How many U.S. senators drop their own kids off at nursery school?

The answer is at least one.

This morning I saw Barack Obama dropping off his child at nursery school. Obama is the junior senator from Illinois who exploded onto the national political scene with a fantastic speech at the 2004 Democratic Convention.

Long before that, he wrote a really outstanding memoir about growing up as a mixed-race child, his struggle to find his identity, and the circuitous path that led him to editing the Harvard Law Review. I read Obama’s memoir on the plane from Chicago to Hong Kong as I traveled to adopt a daughter from China — a time when issues of race and identity were foremost in my own mind. He writes as beautifully as he speaks, which is high praise. I highly recommend this book.

I’ve never had the chance to speak to Obama, although I would really like to. As part of the annual fundraising auction at our school, Obama donated the chance for someone to have lunch with him. I will certainly be bidding, but was told the price tag will likely be $20,000.

(Also donated was the chance to have lunch with one of the authors of Freakonomics, with an expected winning bid of $20.)


londenio

Maybe Obama bids to have lunch with you. 20$ seems like a bargain for a Senator's expense account.

minderbender

For those of us in the Chicago area, when is this auction?

www.acsh.org

--As long as it was Obama, not Harold Ford Jr.
The Hill Reports:
-------
http://thehill.com/thehill/export/TheHill/News/UndertheDome/020706.html
---

NBC's Williams apologizes after Obama-Ford mix-up

“NBC Nightly News” anchor Brian Williams told The Hill that he wrote Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Rep. Harold Ford Jr. (D-Tenn.) letters of apology last week after he confused the two men at the State of the Union address.

During NBC's broadcast, Williams noticed Obama on the House floor and identified him to the viewing audience. Unfortunately, it was actually Ford.

“I made a silly and honest mistake, and knowing both men I knew instantly what I had done,” a contrite and gracious Williams said in a phone call. “I obviously should have corrected it, but the proper time never arose.”

Williams isn't alone. Rewind to last's year's State of the Union. Another reporter asked Obama's office why he hugged the president. Again, it was Ford.

People mix them up plenty, even though the Capitol Rotunda separates the two men on most workdays. And “they don't look that much alike,” one Senate staffer said. That they get confused at all is “pretty amazing,” one House aide lamented.

Neither Ford nor Obama's offices would comment.

The two lawmakers are good friends, and Ford even campaigned for Obama in 2004.

If Ford is successful in getting himself elected to the Senate this fall, the mix-ups may deepen.

Read more...

DarrenFast

The recently elected Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper dropped his kids off at school the day after he was elected and stated he intends to keep doing so. He also shook their hands rather than giving them a hug. It was rather amusing.

Princess Leia

Maybe the two of you could offer to take two others to lunch together. The combined effect might get the school even more than $20,020, and you would get to schmooze with the Senator (who does seem very cool)!

Keith

I also liked Obama's book, even though he notes himself it's 50 pages too long. Like many Illinois voters, I differ with him on some policy issues, but he's articulate, very smart, a really genuine person, and funnier than most professional comedians. Just a freshman senator, he really MIGHT be the first black president. His weak point is a scant legislative history. I applaud his principled stand againt eighth grade graduation celebrations.

StCheryl

The threshold question is how many US Senators have kids in nursery school?

mobiusmodx

Woah. What school is this to count Barak Obama and Steven Levitt as two parents (the latter being more important than the former, as far as I am concerned)?

mobiusmodx

by important, i meant impressive

chicagogirl

Do you even see the irony/hypocrisy in what you're saying? You're moved by Obama's "outstanding memoir" about race, identity, etc. as you traveled to the other side of the world to adopt a Chinese child when right here in your own city, there are thousands of children in the DCFS system who need adopting -- the majority of whom are Black and Brown and will remain in the system. Give me a break, guy. You still don't get it. Obama doesn't need your money. I can think of tons of better, more productive ways for you to spend it, and on more deserving people.

Steven D. Levitt

Chicagogirl,

I think you missed the point of my post. It certainly was not to congratulate myself for adopting. My decision to adopt was done purely out of self-interest, not
to save the world.

I'm curious, how many children have you
adopted out of the DCFS system?

asparagus

Chicagogirl,

Some knowledge for you. Speaking as a white adoptive parent of a black son (from Haiti), my experience is that it is very difficult to adopt in many parts of the U.S.

There seems to be a strong reluctance to have non-black parents adopt in many jurisdictions. Practically speaking, the financial and bureaucratic barriers are also much greater in the U.S. than in many other places.

Like Steven, my adoption decision was also purely selfish.

adm33

Steven, where in China is your child adopted from? I was greatly surprised at the following coincidence: Friends adopted a girl from China, and they gave me a copy of the girl's paper, with Chinese name, for me to get one of my former students (I taught in China for 2 years) to write her name in calligraphy for framing. When I looked at the paper, the girl was from the same town on the Yangtze river I had lived in for two years!

Loved the book and now the blog. Thanks. (As well as Sen. Obama's book...)

sophistry

I just want to know what the final auction results were.

londenio

Maybe Obama bids to have lunch with you. 20$ seems like a bargain for a Senator's expense account.

minderbender

For those of us in the Chicago area, when is this auction?

www.acsh.org

--As long as it was Obama, not Harold Ford Jr.
The Hill Reports:
-------
http://thehill.com/thehill/export/TheHill/News/UndertheDome/020706.html
---

NBC's Williams apologizes after Obama-Ford mix-up

"NBC Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams told The Hill that he wrote Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Rep. Harold Ford Jr. (D-Tenn.) letters of apology last week after he confused the two men at the State of the Union address.

During NBC's broadcast, Williams noticed Obama on the House floor and identified him to the viewing audience. Unfortunately, it was actually Ford.

"I made a silly and honest mistake, and knowing both men I knew instantly what I had done," a contrite and gracious Williams said in a phone call. "I obviously should have corrected it, but the proper time never arose."

Williams isn't alone. Rewind to last's year's State of the Union. Another reporter asked Obama's office why he hugged the president. Again, it was Ford.

People mix them up plenty, even though the Capitol Rotunda separates the two men on most workdays. And "they don't look that much alike," one Senate staffer said. That they get confused at all is "pretty amazing," one House aide lamented.

Neither Ford nor Obama's offices would comment.

The two lawmakers are good friends, and Ford even campaigned for Obama in 2004.

If Ford is successful in getting himself elected to the Senate this fall, the mix-ups may deepen.

Read more...

DarrenFast

The recently elected Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper dropped his kids off at school the day after he was elected and stated he intends to keep doing so. He also shook their hands rather than giving them a hug. It was rather amusing.

Princess Leia

Maybe the two of you could offer to take two others to lunch together. The combined effect might get the school even more than $20,020, and you would get to schmooze with the Senator (who does seem very cool)!

Keith

I also liked Obama's book, even though he notes himself it's 50 pages too long. Like many Illinois voters, I differ with him on some policy issues, but he's articulate, very smart, a really genuine person, and funnier than most professional comedians. Just a freshman senator, he really MIGHT be the first black president. His weak point is a scant legislative history. I applaud his principled stand againt eighth grade graduation celebrations.