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The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
Sept. 8 2009 5:00 PM

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It looks like President Obama managed to deliver a speech to (some of) the nation’s schoolchildren without mentioning health care (unless you count the advice to wash your hands) or otherwise touting the benefits of socialism. I hope that we can all heave a big sigh of relief and get on with more important things.

Because that would be better than what happened back in 1991, when the first President Bush gave a similar address to the nation’s kids. (Takeaway: Math is important. Don’t do drugs. And stay in school.) As Byron York points out today , Dick Gephardt said back then that, "The Department of Education should not be producing paid political advertising for the president, it should be helping us to produce smarter students." There was a congressional hearing. And the Washington Post complained that Bush had turned "students into props." This time around, Congress is controlled by the president's party and a little too busy for such silliness, but the Post ’s E.J. Dionne blames the far right for its "relentless" attacks and is upset that, after the speech turned out to be benign, that there has been"not a word of apology [from the right] for helping set off a dishonest and destructive episode."

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Now, isn’t there something more important we can talk about? Like Charlie Sheen’s unintentionally hilarious account of his imaginary meeting with President Obama to let him know 9/11 was an inside job?

Rachael Larimore is a Slate senior editor.

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