…..and got quite the media coverage too, courtesy of Newsbusters:
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.”
Also, damning words from two other Democrats concerned with the cost and the showboating:
Rep. Patricia Schroeder (D-Colo.), chairwoman of the Select Committee on Children, Youth and Families, said it was outrageous for the White House to “start using precious dollars for campaigns” when “we are struggling for every silly dime we can get” for education programs.
Rep. Martin Frost (D-Tex.) said that if Bush feels obliged to use government funds to hire outside consultants “to make him look good,” then he should fire some of the public relations experts on the White House payroll. “Then the president might be more sympathetic to unemployment benefits,” Frost said, referring to Bush’s threat to veto legislation to extend benefits.
However, at the ed.gov website, well GHWB did it too!
Q: Has any other President done something like this?
A: In 1991 President Bush addressed the nation’s students on live television from an American history classroom at Deal Junior High, in Washington, D.C.
Oh, it’s political all right. Concerned about the cost then, but not now? Our precious dollars indeed. At least back in 1991, the arts, athletics and PE weren’t stripped out of public schools yet.
As far as the students being “brainwashed”, I’m not at all worried about that since this early in the school year, they still have summer mush for brains and the attention span of french fries. Most will nap. Not that there’s anything wrong with that 🙂