- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 29, 2009


When you are America’s first mixed-race president, it has to be especially galling to flip on the news in America’s majority-minority capital city and find commercials accusing you of failing to help the city’s black children escape from substandard schools. That’s not the change people voted for.

But when President Obama tunes into Fox News, CNN, MSNBC or News Channel 8, the president hears his own words thrown in his face. “We’re losing several generations of kids, and something has to be done,” Mr. Obama says in the commercials.

The something that the president has done is cut off a scholarship program helping hundreds of students from the city’s failing schools go to better private schools - a choice Washington’s powerful and well-off liberal politicians often make for their own kids.

Kevin Chavous, a prominent black D.C. lawyer and board member of D.C. Children First, is the guy making the president so uncomfortable. In the advertisement, Mr. Chavous says, “President Obama is ending a program that helps low-income kids go to better schools, refusing to let any new children in. I’m a lifelong Democrat, and I support our president. But it’s wrong that he won’t support an education program that helps our kids learn.”

That’s when America’s first black attorney general, Eric H. Holder Jr., stepped in to tell the lawyer to shut up, Mr. Chavous revealed on a local radio talk show. Mr. Chavous said the attorney general - in front of witnesses - asked him to pull the ad.

That won’t happen. In fact, Mr. Chavous says the ads will expand. “We will probably go on bus stops and on metro trains. … Additionally, we will probably run an ad with a parent making a direct plea to the president. As I said to [Mr. Holder], when Obama agrees to support these kids, I will pull the ads, and maybe even run one thanking him.”

Thank him? At the moment, Mr. Obama puts the political needs of the powerful teachers union ahead of the needs of children. Nobody should have to thank him if he wakes up and does the right thing.

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