Syracuse.com: At Tully Junior/Senior High in Tully, N.Y., the president talked to the kids about the end of summer vacation and his plans to help make college more affordable.
…. The girls chattered, squealed and cheered throughout the visit, especially when the president posed with the Black Knights for a photo.
…. The president talked to the girls’ team first, then the boys. He tried to start a little trouble: “Can you guys beat the boys?” Obama asked the girls, and one said. “Oh definitely.”
…. Obama singled out one girl: “You don’t look like you’re in junior high school,” he said to a young girl, Julia, who is 9. Meeting the president, she had said earlier today, was on her bucket list. “Here’s a general rule,” Obama said. “When you’re 9, you don’t need a bucket list,” and the girls laughed. “When you get to be 52, then you might want to draw one up.” With the boys, Obama took a soft pass from one of the players, caught up to it and played with the ball for a couple of seconds (to oohs) before passing it back to the team.
Evalyn Gleason had a fairly unremarkable Thursday lined up: a panel discussion on education around lunchtime, then some babysitting in the afternoon. Wednesday morning, her plans changed. The panel discussion was a ruse – instead, the recent University of Rochester graduate learned she’d be dining with the president of the United States…. “I was shocked,” she said. “I thought someone was pulling a prank for a second.”
…. “It was a real normal conversation,” said Gleason, a 22-year-old Rochester native. “He’s very down-to-earth, someone who really cared and wants to make a difference. … He wanted to listen and he wanted our opinion.”
…. Andrea Hughes and her daughters, Meadow and Ava, of Gates were in the next ring of fortune. They were plucked from the crowd gathered on Park Avenue to stand outside while the president was exiting and shake his hand. “When we got picked out of line down there, I just started to cry because this is so exciting for them,” Andrea Hughes said. “I’m just so happy they got to do something that’s history.”
…. The bus and motorcade rumbled west on Park Avenue on its way to the Seneca Falls Women’s Rights National Historical Park, leaving behind a city exhilarated by a brief brush with the presidency.
Eight-year-old Ava Hughes, the girl chosen to shake Obama’s hand, couldn’t come up with a question or comment to capitalize on the chance. But that momentary lapse didn’t detract from her once-in-a-lifetime moment.
“I didn’t really say anything — I was so surprised,” she said. “It was the most amazing time in my life, ever.”
As I noted the other day, various data points suggest Republicans now know their position on Obamacare — pushing endlessly to destroy the law while offering no meaningful alternative — is untenable, and they are grappling with it at the highest levels. Politico has also quoted multiple Republicans worrying aloud that the drive to shut down the government over Obamacare has brought this untenable position into even sharper relief. A new poll done for Republican members of Congress has found huge public opposition, and solid opposition among Republicans, to the idea of shutting down the government over the issue of funding Obamacare.
What’s important here is who did this poll: David Winston, a longtime pollster for the GOP leadership. Now that same pollster has actually conducted a poll designed to warn Republicans off their shutdown crusade, by pointing out widespread public opposition to a shutdown, even among Republicans.
President Barack Obama said in an interview aired Friday that the capabilities of the National Security Agency are “scary to people.” Speaking to CNN’s Chris Cuomo, Obama said the capabilities are not unique just to the United States and that other countries have similar technologies. “There’s no doubt that, for all the work that’s been done to protect the American people’s privacy, the capabilities of the NSA are scary to people. And, by the way, these aren’t unique to the NSA,” Obama said.
Obama touted a website the White House set up about privacy and previously classified documents on the program the administration has been releasing, but said there is potentially more that can be done, including a possible public advocate. “What I’ve said is that I am open to working with Congress to figure out, can we get more transparency in terms of how the oversight court works? Do we need a public advocate in there who people have confidence in?” Obama said. “Are there additional reforms that can be taken that preserve the core mission of the NSA, which is making sure that we have enough intelligence to protect ourselves from terrorism or weapons of mass destruction or cybersecurity, but do it in a way that Americans know their basic privacies are being protected? I think that could be achieved.”
“Congress doesn’t have a whole lot of core responsibilities. One core responsibility is passing a budget, which they have not done yet,” Obama said. “The other core responsibility that they’ve got is to pay the bills that they’ve already accrued.” Obama called on Republicans in particular to think less about politics and more about what’s good for the country.