Right-Wing Lunatics Attack Back-to-School Speech By "Pied Piper Obama"

WASHINGTON, Sept 7, 2009 (AFP) -- President Barack Obama planned to urge children to study hard and stay in school in a back-to-school address Tuesday that had some conservatives seeing red.



"Every single one of you has something you're good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is," Obama said Monday in remarks prepared for delivery.


"That's the opportunity an education can provide."


The president was to make the back-to-school speech at a high school in Arlington, Virginia, and it was to be aired in schools throughout the country.


Some school districts decided not to air the speech, others said they would leave the decision to teachers and school principals, and some offered opt-outs for children whose parents do not want them to see or hear the address.


"You can't drop out of school and just drop into a good job. You've got to work for it and train for it and learn for it," Obama warned, adding "this isn't just important for your own life and your own future.


"What you make of your education will decide nothing less than the future of this country."


White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said a text of the speech was posted on the White House website in advance for all of those with doubts about it to see.


"I think it's a sad, sad day that the political back and forth has intruded on anyone speaking to schoolchildren and teachers and parents about the responsibilities that they have as we enter a new school year," he told reporters.


Some conservative critics feared that the aim of the speech was to recruit US kids to the liberal cause and brainwash them with socialism.


Their ire was sparked in part by a "Menu of Classroom Activities" which the Department of Education sent to schools around the country when the speech was announced. One of the activities suggested that school children write about "how they could help the president."


"That's Obama-centric. It's not focused on education but on the worship of Barack Obama," Michael Leahy, spokesman for the conservative grassroots Nationwide Tea Party Coalition, told AFP.


"This is indoctrination, pure and simple, into the cult of Barack Obama, and we are opposed to that," he said.


Jim Greer, chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, raged that "Pied Piper Obama" was going "into the American classroom" to spread socialist ideology.


But Obama's speech merely drew a link between personal responsibility and patriotism.


"What you're learning in school today will determine whether we as a nation can meet our greatest challenges in the future," the president said in a text of the speech released by the White House.


"You'll need the knowledge and problem-solving skills you learn in science and math to cure diseases like cancer and AIDS, and to develop new energy technologies and protect our environment.

"I think it's a sad, sad day that the political back and forth has intruded on anyone speaking to schoolchildren and teachers and parents about the responsibilities that they have as we enter a new school year," he told reporters.


Some conservative critics feared that the aim of the speech was to recruit US kids to the liberal cause and brainwash them with socialism.

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