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Parenting Tips from Obama Please a Crowd

Updated 9:06 a.m.
By Shailagh Murray
BEAUMONT, Texas -- It's more about heft than hope these days as Sen. Barack Obama tries to lock up victories in the Lone Star State and in Ohio on Tuesday. His speeches are bordering on wonkish, packed with details about energy and education and worrisome talk about the economy.

But at a townhall meeting here before a mostly African American audience this afternoon, Obama couldn't resist a brief exegesis on one of his favorite subjects, parenting -- and he got a foot-stomping response worthy of an evangelical church service in reply.

The Illinois senator raised the issue at the end of a lengthy answer to a question about education. After discussing teacher pay, afterschool programs, summer school and recess, Obama added, "Can I make this one last point?"

"It's not good enough for you to say to your child, 'Do good in school.' And then your child comes home, you've got the TV set on, you've got the radio on, you don't check their homework, there's not a book in the house, you've got the video game playing."

The crowd cheered. Women started dancing at their seats, fists waving.

"So, turn off the TV set, put the video game away, buy a little desk," Obama continued. "Watch them do their homework. If they don't know how to do it, give them help. If you don't know how to do it, call the teacher. Make them go to bed at a reasonable time. Give them some breakfast."

His words became almost inaudible as the audience shrieked in delight.

"Can I get an 'Amen' here?" Obama joked.

"All right, all right. Since I'm on a roll, if your child misbehaves in school, don't cuss out the teacher. You know I'm right about that. Don't cuss out the teacher, do something with your child. I'm speaking the truth. I'm telling you, I won't just tell you what you want to hear."

Revved up by the reception to his lecture on raising good students, Obama turned to another parenting challenge, healthy eating habits. This time he addressed African Americans directly.

"Here's an example where once again I gotta talk about us a little bit. We, we can't keep on feeding our children junk all day long, giving them no exercise," he said. "They're overweight by the time they're four or five years old and then we're surprised when they get sick. And then we expect that they're going to get treated for things like adult diabetes that children never used to get. I mean, that's why it was called adult diabetes. But now kids as young as 8, 9, 10 years old are getting it because they are obese. So part of what my health care plan does then is we work with parents, work with families to change nutrition habits."

Just as before, the crowd loved it.

"Look," Obama continued, "I gotta 9-year-old daughter and a 6-year-old daughter, so I know how hard it is to get kids to eat properly, but I also know that if we are, if folks are just letting kids drink eight sodas a day, -- which some parents do -- or you know, eat a bag of potato chips for lunch or Popeye's for breakfast -- y'all have Popeye's down in Beaumont? Alright. I know some of you all, you get that cold Popeye's out for breakfast! I know! That's why you all laughing. I caught you out. You can't do that! Children have to have proper nutrition."

By Web Politics Editor  |  February 28, 2008; 5:37 PM ET
 
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I am male, Catholic, an Iraq War and Gulf War veteran, a registered libetarian, and conservative pro-life father who feels the world is stacked against my three children.

With that said, and with all the desperate attacks on the man by other candidates, the outright racist hate towards him, and his consistently exemplary handling of every challenge put in front of him that I've witnessed, there has got to be something about Obama that is shaking up the malaise of American governance.

I am all for it. The rest of the status quo is sweating I am sure.

I'm voting for Obama.

Posted by: ssgmack | March 2, 2008 1:19 PM | Report abuse

My problem isn't with Hillary's positions. They are good. They are similar to Obama's. Yes, she does have more experience. My problem with HRC is that she is too divisive. She doesn't bring people together--she pushes people away. I don't think that is the type of president we want. She would be similar to Bush in how she handles disagreements. Look at her now..she gets angry easily, she whines when she thinks people are being unfair. She acts like a child sometimes. As a world leader that is not what we need. We need someone that can handle all of the negative attacks that will come our way.

Not that I was a Regan supporter but look at how things just slid off of him--they called him the Teflon president. It was his way of handling his detractors. He was able to get things done because people genuinely liked him--on both sides.

Obama has that quality of respect. He will treat you like an individual. He will not dismiss or insult people even if he doesn't agree with them. He will garner more support in thing he needs.

It is just like in everyday business. Someone can be smarter but the person with the best people skills is usually the one that gets ahead. He is more interpersonal than Hillary and that is what will make him a good president.

He does have some weaknesses in experience. But on the other hand he is smart enough to surround himself with good advisors. A great president can be someone that builds a great team and then leads them to be great. He would inspire loyalty and a need to do their best. I don't think that necessarily happens in all situations. A great leader inspires others. That is his gift and I think it is time for us to elect someone with that ability.

Posted by: nenmolledo | March 1, 2008 8:32 AM | Report abuse

I do not think your item 3 has any merit whatsover.
Posted by: J_thinks
=================

I'm not sure if you are disputing my contention the Clintons do not merit the charge or Sen Obama's complicity. If you are claiming the Clintons are racist, you should have no trouble providing a conclusive example. I'd be interested to read about it.

Posted by: zukermand | February 29, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

yugi81891- Learn to write.

If you want to talk about time and attendance, note that Hillary missed more Senate votes than Obama and McCain missed more than both of them.

Posted by: BlahBlahBlah314 | February 29, 2008 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Senator Obama's parenting tips may be common sense, but they are accurate and I recall him espousing these along with parental activism with schools to keep kids motivated and energized about education. This movement, momentum, wave, whatever - has a two part message, one of a promide that he can be an agent of change in Washington but that this works only with our involvement. I welcome that.

To indlouis - Senator Obama's oversight committee on NATO and its relations with Afghanistan does NOT have direct oversight on the war in Afghanistan or NATO's role in that war. His is a sub-committee of that larger body, which has held several hearings. On the other hand, after watching the Clems hearing this week, and thinking back on some other memorable hearings, this committee not meeting could be good thing. These hearing break down along party lines and seem to accomplish little.

Posted by: tedescoj | February 29, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse

zukermund - I have followed a lot of this and while I appreciate and can totally understand your first two responses, I do not think your item 3 has any merit whatsover. And is strictly your opinion or one you have heard or developed after reading some of teh immature postings on this board.

Posted by: J_thinks | February 29, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

While I will vote with gusto for either Democratic nominee in November, the three reasons I will vote for Sen Clinton in the NC primary are:

1. While their policy proposals are similar, as a matter of degree, Sen Clinton's are more realistic and progressive, particularly on health insurance and poverty alleviation

2. While my impression of Sen Obama relies primarily on his 2004 convention speech and this campaign, I don't have a substantive level of assurance I can anticipate his performance. On the other hand, I do feel Sen Clinton has firmly established a commonality of goals and values with me and I can anticipate her performance reliably.

3. The cynical leveling of specious charges of racism at the Clintons really irks me. It's just too GOP for my taste. I think Sen Obama has encouraged this and I strongly disapprove.

Posted by: zukermand | February 29, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

INDLOUIS you should applaud Mr. Obama for his spititual committment. It proves that he would not only use good judgement as a president but will also use the and ask for the guidance of the Almighty God. He will seek to do good. shame on you.

Posted by: elliesucre | February 29, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Before posting anything else on "subcommittee" - please go and look up what a subcommittee function is.....heres a hint focus on the word "sub" as in subordinate to another committe charged with doing the same thing but to a greater macro degree. This is why the press has moved on from this petty item.

But if you want to lacth onto the "next" big thing, obama does not have a pet in his house, ohhhh a pet hater, or maybe he ate them after some ritual he performed in his basement, yeah thats it. We got em now boys. Pathetic

Posted by: J_thinks | February 29, 2008 9:51 AM | Report abuse

LOL, yes, flarrfan, those pesky facts do get annoying after awhile especially when Mr. Obama does not adequately address the discrepancy between his words ("I will solve our international problems") and his actions ("I did nothing as chair of the foreign relations subcommittee"). There's always someone or something else to blame -the current administration this time, eh? Guess this is all part of the 'silly season'. - LOL.

Posted by: jcmdstep1 | February 28, 2008 07:17 PM


This is just a negative person. They offer no better solution/candidate. No person or candidate is perfect you can find flaws in jesus christ himself. The point is to elect the person who has the biggest upside or most positives. I am sorry that so many of us live with negativity.

Posted by: scootab | February 29, 2008 8:17 AM | Report abuse

brigettepj wrote, "This article was brought to you by Obama Shillag Murray of the Washington Obama Propaganda Post!"

Brigette, if you think Shillag or the WP are biased, why do you continue to come to this site? For someone who doesn't like WP.com, you seem to spend most of your day here.

As an independent, I'm very turned off by the frustrated temper tantrums of some of the Hillary supporters who accuse every animate and inanimate object around them of bias. Some of the Obama supporters seem over-enthusiastic but they're probably post-teens. Let's all calm down. There's not much difference between the candidates.

I'm more concerned about the hundred-year-war, torture-loving, "let them eat cake" McCain. If Democrats have any sense, they would unite and defeat Darth Vader.

Posted by: DrSubtle | February 29, 2008 7:58 AM | Report abuse

Looking down the road which state is Michelle Obama going to pick to run for the U.S. senate in this new episode of "Dynasty".

Posted by: sam51 | February 29, 2008 7:50 AM | Report abuse

yugi81891

So is Obama to let Bush and McCain the war monga man just attack him. Also did you read McCain books all he care about is killing and starting wars he is still mad that he didn't get a chance to bomb japan. A war that was started b/c america stole Hawaii!

So you rather have Clinton back under the oval desk getting a bJ then someone who does have good ideals. Obama economic policies has specialist saying Obama ideals are good. When it come to Hillary do you even listen. All she care about is the power all she talks about is how she can beat up the republican. Now are you tired of the same old games of good ideals going to die becouse both the republican and democrat party dislike each other so bad that nothing get done? There also was a time when the jews and black fought beside each other for there rights but once jews became white they now think they are better than any human. Just remember this one thing there would not be an United States today if it wasn't for the blacks in the revolution war coming to help america when the British was clearly winning. But after all of that we were still treated wrong the same way you are judging Obama. I don't think you care about polices but race. Thanks man of God

Posted by: ikerockthehouse | February 29, 2008 1:44 AM | Report abuse

wow...this man is brillant ...totally profound insight........he must have invented parenting skills.

let's all go vote for man who is totally empty on political substance.

all hat and no cattle. let's hear him talk about reality!!!!!!!!!!!

it's easy to talk about common sense. I want facts...real problem solving!!!!!!!

give me a break obama. you and michelle are bad for America. people, start reading all you can about them. they are racist!!!!

Posted by: plainjane1 | February 29, 2008 1:34 AM | Report abuse

Yes little children. You should attend an Afrocentric church that believes the white middle class is your oppressor. A church that gives Louis Farrakhan an award for being a great man.

Posted by: brigittepj | February 29, 2008 12:53 AM | Report abuse

actually the oversight committee which obama chairs doesn't oversee issues concerning Afghanistan, that is the responsibility of a different committee. that's just another lie from the clinton camp put out knowing that the general public doesn't know enough specifics to pick up on their lie.

Posted by: mooya.ndulo | February 29, 2008 12:51 AM | Report abuse

ebukuk2004 @10:15p, 28.Feb:

Perhaps you could focus your undoubtedly formidable intelligence on developing a rational or articulate argument against Obama's candidacy. Even your most ardent Obama supporter would admit that there are legitimate grounds for challenging his ideas and positions. Your apparent need to propogate prejudice and project hatred does nothing to advance your political cause or this debate. Your comments make a strong case against diversity, just not in the way you'd like. It's thinking like yours that makes it difficult for me to take pride in being an American. Surely you can do better.

Posted by: jackie.harlow | February 28, 2008 11:27 PM | Report abuse

I've watched all the democratic debates and there is one similarity with Mr. Obama on all these debates. Mr. Obama always agreed with Hillary ideas. Hillary was right Mr. Obama doesn't have his own ideas. Mr. Obama really known as PLAGIARISM.

Posted by: yugi81891 | February 28, 2008 10:30 PM | Report abuse

Jewish community do not be fool by Obama's promises. Obama make lots of promises just to get elected. Obama and his wife is so power hungry. Obama talking like he is the elected president already. He did not even confirmed as democreat winner. Obama is so arrogant. I hope things turn around and Hillary wins the democrat nomination. Did anybody noticed during the New Hampshire primary when he lost. Obama looks dead and his wife tried to pulled him out of that catatonic feeling. Obama is so naive when it come to economy and how to handle foreign policy. God bless us all becuase Obama will a conference with all the terrorists as what Obama always said " I will invite our friends and enemies when I become the president. Obama where were you when 9/11 happened? Too busy writing your books and contemplating to run for US president?Americans people use your good judgement before you vote for this guy. I hope our Jewish friends are reading this message. Obama has a nerve to criticize John Mccain while Mr. Mccain had serve in the vietnam war. Mr. Obama what did you serve aside from giving those good specches. Now you're talking about poverty in Ohio and Texas that you will do this and that. Is there no poor people in Illinois because Mr. Obama help to eliminate them when he won the Illinois senate? Give us a break here with all your promises and speeches. fool the media so they will have a high rating with the viewers.

Posted by: yugi81891 | February 28, 2008 10:21 PM | Report abuse

Ya, his supporters need advice from him. Look at your street corner.

Posted by: ebubuk2004 | February 28, 2008 10:15 PM | Report abuse

amcrazy707,

Maybe Obama should not have used his position as co-chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee to earn points for his strength in foreign policy on Tuesday in the Cleveland debate. He opened the door to the question and I'm sure he regrets it.

Posted by: redhiker | February 28, 2008 10:00 PM | Report abuse

ebukuk2004,

I am a Hillary supporter and I do not appreciate your irrelevent comments about Michele Obama. She is not running for President and you are not doing Hillary any favors.

Posted by: redhiker | February 28, 2008 9:57 PM | Report abuse

When Hillary is President...

I hate to break this to you, Brigittepj, but Hillary's not going to be President, at least not in this election cycle. Just do the math. Even giving her a 5% win in both Texas and Ohio leaves her at an almost insurmountable deficit. The media may like to present this as a close race, but it's not. For all intents and purposes, this thing is done. And on March 5, it'll be official.

Posted by: RyanMcC1 | February 28, 2008 8:37 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and I forgot to mention. This article was brought to you by Obama Shillag Murray of the Washington Obama Propaganda Post!

Posted by: brigittepj | February 28, 2008 8:19 PM | Report abuse

ebubuk2004:

I READ THE ARTICLE.

I READ THE ARTICLE.

I READ THE ARTICLE.

Did you?

Posted by: bhotchkin | February 28, 2008 8:17 PM | Report abuse

somua2 wrote:
The article's on education, not child poverty so if you feel you must talk about Clinton's plans please talk about relevant plans.
_________________

Well, hell, Somie, you just can't take care of those children if you can't "buy a little desk", buy them a book, or feed them breakfast, now can you? Why is everything Barack says supposed to be a revelation? His comments were just common sense. Well, people DID cheer when he blew his nose! Go figure.

Posted by: brigittepj | February 28, 2008 8:14 PM | Report abuse

How is it racist to do a thesis on the racist divide. As a white male, even I can see that it is a relevant discussion. Insecure people always rant that every discussion involving race has to be racist. Where was your outrage when Bill Clinton was dropping the race card or when Shill O Reilly was talking about "Lynching" Michelle?

Posted by: mreal197 | February 28, 2008 8:10 PM | Report abuse

What happened to her PARENTS?


READ ABOUT Michelle OBAMA, she is the MOST RACIST person since DAVID DUKE.

READ ABOUT Michelle OBAMA, she is the MOST RACIST person since DAVID DUKE.

READ ABOUT Michelle OBAMA, she is the MOST RACIST person since DAVID DUKE.

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0208/8642.html

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0208/8642.html

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0208/8642.html

Posted by: ebubuk2004 | February 28, 2008 7:42 PM | Report abuse

READ ABOUT Michelle OBAMA, she is the MOST RACIST person since DAVID DUKE.

READ ABOUT Michelle OBAMA, she is the MOST RACIST person since DAVID DUKE.

READ ABOUT Michelle OBAMA, she is the MOST RACIST person since DAVID DUKE.

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0208/8642.html

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0208/8642.html

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0208/8642.html

Posted by: ebubuk2004 | February 28, 2008 7:41 PM | Report abuse

Ok so let me get this straight...you're bashing Obama about an oversight committee, which he has only been on for a short time before launching his presidential campaign but Hillary has all the experience(almost the equivalent of over half her age), been in the senate longer and has done what about the situation again? If you're gonna argue a point atleast make it about the fact that it proves he has not had the time to get very much accomplished before running for prez.

Posted by: amcrazy707 | February 28, 2008 7:39 PM | Report abuse

LOL, yes, flarrfan, those pesky facts do get annoying after awhile especially when Mr. Obama does not adequately address the discrepancy between his words ("I will solve our international problems") and his actions ("I did nothing as chair of the foreign relations subcommittee"). There's always someone or something else to blame -the current administration this time, eh? Guess this is all part of the 'silly season'. - LOL.

Posted by: jcmdstep1 | February 28, 2008 7:17 PM | Report abuse

lndlouis @6:38:

don't know all the details about the committee stuff,

but I would say that Senator Obama has been busy trying to prevent another debacle--
another Clinton in the White House.

Posted by: bhotchkin | February 28, 2008 7:10 PM | Report abuse

This oversight committee talking point is getting old, and I have yet to see anyone note the proper response...what good is an oversight committee on Afghanistan when the current administration puts all its eggs in the Iraq basket? Is there anyone that seriously thinks a meeting of a Senate oversight committee is going to do more good in re-focusing the military effort on Afghanistan that Obama BY HIMSELF is doing on the campaign trail raising the issue every day to thousands of people? We have too many do-nothing committees in Congress already...when you can get more attention to an issue on the stump in a campaign, what fool is going to say, Oh Yeah, let's have a committee meeting.

It would be nice if I never saw this ridiculous talking point again. Like the "present" vote issue, it ignores the reality of what is really going on and what needs to be done about it.

Posted by: flarrfan | February 28, 2008 6:57 PM | Report abuse

hey Birgittepj:
The article's on education, not child poverty so if you feel you must talk about Clinton's plans please talk about relevant plans. Also, the whole point of voting for Obama is that we want change NOW and we want someone who can deliver that change. We don't want change by 2020 or by the beginning of a second term. Therefore, I voted for Obama because he can deliver change. Oh and his plans for education? Well they include modifying NCLB and funding it NOW, giving tax breaks to students going to college NOW, and creating scholarships for recruiting teachers NOW. Of course that's not all but it illustrates the point that he has detailed plans too; I just think he's more likely to get his plans through.

Posted by: somua2 | February 28, 2008 6:54 PM | Report abuse

meanwhile, back at the ranch

"Mr. Obama has also criticized the war in Iraq because , he opined, it took the focus off Afghanistan. Now we know that for about a year, Senator Obama is the Chair of a Senate Committee with oversight of the situation in Afghanistan , but the Committee has never met. Mr. Obama was too busy promoting his book that was a forerunner activity to his actual campaign for the Presidency. Yet, Mr. Obama is saying that he took leave from the campaign to attend a special function at his Church. He is too busy to call a meeting of the Senate oversight committee, which he uses as part of his foreign policy resume, but he could take time off to attend a Church function! Does this reflect good "judgment"? Was Mr. Obama "right" this time?"

Posted by: lndlouis | February 28, 2008 6:38 PM | Report abuse

good advice

i have actually been doing that since, before Obama was born

but thank god we have him to come along to tell us what we already know

he is a cutie, i'll give him that

Posted by: lndlouis | February 28, 2008 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Did supporters cheer at either of the other candidates' appearances today? I look forward to reading the reports.

Posted by: zukermand | February 28, 2008 6:21 PM | Report abuse

When Hillary is President, the most vulnerable children will no longer take a back seat to the most powerful special interests. They will once again have a doer, a fighter, and a champion in the White House.

* The following are key elements from Hillary's plan: Giving Every Child a Chance.

You can access the full plan here: http://www.hillaryclinton.com/news/release/view/?id=6246

* The plan is aimed at achieving two big goals:

1. Cutting child poverty in half by the year 2020, lifting 6 million children above the poverty line.

2. Ending child hunger in America by the beginning of Hillary's second term in office.

Posted by: brigittepj | February 28, 2008 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Amen. I hope voters/parents are listening.

Posted by: ngom | February 28, 2008 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Obama is a great campaigner, that is the singular lesson here. Hillary cannot even begin to compete with this, which is why she always wants to get everyone talking about something...anything else. Today it's money raised, what will it be tomorrow? Obama is going to administer another beatdown in Texas.

Posted by: gmundenat | February 28, 2008 6:01 PM | Report abuse

OK...as a teacher, I'd give Mr. Obama a huge amen.....

Posted by: mythbusters | February 28, 2008 5:46 PM | Report abuse

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