As I mentioned a few days ago, President Obama is scheduled to address the nation’s school kids tomorrow via video. In response to concerns raised about the content of the address, the White House has released the text of the speech, presumably in its entirety, on the White House web site. It’s not just a couple of paragraphs but it’s not a completely onerous read, either, so if you’re curious or concerned you should go have a look.
(Thanks for former LoudounExtra blogger Erica Garman for the heads up via re-tweet.)
As I mentioned in that previous post, I didn’t see a problem with the President addressing the schools, not so long as he stayed away from any specific push of his particular legislative agenda. I think you can see that his remarks aren’t giving any rationale to suggest he’s crossing that line. The speech feels a little long on “me, me, me” and short on “family, community, country” to me but that’s just his style. If he follows this script, it’s just an attempt to connect with the kids on a personal level. You can’t really fault someone for trying to do that. And it’s going to be a tough act to accomplish, too, given the wide range of ages that he’s going to be addressing.
I think the communications about this speech were badly mishandled both by the White House and by the Department of Education. Both of them raised questions in what they said and how they said it, giving reasonable people reason to be concerned that the speech was going to be a political pitch. By the time they “clarified” themselves, people were suspicious. Putting the remarks out there for parents to see what’s going to be said first, before it’s broadcast to their kids, was the correct move. It should have been put up at the first announcement and I hope that’s the standard that gets followed in the future regardless of who’s in the Oval Office.