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Saturday, September 05, 2009

 
When The Democrats Opposed Presidential School Speeches

NewsBusters reports something vaguely similar to Obama's upcoming speech to the schools:

As Barack Obama prepares a nationwide broadcast to America's students next Tuesday, it has been revealed that Democrats complained in 1991 when then President George H. W. Bush broadcast a speech from a Northwest Washington junior high school.

In fact, the House Majority leader at the time, Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.), said "The Department of Education should not be producing paid political advertising for the president, it should be helping us to produce smarter students."

Link via Volokh conspirator Jim Lindgren, to whom I emailed these observations (his post has comments disabled):

I do note one key difference between that event and Obama's upcoming gig:

"Bush told students to write him to let him know how they were doing in school and to suggest ways to help achieve his national education goals — to increase the graduation rate, improve student competency and better prepare students for entering school."

Bush asked for students to contribute their policy ideas regarding universally supported goals specifically tied to education. Anyone think Obama will make such a gesture? He's never asked everyday adult citizens to turn in their suggestions.

Also, did Bush's Education Secretary send out detailed lesson plans revolving around the speech?

There's one detail missing from the article: did any students other than those at Alice Deal Junior High hear the live broadcast of Bush's address? It seems like Bush was delivering a speech to the nation at large and not exclusively to schoolchildren, as in Obama's case.

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