Watch CBSN Live

Schieffer on Obama's School Speech

President Barack Obama plans to make a televised speech to America's school children next Tuesday about the importance of education and staying in school. But some critics believe the president will use that speech to promote his political agenda and some school officials said today they will not let students watch it. In Fort Worth, Texas, about a third of schools will not show it. Albuquerque, N.M., schools will let students opt out of watching and in Green Bay, Wis., they'll record the speech and let teachers decide later if it's appropriate.

CBS News correspondent Jeff Glor talked with CBS News chief Washington correspondent and host of "Face the Nation" Bob Schieffer about the issue.

Glor: We should mention other presidents, including Ronald Reagan and the first president Bush had delivered similar speeches to students. Why is this speech in particular causing such a controversy?

Schieffer: Well, it is really stirred up a lot of people out there. I think some of it is genuine. I think there are people now who are frustrated, they're worried about the economy, they're worried about their jobs. But in today's world, the world of the Internet, when one person is frustrated, another person who shares that frustration soon finds out about it and they connect up. And then when you have these radio talk show hosts who fan the flames of these things, you have these instant firestorms of protests that blow up, as this one has blown up.

Glor: Meanwhile, Bob, let's talk about the health care debate because Mr. Obama plans to address a joint session of congress next week talking about health care. How big is next week for the president?

Schieffer: Oh, I think this is extremely important. The first thing the president has got to do is be specific. He's got to tell members of Congress which parts of this he really wants and he's going to stay with them on it until the end. No member of Congress wants to vote for something not knowing if the president is going to be with him at the end of the day when all of the compromises have taken place, especially when it involves something like a tax increase. But the other part of this is that if this speech falls flat, I think it's going to really hurt the president. His polls have been going down all summer. This would be a big defeat for him. And I think it would take him some time to recover. I think we're seeing here what may be the biggest week of this presidency coming.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue