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Obama's Pep Rally: The Class Clown Responds

(Win McNamee/Getty Images)

President Obama delivered an inspirational back-to-school speech to America's students Tuesday; our colleague Joe Heim channeled the class smart aleck in the back row:

The president: Hello everybody -- how's everybody doing today?

Excellent, thanks. This gets me out of physics.

And no matter what grade you're in, some of you are probably wishing it were still summer, and you could've stayed in bed just a little longer this morning.

I'm wishing my parents were right-wingers who kept me home so I could have stayed in bed all day.

When I was young, my family lived overseas. ... My mother didn't have the money to send me where all the American kids went to school. ... She decided to teach me extra lessons herself... But whenever I'd complain, my mother would just give me one of those looks and say, "This is no picnic for me either, buster."

"Buster"? Were you a kid in the 1920s?

I've talked about your parents' responsibility for making sure you stay on track, and you get your homework done, and don't spend every waking hour in front of the TV or with the Xbox.

You should see how much time my parents spend on the Xbox.

None of it will matter unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities: Unless you show up to those schools; unless you pay attention to those teachers; unless you listen to your parents, grandparents and other adults; and put in the hard work it takes to succeed.

This sounds suspiciously like socialist code for paying attention, taking responsibility and working hard.

Every single one of you has something you're good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. ... Maybe you could be a good writer -- maybe even good enough to write a book or articles in a newspaper.

Good enough for a newspaper? Talk about aiming low.

And no matter what you want to do with your life -- I guarantee that you'll need an education to do it.

What about Flavor Flav? Or Britney? Or Levi Johnston?

If you quit on school -- you're not just quitting on yourself, you're quitting on your country.

Go guilt-trip Congress. Not us.

So I wasn't always as focused as I should have been on school. And I did some things I'm not proud of, and got in more trouble than I should have. And my life could have easily taken a turn for the worse.

Is this the "just say no" part of the speech?

But at the end of the day, the circumstances of your life -- what you look like, where you come from, how much money you have, what you've got going on at home -- none of that is an excuse for neglecting your homework or having a bad attitude.

I need an excuse to have a bad attitude?

Maybe you'll decide to care better care of yourself. ... I hope all of you are washing your hands a lot, and that you stay home from school when you don't feel well, so we can keep people from getting the flu this fall and winter.

Uh, Mom, I'm sort of feeling flu-ish. The prez wants me to stay home.

The truth is, being successful is hard. You won't love every subject that you study. You won't click with every teacher. ... And you won't necessarily succeed at everything the first time you try.

Like health-care reform?

If you get in trouble, that doesn't mean you're a troublemaker, it means you need to try harder to act right.

Sometimes it means you're a troublemaker.

And even when you're struggling, even when you're discouraged, and you feel like other people have given up on you -- don't ever give up on yourself. Because when you give up on yourself, you give up on your country.

Yeah, you already said that.

I expect all of you to get serious this year. I expect you to put your best effort into everything you do. I expect great things from each of you. So don't let us down -- don't let your family down, or your country down. Most of all, don't let yourself down.

Enough with the radical leftie rhetoric.

Make us all proud.

Yeah, well, good luck with that.

By The Reliable Source  |  September 8, 2009; 3:47 PM ET
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Was it really necessary to give space to this "class clown/idiot"? Please don't encourage this type of behavior which is very disrespectful, regardless of who is speaking.

Posted by: Sharr4580 | September 9, 2009 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Ha, good one.

Posted by: chunche | September 9, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Oh wait, I was laughing with the column, but Sharr4580's irony deficit rant is WAY FUNNIER.

Posted by: chunche | September 9, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

This is so hilarious that I take back half the things I said about the Washington Post being in the tank for Obama. But then, when I read Sharr4580's comment about this being very disrespectful and how such disrespect of Obama should be suppressed, THAT MADE IT EVEN FUNNIER! There's nothing like ticking off the humorless Obamabots to give us right wing nuts a real belly laugh. You can go back to flacking for Obama now. This will keep me chuckling until the next town hall.

Posted by: Steve-Gregg | September 9, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Steve-Gregg, I thought Sharr4580 missed the point, but you take the cake.

Posted by: chunche | September 9, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

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