February 3rd, 2009
03:40 PM ET
9 years ago

President reads moon book to star-struck schoolkids


Education Secretary Arne Duncan, standing, joined the President and first lady as they chatted and read books with children at a D.C. charter school Tuesday. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (CNN) - A group of lucky Washington schoolchildren received a lesson Tuesday that they'll never forget.

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama made a suprise visit to a local charter school, joking that they wanted to get out of the White House.

Watch: President, first lady read to kids at D.C. school

During their visit, the first couple read a copy of "The Moon Over Star" - a book about the 1969 moon landing - to 25 stunned second-graders at the Capital City Public Charter School.

The excited children mobbed Obama, tugging at the president and offering him drawings.

Asked to name his favorite superhero, the president identified Spiderman and Superman.

He also divulged that he didn't always want to be president. As a kid, said Obama, he wanted to be an architect.

During the presidential campaign, Obama promised, among other things, to double charter school funding, boost support for math and science education, and promote merit pay for teachers.

Filed under: Michelle Obama • President Obama
soundoff (242 Responses)
  1. karol

    Just like life, it is ups and downs. Keep your head high mr. President!

    February 3, 2009 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  2. Debby

    Oh no someone call Michael Moore another President that reads to children. I can see a sequel documentary in the works already. LOL

    February 3, 2009 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  3. Karen - Missouri

    I think it's great that the Obamas took the time for the kids in DC. And the kids were excited! But I see some "adults" posting here are either Republican or ignorant to criticize. I'd like to know the last time THEY took time to go help kids in school! The Obamas WORK instead of the Bush photo ops and nap time. It's really nice to see a President and First Lady who genuinely care about people!

    February 3, 2009 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  4. Carol

    It says a lot that a group of children would be so excited and feel so comfortable to tug on the President of the United States. Wonderful.

    February 3, 2009 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  5. alvino

    In comparison, by now, George W. Bush would have started his third week of vacation.

    It has to be hard for a republican to see how an intelligent person serves as president.

    February 3, 2009 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  6. Not 1 and Done

    I'd like to see Obama visit 6 schools a year ... about 1 per month ... to drive home the fact that education matters to his administration.

    February 3, 2009 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  7. Jackie in Dallas

    To all of you who are criticizing this appearance:

    Two weeks into his second term, President Bush flew home to Crawford for a "vacation". President Obama and the First Lady, after two hectic weeks and emotional ups and downs, go to a charter school and read to some kids. Hmm. Which one is the elitist?

    The Obama girls are at a private school for two reasons: they are both very bright and advanced for their years in schoolwork, and would therefore be out of place in a public school (remember, President Bush wanted to give public support to private schools...), and two, the security is better. The Friends School has taught children of the Washington politicos for years, including both Dems and Reps., and is familiar with and set up to deal with the security required. A public school does not have that advantage. Considering White Supremists have already said on internet sites that the Obama girls are prime targets, I think that is pretty wise.

    Like it or not, President and First Lady Obama ARE celebrities (i.e. people we celebrate). That's real, just like President and First Lady Bush (both junior and senior) were. Would you rather have a drug-dealing, dog abusing athelete being your kid's "star" or the President of the US?

    February 3, 2009 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  8. Offended

    Starstuck, – how about , just in awe of the President of the United States of America.

    February 3, 2009 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  9. Jane

    He needs to read but not to children. Just wants their picture taken and I bet every news channel in the world was there. What a mess we are in.

    February 3, 2009 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  10. who can forget?

    Who can forget that now famous book,"My Pet Goat" and the moron who was reading while we were under attack on HIS WATCH.

    February 3, 2009 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  11. Vedado

    this nation is full of hatred, why. Let Obama do his job and no matter what the color of skin is, he is the man elected to represent all of us for the next four years and hopefully four more.
    He is doing the best he can with the mess that the Bush administration left him at home and in the world. reading to 8 years old is not an escape from the while house, it is only what every parent should be doing at night and it most cases it does not happen because of TV or busy time for parents. Parents have forgotten that we bring children into this world, they do not ask to come and once they are here, they are our responsibility for ever, parenting does not stop when they are off to school or ven get married.
    Let us get this country back and show the world that we are the greatest nation.

    February 3, 2009 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  12. Seth

    Bush was grilled for the same thing.

    February 3, 2009 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  13. Nita

    As an Educator of Minority students of deemed low Academic Achievement, this photo and presented encounter from both THE PRESIDENT, AND THE FIRST LADY IS.............................PRICELESS!!! The World should be continuously smiling 🙂

    February 3, 2009 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  14. cara

    Now- if only one of those kids had shown the good sense and presence of mind to raise their hand and ask: "President Obama– when are we going back to the moon??"

    February 3, 2009 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  15. Peter (CA)

    No, Seth, Bush was grilled for his inability to act once he told the country was under attack. He just sat there with a dumb look on his face.

    Big difference.

    February 3, 2009 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  16. This is not a bad thing, but...

    Typical fluffy, feel good Obambi photo-op that give him good press and you know what sheep, BUSH did this stuff as well, no big deal, it's a good thing, but it isn't this grand spectacle that the media makes it out too, unlike you sheep I can hammer and commend the chosen one when needed.

    He has to do something to keep us from talking about his HORRIBLE cabinet picks and his HORRIBLE pork filled bailout bill.

    Facts are tricky things.

    One and done Barry.


    February 3, 2009 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  17. Texas Teacher

    Well, no 9/11.... no smoke screen..... no BS about what really happened.... no sending Saudi buddies out the country.. Well, how refreshing. The President reads to children without any ulterior motive! 🙂

    February 3, 2009 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  18. Mike- Kansas City MO

    I think it is TOTALLY AWESOME that President and Michelle Obama took time out of their busy schedules to go read to the kids.

    To the rest of you who are criticizing him for doing this, and saying it is a photo op- get over yourselves.

    President and Michelle Obama are real genuine people. There is no pretense with them. Also, they have made it very clear that education is important.

    Kudos to them for this! It make me even more proud that I voted for him!

    February 3, 2009 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  19. DG in Red Oak

    It is such an honor for a child to see the President of the United States in person. Not very many children are ever that fortunate. I saw Harry Truman in Dallas in 1946 and I never forgot that day. Many years later I moved to Pres Truman's hometown of Independence, Mo. I took a photo of his home and sent it to him with my story of having seen him years earlier. He autographed the photo and returned it to me with a short note. I treasure it. The only other President I ever saw in person was John Kennedy. I was at his parade in downtown Dallas snapping photos of him. He drove on a few blocks and we all know what happened. By the time I walked 2 blocks back to my office we heard the news. I am so happy that I got to see 2 Presidents in my 74 years. Not everybody can say that. I know we see them on tv but it isn't the same. I hope lots of other children get to see President Obama. I wish I could.

    February 3, 2009 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  20. beetle

    You know. The people that won't even give President Obama a chance, are scared he is actually going to make things better. After the 8 year disaster that just left DC they should all move to texas with that big dumb bell. Give the man a change gee. So the children are starstruck. They are children, looking at a man that is giving them hope for a better tomorrow. stop being sore losers, because look at how many people lost with bush. millionssssssssssss!!!!!!!

    February 3, 2009 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  21. Peter (CA)

    Might be a photo op but shows how important Obama takes education. It's not just talk for him.

    Besides he needs more experience dealing with 8 year olds, considering the temper tantrums Congress is already throwing.

    February 3, 2009 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  22. Tate

    Maybe he should be paying attention to who he is nominating for his posts. The kids are probably wonder why he keeps shuddering and going ahhhhhhhhhhhh ahhhhhh

    February 3, 2009 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  23. John G

    I wonder if there had been a terrorist attack during this photo op if people would be berating the President for not preventing it...

    February 3, 2009 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  24. Mari

    I see the haters are out today, how sad. As I read some of the vile comments from the far-right-GOPers I realize that our Nation has a long way to go before we are truly, the UNITED States of America!

    What IS SO DISTURBING is that the far-right-folks consider or claim to be Christians! What Bible are you people reading?

    Obviously, Jesus' great commandment "Love one another as I have loved you." (John 15:12) Is unknown to you. Sad.

    February 3, 2009 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  25. Gerda Edwards

    Andrea E- Atlanta @ 4:44 pm ET "Unlike your President GW he sat and did nothing as thousands of people lost their live in NY and with Katrina. Bush sat on his laurels and did absolutely nothing."
    And once again, the hateful left reminds us that they didn't consider Pres Bush "our" President. These same people lecture others about respecting Pres Obama.

    At least Kerry, Daschel, Boxer or Reid weren't in the WH at the time of 911. "I, [Kerry,] was in the Capitol. We'd just had a meeting–we'd just come into a leadership meeting in Tom Daschle's office, looking out at the Capitol. And as I came in, Barbara Boxer and Harry Reid were standing there, and we watched the second plane come in to the building. And we shortly thereafter sat down at the table and then ,i.we just realized nobody could think, and then boom, right behind us, we saw the cloud of explosion at the Pentagon."

    That's 40 minutes of not being able to think, let alone make a decision, by the "best" in the Democrat Party.

    February 3, 2009 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
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