Obama has budget deal “bonus” for Colorado schoolkids; Boehner bashes Democrats at fund-raiser

April 11, 2011


President Barack Obama is getting into a habit of surprising tourists. Over the weekend it was a trip to the Lincoln Memorial, and on Monday he turned up to surprise a group of school children at the White House.

“Not only did things work out, but we figured we’d give you a little bonus,” Obama told the 50 students from Altona Middle School in Colorado. Then he posed for pictures with them and answered a few questions behind the White House. (One of his favorite things about being president is that he has no commute because his office is right next to his house).

The mother of one of the students, Shalini Schane, wrote a letter to Obama on April 6 begging him to find some agreement to keep the government open so that her son could make a class trip to Washington for which his class had been raising money all year.

Schane was with the students and stood in the front row — in jeans and a tank top — as they posed for a picture. Obama, who wore a black suit, shook Schane’s hand and kissed her cheek, telling the kids, “She’s responsible for getting you here.”

Obama had used Schane’s letter in a speech he gave shortly before midnight on Friday when he announced the budget deal. “She asked those of us in Washington to get past our petty grievances and make things right,” he said.

House Speaker John Boehner, who led the Republicans in the budget negotiations, has been praised for shifting the focus in Washington to spending cuts and for winning billions of dollars in budget cuts from the Obama administration.

His first public appearance since the budget deal was a speech in Stamford, Connecticut, headlining the state’s biggest Republican fund-raiser. Boehner’s remarks did not have the “parties-working-together” tone of Obama’s comments, as he took a swipe at the Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

“They didn’t want to cut anything,” Boehner told the gathering, according to a report from NBC Connecticut. “I understand why there wasn’t any action. That’s because Harry Reid has a very weak hand.”

Time will tell who really “won” the budget fight. Some Washington analysts say Boehner had taken the first round, but some poll results have shown the public gives the Democrats more credit. A CNN/Opinion Research poll released on Monday showed that the public thought Democrats were more responsible than the Republicans for the agreement, 48-35 percent.

Photo credit: Reuters/Larry Downing (Obama meets with school children at White House)

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