, made the mistake of saying he loved Superman because he loved Kryptonite, yet another classic flub to added to the former candidate's roster.
And Ron Paul, the frontrunner in Iowa and looking to get another win in New Hampshire, allegedly refused even to answer the superhero question, saying I don't know and walking away. Ari Garnick hopes to catch Paul again before the New Hampshire primary, since the Texas representative likely thought the young boy was part of a video-taped set-up like that which snagged Bachmann.
But the most engaging and thought-out answers came, again, from Jon Huntsman and Rick Santorum. Santorum, then at a Greek Orthodoz church festival, had no problem blending his campaign message with a sincere endorsement of the Incredibles movie, while Huntsman, the only Marvel supporter, aligned himself with a hero not because of his political leanings but because he was a fun character that did what was right, an answer much like the one President Obama gave in 2008.
Michele Bachmann: Wonder Woman?
Ari and Darren Garnick finished their New Hampshire primary video without getting the chance to interview Michele Bachmann about her favorite superhero. But the Garnicks have high hopes to catch her before the primary is over.
I'm very curious to hear what Michele Bachmann will say if she makes it back to New Hampshire, Garnick told The Post.
There are not as many women heroes to choose from, he says, but there are much more than are on people's radar.
Below, watch Republicans in Tights: Behind the Scenes of the 'Superhero Primary.'
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