WASHINGTON (AP) – On the rockiest day of his young administration, President Barack Obama did what surely made him happy for a while.
With little notice, the president and first lady Michelle Obama bolted the gated compound of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. in their tank of a limousine on Tuesday. They ended up at a Washington public school, greeted by children who could not care less about the collapse of a Cabinet secretary nomination.
“We were just tired of being in the White House,” the president candidly told the gleeful second-graders at Capital City Public Charter School.
“We got out! They let us out!” Mrs. Obama said as the kids and their teachers laughed.
The White House said the Obamas’ trip had been planned, just not publicly announced.
The surprise timing, though, gave the feel of two different worlds.
At the White House, press secretary Robert Gibbs was getting grilled about Tom Daschle’s doomed nomination for health and human services secretary.
Meanwhile, the president was getting questions from boys and girls who are the same age as his seven-year-old daughter, Sasha.
Gee. I’d hate to wonder how he’ll react when he faces a real crisis (heaven forbid). What will he do? Hopefully not send the VP to the 7-11 to pick up coffee, that’s for sure.
This little side trip wasn’t lost on the snarky Maureen Dowd, who quipped:
On 9/11, President Bush learned of disaster while reading “The Pet Goat” to grade-school kids. On Tuesday, President Obama escaped from disaster by reading “The Moon Over Star” to grade-school kids.
Even as he told the children his favorite superheroes were Batman and Spider-Man, his own dream of being the superhero who swoops in to swiftly save America was going SPLAT!
It just ain’t that easy.
Unlike W. and Dick Cheney, who heroically resisted acknowledging their historically boneheaded mistakes, President Obama summoned a conga line of Anderson, Katie, Brian, Chris and Charlie to the Oval Office to do penance, over and over.
“I think I messed up. I screwed up,” he confessed to Couric.
Jennifer Rubin responded by suggesting that Obama had “lost Dowd.” Frankly, I’m not so sure he ever fully had Dowd in his camp, as she strikes me as not liking, well, anyone – which certainly helps when she’s writing “opinion pieces” that make cartoon characters out of everyone she caricatures.
Some people just never grow up, I guess.
Anyway, back to the AP piece – can you imagine how the reaction would have been had it been Bush who ‘slipped away’ and told a bunch of young elementary school kids that he got tired of being in the WH? Portrayals of a ‘bumbling’ ‘stumbling’ president who couldn’t handle the job wouldn’t be far off (Tom Blumer is on the same page).
Prepare for a lot more of these moments, my dear readers. And have at least a four year supply of Extra Strength Tylenol on hand. We’re gonna need it.
Related: Andrew Malcolm writes about “[t]he wondrous ways Obama’s Washington works–and doesn’t get it.”