UNIVERSITY CITY • It's clear a few minutes into meeting Gabe Fleisher that he is not your typical 10-year-old.
For one, he offers a business card, printed to promote his daily email blast on what is happening on the national political stage. He talks of Super Tuesday as if it is the Super Bowl.
He gets up at 6 a.m. each weekday morning. After playing with the family dog, Tipper, in the backyard, he grabs the family laptop and begins scouring political websites. Then he encapsulates his findings into an email newsletter known as The Daily Rundown. With his 140 followers updated, Gabe grabs breakfast and walks to Flynn Park School two blocks away.
"I love doing it," Gabe said of his morning routine. "I love informing people. I think it's important they know about their public officials and of the election coming up."
The fourth-grader began sending the emails last April after his mother, Amy, who works in sales at Brown Shoe, suggested Gabe send her updates of what he was learning online. Before that, he would write news articles but didn't publish them.
Soon, his father was getting the emails. Then his parents' friends.
"It snowballed from there," Gabe said.
But Gabe has done some pushing as well, promoting his newsletter to the highest positions of power.
In October, he shook hands with President Barack Obama during a visit here. Moments later, Gabe slipped a copy of The Daily Rundown to one of the president's assistants, along with a note with his name and email address. He did not hear back.
A month later he met David Axelrod, Obama's chief strategist, at a political event in St. Louis. Gabe now sends the Rundown not only to an Axelrod assistant, but — thanks to a family connection — to three White House staffers and Obama re-election headquarters in Chicago.
Gabe's father, Rabbi Randy Fleisher, said his son's political fever heated up after he took Gabe and his sister, Zoey, to Obama's inauguration in January 2009, when Gabe was 7.
"We climbed the steps off the subway stop and you could see the Capitol and the Washington Monument, and the first thing Gabe said was: 'Dad, I feel like I'm inside one of my books.' To see the places he had read about, I think that ramped up his interest."
Gabe called the experience "mind-boggling." He specifically recalls the flubbing of the oath of office by Chief Justice John Roberts. Then he quickly quotes the oath. No bungling.
Gabe sent copies of an essay he wrote about the inauguration to Obama and U.S. Rep. William Lacy Clay, Gabe's congressman. Clay sent Gabe a photo of the congressman alongside Obama.
"Thank you for your wonderful essay," Clay wrote on the framed photo that now hangs in Gabe's bedroom. "The President and I really enjoyed it."
When Gabe sent his newsletter on the day of the Michigan and Arizona primaries last week, he encouraged readers to "get a big bowl of popcorn and watch results tonight." Following the primaries, he had plenty of fodder for his newsletter.
"Romney won a landslide victory in the Grand Canyon State," wrote Gabe. "In the Great Lakes State meanwhile, the results were a LOT closer, with Romney winning by 32,393 votes."
The newsletter also includes Obama's daily schedule. It was not very exciting that day.
"Today the biggest item on President Obama's agenda is a lunch with Vice President Biden and congressional leaders from both sides of the aisle," wrote Gabe. "Sadly, I cannot tell you what the meeting will be about."
Gabe thinks Romney will eventually land the Republican nomination. But not quickly.
"I don't think Super Tuesday will decide it," he said.
Gabe on occasion adds an editorial to his newsletter. He has come out in support of same-sex marriage.
And he's taken a stand on lowering the voting age to 12.
Gabe understands why so many people don't share his passion for politics.
"I don't think the majority of the public is informed," Gabe said. "All the fights in Washington lower the interest so much."
An email blast may seem a bit old-fashioned in a world where social media provides instant access to the latest headlines.
"I've been pressed to start a Facebook page, but I declined," Gabe said, a bit coyly, then explaining that he's too young to have one anyway (the minimum age is 13).
Besides, his goal for growth is humble: an email list of 150 by April, his one-year anniversary.
"I want to keep going as long as I can. If I've got too much schoolwork, I'll drop it. But in the near future, I don't see that happening."
His favorite subjects are reading and social studies, although he says the latter is boring "because I know it or a lot of it."
Gabe is not a showoff but, with some coaxing, he is happy to share what he knows.
"Go ahead. Give me a number between one and 44," he says, referring to the number of U.S. presidents.
"Theodore Roosevelt. He took over from McKinley."
And so it went.
He's a fan of Obama. But he also admires Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who was "always inspiring and strong." Gabe saw actor Ed Asner's portrayal of FDR in a one-man show in St. Charles last year. He's also been to FDR's presidential library as well as those of Clinton, Truman and Lincoln.
On his business card, Gabe refers to himself as "Editor, Writer and Everything Else Imaginable." Not having a second set of eyes does have its disadvantages.
"I often have grammar mistakes and once wrote the numbers wrong for a primary (result). I'm trying to get better at that," Gabe said.
Despite his love for politics, Gabe does not have aspirations to run for elected office. He would rather be a historian, writing about politics or teaching it at the college level.
He's currently researching the history of his school and plans to write a book on his findings.
Tonight, Gabe will be in front of the TV, watching results come in from 10 states. On Wednesday, he'll be up before the sun, ready to share the final tallies with his 140 followers.