Thursday, September 10, 2009

Obama Talks to Congress

The Washington Post is running an article entitled, "With His Top Priority on the Line, President Reframes Critical Debate." The article begins, "After a month of angry town hall meetings and dire predictions about the state of his top domestic priority, President Obama moved forcefully Wednesday night to take the initiative on health care -- and in the process rejuvenate his presidency and unite his fractious Democratic Party."

The article further states, "It is rare for a presidency so young to have so much on the line. No single speech can create consensus on health-care legislation, and in that sense this was not the make-or-break moment described by some commentators. But Obama has staked his presidency on this issue, and his advisers knew it was long past time for him to assert himself in a more demonstrable way or risk seeing the entire enterprise slip away."

Questions for Younger Children
1. What do you think is the nicest thing that somebody can say to somebody else? Why?

2. Describe a time in which you have asked somebody else to help you do something? What did you ask them to do? Did they help you? Why or why not?

3. Do you think that it's important to learn to speak in front of other people? Why or why not? Do you think that there is a nice way to ask somebody else to help you do something and a way that isn't so nice? Explain!!

4. Have you ever interrupted somebody else when they were in the middle of talking? Why did you interrupt? Have you ever been interrupted when you were in the middle of talking? How did it feel to be interrupted? Why?

Questions for Older Students
1. Vocabulary terms to discuss: Domestic; Fractious; Liberal vs. Moderate Wings; (if you want to see some strange looks) Dickering.

2. Do you think that there are significant differences between the skills needed to win a Presidential election and the skills needed to be an effective President? Describe the differences. During this legislative negotiation what one skill do you think that President Obama should use from his campaign expertise to support his Presidential agenda? Explain!

3. Though only alluded to in the article, Rep. Joe Wilson interrupted the President last night, during his address. In England, it's common for members of Parliament to heckle the Prime Minister during addresses. Do you think that the President deserves the respect of Congress? Does the Prime Minister deserve the respect of Parliament? What can we learn about culture from the fact that a behavior that is acceptable in England is frowned upon in the U.S.?

4. What three questions do you have about the current health insurance debate? Why do you think that these questions are important? Go ahead and find the answers to these questions, to the best of your ability.

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