January 4th, 2010
12:40 PM ET
8 years ago

Steele: Obama 'hypocritical' for sending kids to Sidwell

Michael Steele, in his new book, accuses President Obama of being 'hypocritical' for sending his daughters to a private school.

Michael Steele, in his new book, accuses President Obama of being 'hypocritical' for sending his daughters to a private school.

Washington (CNN) - In his new book, Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele accuses President Obama of being "hypocritical" for choosing to send his daughters to an expensive private school while also killing a voucher program that offered low-income children in Washington the chance to do the same.

After winning the presidential race, the Obamas chose to send their daughters Malia and Sasha to the Sidwell Friends School in Northwest Washington, where tuition costs nearly $30,000 a year. In December 2009, Obama signed the 2010 omnibus spending bill, which included language ending the Washington Scholarship Fund, a federally-funded D.C. program that awarded school vouchers to lower-income children.

"Here in D.C., President Obama doesn't have a problem cutting off the lifeline for kids who need a good education as much or more than any children in the nation," Steele writes in his book "Right Now: A 12-Step Program for Defeating the Obama Agenda," which was released Monday.

"After all, he can afford to send his kids to Sidwell Friends, and he needs to keep the teachers' union bosses happy. He won't sacrifice his own kids for the teachers' unions - and he shouldn't. But he shouldn't sacrifice other people's kids either."

Steele writes that he doesn't fault the president for sending his kids to an elite private school over D.C. public schools, which he calls "the absolute worst in the nation." But he does accuse Obama of being disingenuous.

"Vice President Biden's grandchildren attend Sidwell," he writes. "Bill Clinton's daughter went there too, and so did Al Gore's son. President Obama is just carrying on a hypocritical Democrat tradition that boils down to this: do as I say, not as I do."

Filed under: Michael Steele • President Obama
soundoff (162 Responses)
  1. Lisa P

    If that's the best Steele can come up with I don't think Obama has much to worry about from the RNC.

    As long as we're on the subject, though, I have to wonder how many Republicans have voted for cutting education in D.C. over the years? They didn't get to be terrible schools overnight. Vouchers are just a band-aid on decades of budget slashing and neglect from the "Don't tax me, my kids go to private school" party. The D.C. schools have improved since the Democrats took over Congress. Somehow I doubt that Steele mentions that in his book.

    January 4, 2010 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  2. jeremy.....Dallas...Texas

    Hey the chairman oof the wing-nut society. The sch voucher was socialism just like farm subsidy and medicare. We want capitalism ! Boss,you will go before Obama can be defeated. You are killing our party.

    January 4, 2010 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  3. Vic of New York

    If Steele didn't have his foot stuck in his mouth most of the time – his ideas might be entertaining as fodder for the evening comedy shows.

    As it stands Mike makes a great GOP national spokesperson: Brain-dead and foaming at the mouth.

    January 4, 2010 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  4. andy

    it's the president's kids. shockingly, they probably wouldnt be safe in public school anywhere.

    January 4, 2010 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  5. F. AZARRE

    I think Michael steel "fantome"the of Rep. Party is out of words. What does he need in Obama's daughters, what is his intention about Obama's children. Please Micheal steel, get your teeth-steel of any american children. Children are not in politic.

    January 4, 2010 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  6. Duck Fallas

    Did Rush approve the book before he went into the hospital?

    January 4, 2010 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  7. Amy from MN

    I don't see how it's hypocritical. The President just wants the additional security that can be enforced at a private school. The public does not deserve access they would have to his daughters at a public school.

    January 4, 2010 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  8. Emma

    Wow! Do parents not have the constitution right to send their children to
    any school they choose? Mr. Steele, you are grasping at straws. And seeming very totalitarian in the process!

    January 4, 2010 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  9. phuckwingnuts

    A Republican complaining about cutting funding for children???

    HAAAAHAAA- Oh, the irony

    January 4, 2010 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  10. WIL

    Sales must really be slow on this page turner if that's all you got Mr. Steelle maybe you and Palin can go on tour together it may help your sales or go on morning Joe to promote it everyone else has. It's the book stop show in the morning that's if he has time in between promoting his and Mika's books good luck with that you are a joke and so is your party.

    January 4, 2010 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  11. Steph

    I'm sure the children and grandchildren of the Republican presidents and vice-presidents all went to public schools...absolutely NOT! Steele himself didn't even attend DC public schools. He went to a Catholic school in DC. He has no authority to talk about public schools at all!

    January 4, 2010 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  12. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Leave Obama's kids alone and find another can to kick down the road. Michael Steele is about as low as you can go and needs to look back at the struggles made for him to sit in any classroom. I'm sure some if not most of his Republican constituents children go to private schools as many children do. This is a totally unwarranted attack on Obama's children and Steele is a disgrace to himself as well as the Republican party.

    January 4, 2010 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  13. Jean 2

    Steele knows what happens to children, why would he want Obama to purposely put his children to satisfy some strange notion of fairness. A better model for the country is to work to improve all schools for all children.

    While Steele is talking he should be working to find canidates with the will to IMPROVE ALL OF OUR SCHOOLS FOR ALL OF OUR CHILDREN.

    January 4, 2010 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  14. jean

    Steele you just need to shut your pie hole,......... please

    January 4, 2010 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  15. Your comment is awaiting moderation AGAIN

    HMMM and did bush's "twins" go to public school. I think not. I think this piece of crap who wouldn't be were he is if not for his ethic background because the republicans want to improve their image, hasn't a clue as to what is going on in the real America.

    He spits and he spews and whines and moans...And doesn't make a sensible sentence in any of it.

    January 4, 2010 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  16. VernisRobertson

    Why is this guy so stupid ? He says some of the dumbest things everytime he open his mouth up .He sounds like he was a crack baby .

    January 4, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  17. Bob Pacific Grove, Ca

    The only thing hypocritical in this story is Steele's criticism of Obama's decision to send his children to a private school in DC....Then again, the word "hypocrite" is synonymous with the GOP....Steele just exposes how weak and shallow the right wing has become.....

    January 4, 2010 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  18. hermaans

    U have health care or medi care,yet You rejet an opportunity for the less privileged to be able to get medical facility.Who is hipocritical?The President of The United States of America or the chief of WORDS On terror?(steele the scapesheep)

    January 4, 2010 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  19. A republican

    It's not hypocritical if Obama pays for the school himself. Just because Obama bought a dog doesn't mean everyone deserves a voucher for a free dog.

    January 4, 2010 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  20. Steve

    Mr. Steele himself did not attended public school.

    He attended Archbishop Carroll Roman Catholic High School in Washington, D.C.

    No wonder people disrespect politicians.

    January 4, 2010 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  21. AnProf

    Just another example of hypocrisy from Obama. Remember he was a once-staunch advocate of public funding for elections; but when the big money started flowing to his coffers, he became the first candidate since Nixon to turn down public funding during the general presidential election. Don't forget the "open transparency" pledge for new legislation and posing of bills. The end to administrative lobbyists. The end to pork budgets. The end to partisanship and political favors. The list goes on. Do as I say, not as I do– indeed.

    January 4, 2010 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  22. all the news that's fit to omit

    Must have missed this TRUE STORY in the still fawning media.

    Actually the usual suspects covered this and I am sure you liberal gutless sheep will explain it all away as in it is "Bush's fault" or "Faux news is making this up, no even better, you cowardly progressives will call Steele a "token a "sellout" or worse for SPEAKING THE TRUTH.

    Steele is superior to you frauds, have a nice day, experiment failed, ONE and DONE.

    January 4, 2010 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  23. WHAT???????????

    If the people we elect would do their job and do whatever is necessary to get the public school system to be an educational system as it should be, then there would be no need for vouchers to attend a good school. So, Steele, get your act together and get all your "co-workers"(?) to join you in getting our public education system up to the level of charter schools and private schools.

    January 4, 2010 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  24. LacrosseMom

    WHY does CNN give press to this man's idiot comment? ALL U.S. presidents, in modern history, have sent their kids to private schools. Last I heard, we still live in a FREE country.

    What's hypocritical is the GOP's constant demonizing of everything President Obama does.

    Its the GOP who claim to be "Christian" but who are the most unChristian of any group!

    January 4, 2010 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  25. Ben in Texas

    I wonder where Steele's kids went to school? I'll bet, if he has kids, they also went to an elite private school. All rich people do that, and the rest of us would if we could, because we want our kids to have advantages and get ahead. Voucher programs are designed to kill public schools so that eventually, only rich people will be able to educate their children, resulting in a large permanently poor subclass and a tiny middle class. Vouchers are the thin end of the slavery wedge.

    January 4, 2010 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
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