School Speech Uproar Shows Country Divided

In addressing kids, Bush 41 didn't have problems like Obama's
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 4, 2009 12:44 PM CDT
Then-presidential hopeful Barack Obama talks with students at Carver Elementary School during a tour Thursday, Feb. 7, 2008, in New Orleans.   (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
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(Newser) – When George HW Bush gave a televised address to a public school in 1991 and urged schools around the country to show it in class, no one much cared. When President Obama announced plans to do the same, he drew outrage and comparisons to Chairman Mao. That’s America in 2009. "The country is far more polarized," Todd Gillman writes for the Dallas Morning News.

Back then, CNN was considered neutral, Fox and MSNBC didn’t exist, and Bush aroused few passions. “Sometime between Bork and impeachment it became progressively less civil,” says a political researcher. The Obama administration also hurt itself by using the “c” word, suggesting the speech be added to the curriculum. “The Department of Education is prohibited from doing anything with curriculum,” says a Bush education official. The word “is radioactive.”