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"Officials were unable to explain the reason for the apparent lack of interest"

Lack of interest in what you might be asking... lack of interest in having the President speak at a high school commencement:

The White House is ramping up an effort to promote a nationwide competition to decide which high school wins a commencement speech by President Obama.

An internal White House memo indicates that the White House is facing a shortage of applications less than a week before the deadline.

The competition was extended from the February 25 deadline until Friday, March 11 after few schools met the original application deadline. CBS News has learned a White House Communications Office internal memo dated February 22 noted "a major issue with the Commencement Challenge."

"As of yesterday we had received 14 applications and the deadline is Friday," the memo said. The memo also urged recipients to, "please keep the application number close hold."

A follow-up memo on February 28 reported receipt of 68 applications. Noting the competition among more than 1,000 schools last year, the memo said, "Something isn't working." It called on staffers to ask "friendly congressional, gubernatorial and mayoral offices" to encourage schools to apply.

"We should also make sure the Cabinet is pushing the competition out to their lists," the memo said. The note reiterated, "We do not want the actual application number out there (we didn't release the number of applications we received last year until after the submission period)-so folks should not use it in their pitches."

On Monday, officials declined to cite the number of applications received so far.

The president will travel to the school that is judged to best prepare students for college and careers. The competition is part of Mr. Obama's ultimate goal of making the U.S. the country with the highest proportion of college graduates by 2020.

Officials were unable to explain the reason for the apparent lack of interest, beyond pointing to possible procrastination by school systems.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan told CBS Radio News, "It's a huge opportunity for high schools to tell their story." Asked about the lagging application numbers, Duncan said, "Folks are working hard." He called on schools to "put their best foot forward and join the competition."

Education Department press aide Elizabeth Utrup said the deadline was extended "to provide an ample amount of time to reach out to schools from across the country."

You wonder how well this might be going if Obama wasn't so beloved and cherished by Education establishment.


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Comments (15)

Could be that folks have fi... (Below threshold)

Could be that folks have figured out that just having a teleprompter with a well-dressed mannequin up on the podium is a lot cheaper and less disruptive than it'd be to have Obama come on down.

Obama - the 'no value added' President...

Schools want Barry to speak... (Below threshold)

Schools want Barry to speak just like Libya wants Getoffi to dictate.

He is a world class joke and black pariah. Who needs the guff?

<a href="http://www.youtube... (Below threshold)
Face it Barry. We're just ... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Face it Barry. We're just not that in to you.

Hard to submit requests fro... (Below threshold)

Hard to submit requests from WI, when you are out in the street "sick". Why would anyone want to hear words of wisdom from a proven loser?

Who'd want to have a Commen... (Below threshold)

Who'd want to have a Commencement speaker who's only going to read/talk about themselves?

And the WTF theme may not play well with young people who are graduating and may need jobs now.

Final thought....what's he really going to tell them? How much debt he'll be leaving them to deal with?

Hes coming to save the day<... (Below threshold)

Hes coming to save the day

ummm ummm ummm

He wont be turned away

ummm ummm ummm

Barry Hussein Soetoro

ummm ummm ummm

Obama who?... (Below threshold)

Obama who?

The company I work for ofte... (Below threshold)

The company I work for ofter hires college seniors to do marketing intern work. It's a part time, minimum wage job that does not have a full time job offer at the end. The business owner just likes to give college kids a little real world business experience. Yesterday I was talking with one of them and I asked how he was enjoying his last few weeks in college. His reply was telling. He said "I am panicked. No one I know is getting job offers." I felt really bad for him because I remember my last few months in school and they were amoung the most happy and optimistic times of my life. Then I realized that he probably voted for Mr. Hope and Change.

It's all about the 0.... (Below threshold)

It's all about the 0.

"the school that is judged ... (Below threshold)

"the school that is judged to best prepare students for college and careers"

So, the "best" schools in the country, in preparing students for college/careers, need a deadline extension? They aren't prepared? The winning school may still be a loser.

"Officials were unable to e... (Below threshold)
Upset Old Guy:

"Officials were unable to explain the reason for the apparent lack of interest"

Who cares! (Gee, maybe I just stumbled into something there. Who cares? That could be it.)

People figured out second p... (Below threshold)
Rich Fader:

People figured out second prize was two speeches. Third prize was three speeches. And so on, and so on. And schools that had gotten caught trying to cheat the contest would have had to patch an iPod of his speeches into the PA system and play it on permanent shuffle.

"Mr. President, we ran the ... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

"Mr. President, we ran the numbers again."


"I'm sorry, sir. EVERY school that is reasonably preparing students for college and work ... is located in a 'Red" state."


"It's worse than that, sir."

"How could it get worse?!?!"

"The best schools were asking if former President Bush might be available, instead of ... well, instead of you, sir."

"@#$%! F&**i#% %*^%$#*&^#Q*&*&!!!!!!!!!!"

It's Bush's fault...... (Below threshold)

It's Bush's fault...






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