Well, you might have missed it—what with little kids being aloft in balloons (or not being aloft in balloons) and interracial couples having the nerve to get married in Louisiana (or not getting married in Louisiana), but yesterday was the President’s town hall meeting at the University of New Orleans during his first trip to NOLA since becoming president.
Not a whole lot of solid or new information from the meeting. (The White House does have an 8-page document detailing recovery progress in the region thus far; scroll to bottom of the press release.) But the town hall was worth the price of admission because of this interchange, straight from the From-the-Mouths-of-Babes files:
THE PRESIDENT: …All right, I’ve got time for one more question. It’s a man’s turn, isn’t it? It’s a guy’s turn. Okay, here’s — this young man, right here. I’m going to let him use my special mic. Hey, this is a big guy — don’t go “awww.” Come on, man, I mean, this is a — all right, what’s your name?
Q Terrence Scott (phonetic).
THE PRESIDENT: Terrence Scott. What do you have to say?
Q I have to say, why do people hate you and why — they supposed to love you, and God is love and –
THE PRESIDENT: That’s what I’m talking about. (Laughter and applause.) Come on. That’s what I’m talking about. Terrence, I appreciate that. What grade are you in?
THE PRESIDENT: You’re in fourth grade? Well, now, first of all, I did get elected President, so not everybody hates me, now. I don’t want you to — (laughter.) I got a whole lot of votes. I want to make sure everybody understands. But you know, what is true is if you were watching TV lately, it seems like everybody is just getting mad all the time. And, you know, I think that you’ve got to take it with a grain of salt. Some of it is just what’s called politics, where once one party wins then the other party kind of gets — feels like it needs to poke you a little bit to keep you on your toes. And so you shouldn’t take it too seriously.
And then sometimes — as I said before, people just — I think they’re worried about their own lives. A lot of people are losing their jobs right now. A lot of people are losing their health care or they’ve lost their homes to foreclosure. And they’re feeling frustrated. And when you’re President of the United States, you know, you’ve got to deal with all of that. That’s exactly right. And, you know, you get some of the credit when things go good; and when things are going tough, then you’re going to get some of the blame and that’s part of the job.
But, you know, I’m a pretty tough guy. Are you a tough guy? You look like you’re pretty tough. And so you’ve just got to keep on going even when folks are criticizing you. Because as long as you know that you’re doing it for other people. All right? (Applause.) So thank you. You’re a fine young man. I appreciate you. (Applause.) Give Terrence a big round of applause.