January 4th, 2010
12:40 PM ET
5 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. Tracy-Oakley

    Steele is hyprocritical in calling himself a Republican. He does nothing but sit on the sidelines doing nothing, talking smack, and throwing spitballs like a 4th grader. Oh wait that is what Republican's do, so my error he isn't a hyprocrite, he's a Reppublican.

    January 4, 2010 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  2. dcdiva

    so, so true...democrats would have everyone believe they are for the "common man" but they're all about lip service to the common man.

    January 4, 2010 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  3. Sara

    Where the Obamas choose to send their daughters to school is nobody's business but theirs.
    Steele should butt out. Leave the girls alone.

    And try sticking to some real issues, please. Health care, jobs, energy, the environment, etc.
    (Is it any wonder why the Republicans lost in 08??!)

    January 4, 2010 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  4. Frank, Las Vegas

    Mr. Steele continues to prove he's an idiot every time he opens his mouth. Has he given any thought, any thought at all of how security might work at a public school? My guess is no. What an idiot!

    January 4, 2010 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  5. Tony

    So Obama, our "socialist" President, shuts down a "socialist" governement assistance program and the pays for his own kids to go to private school and the "don't spend" Republicans, the so-called party of "personal responsibility",gets upset? Puhlease. Would the last person left in the GOP please remember to turn of the lights when they leave.

    January 4, 2010 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  6. Robin

    I agree with Mr. Steele on this one.

    If the public school system is good enough for the kids in DC, why is it not good enough for the Obama girls?

    Don't tell me for security reasons either, these kids (rightfully so) have a team of round the clock security just for them, thank goodness.

    My opinion is, don't kill the voucher program, give the DC kids a chance at a great education.

    January 4, 2010 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  7. Teachamantofish

    Just goes to show that librals don't have a problem spending money as long as its not their money.

    January 4, 2010 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  8. chris l

    hippocrite, cowardly, naiive, unqualified, dithering. Frankly any of these words would be 100% accurate when describing the radical and chief.

    January 4, 2010 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  9. sandra, Alt

    Michael Steele is a total idiot and hypocrite.

    January 4, 2010 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  10. Bethie in TX

    We need more info here–why was the funding for the scholarship program ended? Was there a problem with the program? Was the money redirected towards improving the quality of education for inner city schools, including the DC schools which Steele called the "absolute worst in the nation"?

    Maybe we should focus on spending money on programs that benefit more kids, not just a special few. Our country is falling farther and farther behind on the competitive global scale. As for Obama's kids, they attend a private school for security reasons. And it's paid for by him, not the taxpayers.

    January 4, 2010 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  11. CHANGE.COM

    Steele is pathetic in his wanton accusations. Fact is, it is in the kids best interest and safety to be in private scholls where information on there whereabouts could not be compromised. Beign in public schools means just that: everything is public. Will you just go away, Steele?

    January 4, 2010 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  12. Brena

    I think the average citizen understands that the President of the United States has to send his children to a school where they will be safe and secure.

    January 4, 2010 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  13. Peggy - TX

    Mr. Michael Steel, if you would like to debate the voucher program, you would gain more support for your positions if you simply kept the Presidents children out of the decision and argued strictly on the merits of your position.

    Sidwell offers security and a semblance of normalcy for the Presidents children that can not be duplicated in the public school system. The Presidents first priority is to his children and his wife, then to the United States. To criticize the President for sending his children to Sidwell is more of the same blah blah from the Republican slime machine.

    Criticism from Mr. Michael Steel, who is well known as soulless political prostitute, has very little credibility and I doubt that a single person is jealous of the President for sending his children to the expensive school; rather I suspect that the vast majority of lower income folks are greatly appreciate of the sacrifices our President has made in his continue dedication to public service.

    January 4, 2010 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  14. Andi

    What a buffoon. Does Steele have kids? Do they receive death threats? Just from the insanity I see from some posters with their violent, racist statements I would have my kids in private schools.

    January 4, 2010 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  15. DSH

    I guess Michael didn't have a problem when Bush cut off a real lifeline for kids when he vetoed the SCHIP legislation because he viewed it as too "liberal"....or when he underfunded NCLB because he didn't know enough about the needs. Thanks to the GOP, our schools really are horrendous and not just in DC.

    I am really getting sick of the GOP and their hot air.

    January 4, 2010 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  16. Tulsa

    lol.... well, if anyone knows hypocrisy when he sees it, it's this douche bag.

    January 4, 2010 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  17. Not Apples and Apples

    This would be "hypocrisy" if Obama took government money out of the public school system to pay for his children to go to a private school. The voucher system only weakens a stressed public school system.

    January 4, 2010 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  18. linda

    i think talking about pres children is not good idea for political reasons maybe they send their kids to sidwell for security reason and i think it is inappropraite for him to wrote about pres kids

    January 4, 2010 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  19. Thinker

    Does Michael Steele have children? If so, what school do they go to??

    January 4, 2010 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  20. sun52shine

    Parenting is not the reason, we the people of the United States voted for President Obama. One reason was his maturity to make a decision based on facts and logic not from the opinion of the Republicans. So far – so good!!

    The reason we voted you out of the Lt. Governor position in the state of Maryland-because you were not qualified. Watching your childless attitude, pettiness and listening to your foolish comments makes me wander why we didn't impreach you! We did not care about your opinion then and much less now. Mr. Steele take care of your children and let the President and the First Lady make the decision which effect there family-in other words MINE YOUR BUSINESS!

    January 4, 2010 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  21. CW in St. Paul

    How much would the Voucher be? Would it actually help lower income students attend a $30,000/year school? Why doesn't CNN ask these questions?

    January 4, 2010 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  22. Ed Henson

    Federal funding for private schools who's going to pay for that, Michael Steele and the Republican National Committee. I don't think so. What he really wants is funding for private schools through the voucher system. This is an end run around the public school system. Steele and his conservative co-horts simply don't liker the public school system in this country. The president is only doing what millions of other Americans are doing and that is excercising there right to send there kids to a school of their choice at there expense. That is not inconsistent with support of public education. If Steele thinks public education is lousy then work towards improving it. Particularly in certain communities where the tax base fails to adequately fund those districts.

    January 4, 2010 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  23. Sam

    Of course Steele willfully ignores the fact that Obama was ready to send his daughters to D.C. Public Schools until it was determined that the SECURITY was too big a problem. Sasha and Malia go to Sidwell because of its security capabilities for the two children of the President, not because of quality of education, but hell, when have facts ever been allowed to get in the way for Republicans?

    January 4, 2010 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  24. Brian B

    How much money are you recieving Chairman Steele for making this comment? Now where is the hypocricy again?

    January 4, 2010 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  25. John J, IN

    Oh shut up already. What a hippocritical phoney.

    January 4, 2010 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
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