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Sweet column: "Y'all have Popeyes out in Beaumont?" Obama on the bully pulpit.


FORT WORTH, Texas -- On the campaign trail, Democratic front-runner Sen. Barack Obama talks about how he would use the bully pulpit if president, and he offered a demonstration Thursday when he drew wild cheers as he told a mostly African-American crowd that parents need to shape up, turn off the TV, help their kids with their homework and stop letting them grow fat eating Popeyes chicken for breakfast.

"It's not good enough for you to say to your child, 'Do good in school,' and then when that child comes home, you got the TV set on, you got the radio on, you don't check their homework, there is not a book in the house, you've got the video game playing," said Obama while in Beaumont, in southeast Texas.

"So turn off the TV set, put the video game away. Buy a little desk or put that child by the kitchen table. Watch them do their homework. If they don't know how to do it, give them help. If you don't know how to do it, call the teacher. Make them go to bed at a reasonable time. Keep them off the streets. Give ' em some breakfast. Come on. ... You know I am right."

Can change happen with words? That's a core question being raised about the Obama candidacy.

"I've got to talk about us a little bit," said Obama. "We can't keep on feeding our children junk all day long, giving them no exercise. They are overweight by the time they are 4 or 5 years old, and then we are surprised when they get sick."

Obama -- who exercises and is careful about what he eats -- said obese children need to improve their nutrition habits, invoking the name of a chain that makes delicious fried chicken.

"I know how hard it is to get kids to eat properly," Obama said. "But I also know that if folks letting our children drink eight sodas a day, which some parents do, or, you know, eat a bag of potato chips for lunch, or Popeyes for breakfast.

"Y'all have Popeyes out in Beaumont? I know some of y'all you got that cold Popeyes out for breakfast. I know. That's why y'all laughing. ... You can't do that. Children have to have proper nutrition. That affects also how they study, how they learn in school."

Obama has delivered "tough love'' messages before about personal responsibility, but he seemed to revel in his "truth-telling" while campaigning in Beaumont, on a day that also took him to Austin and Fort Worth in advance of Tuesday's crucial primaries.

As Obama stumped in the Lone Star State to Texas-size crowds -- he packed in 13,000 people at the convention center here Thursday night -- his campaign was downplaying any presumption that he will emerge in a few days as the all-but-certain Democratic nominee.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton "is working tirelessly, as is Bill Clinton, in both Ohio and Texas; these races are extraordinarily tight," Obama said during a press conference on his plane en route to Beaumont. The Obama team was shocked to lose the New Hampshire primary in January, and since then, Obama has curbed the bravado that bubbled up in the Granite State.

Obama resisted an invitation by a reporter to write the Clinton campaign obituary. Said Obama, "Remember New Hampshire?"


Obama channels Bill Cosby.

He should have added: send your children to expensive private schools, and then echo the NEA.

The NEA is against school choice, against the testing of teachers, against the testing of children, and everything else that could make life better for the nation's less fortunate students.

Most democratic liberals, with the exception of Carter, send their children to the finest private schools. Hypocrits!

So Clinton’s criticism seems an opportune moment to ask how Patrick’s inspirational rhetoric has translated into governing a state where Democrats control both houses of the legislature—the likely scenario for Obama, too, should he take office. Patrick’s governorship is the closest thing we have to a preview of the “politics of hope”—and that governorship has been a failure to date.


One of Patrick’s first efforts as governor was to eliminate the Office of Educational Quality and Accountability.

"Yes, We Can't" -

I agree with Senator Obama's diatribe concerning the need for continuous and responsible parental involvement in the lives of their children. Statistics show that the more involved a parent is in the daily habits and concerns of thier children, those children are less l ikely to have the time to involve themselves in activities that are dangerous, foolish and misguided. So often we find that children who get into serious trouble most of the time, are children who are left to be responsible for themselves because they have been born to a parent(s) that either does not care enough about them, do not value their existence or lack the proper and positive parenting skills it takes to raise a child. My thinking is that when you choose to bring a child into the world, the responsibility to raise that child is yours and yours alone. If a parent lacks certain skills in life-lessons on how to raise a child, then they should at least have the wherewithall to begin to seek some support through the many parent outreach sources that do exist into the hundreds in many communities.
In connection to Seantor Obama's "Cosby-like speech" I and Annette, parents of slain 16 year-old, Blair Holt, our only child and son, had the dubious distinction to meet and talk with Mr. Cosby when we were invited to be guests on the "Oprah Winfrey" show in October 2007. Mr. Cosby was defending and promoting his book "C'MON PEOPLE" in which he spoke to the issue of good and bad parenting skills and how to this very day he has to endure the loss of his only son, Ennis, who was shot and killed in 1997 while changing a flat tire on his car.
I'm glad that Seantor Obama is speaking to real-life and in-your-face issues. I hope Senator Obama continues to fuel his campaign speeches with more home-grown issues such as his stance on good gun legislation, educational, social, creation of more jobs for
Americans and fair housing other words urban policy issues are paramount to Obama's quest to the White House.

Mark, good post on Patrick or as I like to call him "Obama-Lite".

What, in your opinion, Mark, is "good gun legislation?" Is it the confiscation of guns from law-abiding citizens, as is what happened when the Mayor of New Orelans violated the Constitution and ordered the police and National Guard to go house to house, legally steal the citizens' weapons, and treat them like criminals? To leave the citizenry defenseless against looters and murderers (the looters ran rampant through the streets of New Orleans for a week!).

Freedom of choice includes the RIGHT TO CHOOSE to prevail in a violent encounter.

Guns do not kill people. People kill people.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on February 29, 2008 9:00 AM.

Sweet: Obama says the Clintons' are working "tirelessly" was the previous entry in this blog.

Sweet: New Clinton "Red Phone" ad raises questions about Obama and national security. UPDATE Obama fires back in Houston. Video. is the next entry in this blog.

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