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. Rob R

    It has long been a Republican talking point that parents should be able to send their kids to any school they choose. I guess this is only right if it is a faith-based or charter school meeting Mr. Steele's criteria...Will the sesame street blue puppet please be quiet?

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

    Um does Michael Steele not realize that Dick Cheney's granddaughter attends Sidwell? Guess not. Hypocrite, indeed.

    January 4, 2010 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  3. James

    My question is did any Republicans kids go to school there? And if President Obama killed the voucher program, was it because it was not working and did he try to put something better in its place?

    January 4, 2010 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  4. gary davis harbor oregon

    hey dip stick . if you were the president you would not send your children to any public school . so you need to go back under your republican cow paddy. and shut up .. you are a sick excuse for not just a man but also as an american. along with cheney rove limbaugh, beck ,wilson and the rest of the republican party of "NO" you need to help the president not cut him down . again you are a sick bottom feeding peice of cow poop. when the republican good ole boys don't need you anymore or can use you to be the guy they throw under the bus it will happen .. LOL then we will see what comes out of your two faced mouth .jerk

    January 4, 2010 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  5. Jim

    other presidents have sent their kids to sidwell. it's a security issue and always was. and it was reported as such way back when the president and the first lady were deciding it.

    when the republicans stop their partisan bellicose rhetoric and start trying to be part of the solution, then, perhaps I'll listen to them.

    January 4, 2010 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  6. Bob (Illinois)

    Michael Steele: What is your problem?

    January 4, 2010 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  7. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Hey Mikey your son attended Georgetown Prep, 3 miles away from Sidwell Friends in Bethesda, and quite an uppercrust and expensive prep school. Soooo........ what's your point? Besides, everytime the President drives by en route to a school event I get to wave at him, so don't kill my joy!

    Additionally, for obvious security purposes that the lunatic right fringe in your Party further confirms, the girls cannot be placed in a public school where they would be more exposed.

    You gotta stop acting like you live in a bubble and people haven't met you or know firsthand of the privileged lifestyle that YOU so willingly partake in. And your son IS NOT the son of the POTUS, so what were YOUR reasons for sending him to such an elite institution versus a public school in DC? Two-face.

    January 4, 2010 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  8. Steve/Boston

    What a buffoooooon! Once again the Republican desperation shows. At the time the Obama's chose the schoo,l it was clear that it was as much for security concerns as for anything else. The Secret Service agreed. We no longer live in a world that allowed Amy Carter to attend public school in D.C. It's much more complicated, threatening, and dangerous necessitating more drastic security measures for the Pres. and his family.

    And btw, where does Steele get off pointing the finger? How many Republicans have their children in public school anywhere.

    January 4, 2010 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  9. Felonious Monk

    Where do his children go to school? He doesn't mention that.

    January 4, 2010 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  10. Chris

    This is the first time I am actually agreeing with Michael Steele on something. President Obama should not have ended the Washington Scholarship Fund. I know that these voucher programs have always been a political debate, but the Republicans are right on this program and I hated to see it ended. Other than that, the rest of what Michael Steele said didn't make sense. Obama is not a hypocrite for sending his children to the best school in Washington D.C. Steele said himself that the public schools in D.C. are terrible, I do not know why he would expect the Obamas to not give their children the very best education. Michael Steele has delivered outrageous comment for the past year now. I saw him pull the race card on msnbc to avoid the question "What are you people for?" regarding republicans. Steele responded by saying "you people" and then went on to say he just "wanted a definition of the noun". For this alone, anything Steele says I need to take with a grain of salt.

    January 4, 2010 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  11. john in texas

    True is true!! Hard to argue the disingenuous label that Steele gives to the POTUS.

    January 4, 2010 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  12. O

    I don't want to be like this Mike he is full of Hot air. What ever happen to No Child left behind Mr. Steele? What happen to the money for No Child left behind Mr. Steele? We want actions not Lips service Mr. Steele. Under your parties guidance we got programs passed with no money Mr. Steele. Do all of us a favor and as your last name suggest and Steele shut your lips Mr. Steele.

    January 4, 2010 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  13. Tired of The Rhetoric

    Mr Steele- how many important programs were inlcuded inthe bill that needed to be passed?
    You see, some of are aware of the practice of attaching things to a bill that may become talking points later, but are minor in the importance of the rest of the bill.
    If you want to criticize Mr Steele, why not criticize all of Congress for adding on these out of context bills to other legislations.

    January 4, 2010 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  14. Peter s

    Is Michael Steele plain stupid, dumb or both? Its your party which preaches about free market and family values!!. In a free country which operates under the ethos of free market anyone can send his/her kids to the school of his/her choice provided that, he/she can afford it!!. Sir!! with all respects please write your books without dragging Obamas name in it and by the way are those books free or for sale? oops I forgot, you even charge giving talks to your tea baggers!!!

    January 4, 2010 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  15. Felly

    Michael Steele should worry about his own family and leave Malia and Sasha out of his dirty politics. This guy is a moron.

    January 4, 2010 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    You say this Steele BECAUSE?

    January 4, 2010 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  17. tom

    Michael Steels tells it like it is

    January 4, 2010 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  18. Thomas

    Steele wrote a book? Wow learn something new every day.

    I wonder who will buy this book?

    Oh Steele disagrees with Obama? Yawn.

    January 4, 2010 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  19. Michele

    There is not enough room on this page to list the hypocritical things that Republicans do and say every single day. Steele, why not try being part of a solution, just once, instead of creating more hatred toward Republicans.

    January 4, 2010 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  20. birdy

    yeah.. you're right, steele. obama should send his kids and the secret service to a public school, disrupting the other children's "normal" education just so he won't appear to be a hypocrite in your eyes. how brilliant. jimmy carter tried to send his daughter to public schools, remember? remember how that turned out? good lord. the children are sent to a private school that is equipped and trained to deal with this sensitive situation of the children.

    January 4, 2010 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  21. Russ

    You are such a moron Mr. Steele. I pay enough in school taxes already, why should we pay even more via handouts from Washington. If you can't afford to send your kids to a private school so be it. I had to pull mine out of a private school because I could no longer afford it. At least the Obama's are paying it out their own pockets. Good for them.

    January 4, 2010 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  22. KB, Houston, TX

    Interesting that Steele would speak for Republicans in calling Obama a hypocrite for sending his kids a private school, but won't accept the same term when it comes to sending troops to war. Which Republican members of Congress sent their own kids or loved ones to fight in Iraq or Afghanistan, when they themselves are the ones who were so hawkish, and so willing to send other peoples' kids there to die? To use Steele's own words: "[Republicans] won't sacrifice their own kids...but [they] shouldn't sacrifice other people's kids either."

    January 4, 2010 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  23. George

    Shut up Steele. every time you open your mouth, it smells like a cesspool.

    January 4, 2010 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  24. Michael

    Hypocritical is complaining about inequality when you are the leader of the party dedicated to preserving inequality in every way possible.

    January 4, 2010 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  25. Peggy Robson

    Finding out alot about Obama after his first year. I think alot of Americans are feeling like they got duped. I was not a supporter of him at all, I was really skeptical about him because he never really said anything but felt that McCain/Palin was suicide, well Palin anyways. Now every week something else comes out showing his contradictions. I really worry how this country is going to end up, he still has 3 more years to go.

    January 4, 2010 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
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