Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Kindergarten Oppo

Senator Clinton has attacked Senator Obama for what he purportedly wrote ... in kindergarten. rom a Clinton press release:

At an event in Boston this evening, Senator Obama claimed for the second time today that he is "not running to fulfill some long held plans" to be elected President, contradicting statements his friends, family, staff and teachers have all made about him. ... In kindergarten, Senator Obama wrote an essay titled 'I Want to Become President.' "Iis Darmawan, 63, Senator Obama's kindergarten teacher, remembers him as an exceptionally tall and curly haired child who quickly picked up the local language and had sharp math skills. He wrote an essay titled, 'I Want To Become President,' the teacher said." [AP, 1/25/07 ]

Bloggers and reporters are ridiculing the attack. As a political scientist and former oppo guy, I wonder why such a well-organized campaign made such a blunder.

As the father of a five-year-old, I have a different question: Was Obama really writing essays in kindergarten? Even under today's ridiculously ramped-up kindergarten standards, kids are doing great if they can scrawl letters or the occasional word. And Obama attended back in the 1960s.

So there are three possibilities here:

  • First, his kindergarten class was very advanced;
  • Second, he was extremely precocious; or
  • Third, the teacher just made the whole thing up.


Adrian said...

Penn is now responding to all the negative press with "C'mon, people, it was just a joke! All in good fun, wot?!" statement. As much as I find Sullivan's reflexive dislike of Hillary grating, I'm beginning to see where it comes from. If the attack hadn't fallen flat, you can bet they would've stood by it.

tenaciousd said...

The press release has been a vehicle for humorous musings dating back to the ancient Greeks. Many of the classical comedies were released to the public as serial press releases. The Clinton campaign is cleverly making use of this age-old form to poke fun at all of us who take her too seriously.