It wasn’t personal, they say – the students just didn’t want to share their big day with the First Lady and deal with the security headaches that hosting a big name speaker would entail. More than 1,750 of them had signed a petition protesting Obama’s appearance at the graduation ceremony because security concerns would have limited the number of friends and family they could invite.
Via The Hill:
Instead of delivering a graduation speech, Obama will speak before the school district the day before graduation, and will deliver remarks at a “Senior Recognition Day.”
In a statement to The Hill, the first lady’s communications director said Obama wanted to accommodate all who hoped to attend the graduation ceremony.
“Once we learned about the concerns of some students, we were eager to find a solution that enabled all of the students and their families to celebrate the special day,” she told the wire service.
The first lady’s address is meant to commemorate the anniversary of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education desegregation ruling.
Amid such controversy, it would have been difficult for the First Lady to have gone through with the graduation speech. But it wouldn’t be the first time an Obama has faced opposition in the wake of such an invitation.
After a mere two months in office, the president was invited to give the commencement address at Notre Dame University.
Obama had already made clear that he intended to enact policies concerning abortion, embryonic stem-cell research, and other life issues that would mark him as the most pro abortion president in American history.
The invitation mortified pro-lifers who fiercely opposed what amounted to an (allegedly) Catholic university honoring a rabidly pro-abort politician. Given the huge amount of pain and controversy it stirred among Catholics, the president could easily have bowed out. But he didn’t.
And on the day of the commencement, there was a huge protest and 88 pro-lifers were arrested for “trespassing.” It took two years for the charges to be dropped.
Unlike her husband, Michelle Obama did have the sense to graciously bow out of her contested graduation speech.