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August 5th, 2008
03:55 PM ET

Obama on No Child Left Behind – and apple fritters

Larry Rohter
Pool Reporter

Editor's Note: This pool report was filed by Larry Rohter of the New York Times, while on the campaign trail in Ohio.

Sen. Barack Obama, with Sen. Sherrod Brown and Gov. Ted Strickland in tow, stopped briefly at Stahl’s Farm Market in Edinburg, Ohio. The first thing that drew Sen. Obama’s attention when he came in the door were apple fritters on the counter. “I think this is the ticket, right here. I might have to get a bag of these.”

The market specializes in fresh fruits and vegetables, however, and so something else quickly caught Sen. Obama’s eye. “Let’s go look at the peaches,” he said. There were also melons, lettuce, carrots, eggplants, blueberries, etc. on counters and in baskets, much of them labeled as “grown in Ohio” or Michigan , suggesting that Stahl’s makes an effort to adhere to the “local food” movement.

The first customers to talk to Sen. Obama were the Jolivette family: Greg, Mary Pat and their three young children, Georgie, 6, Tony, 2, and Charlie, three weeks old. Sen. Obama tried to chat with the children, but while George seemed loquacious enough, Tony was a little shy. Mr. Jolivette, a lawyer, asked Sen. Obama about playing basketball while on the campaign trail, and Sen. Obama admitted it was hard to keep up. “You gotta game?” he asked Mr. Jolivette, interested. “What do you do?”

Sen. Obama also talked with Patty Eskridge and her friend Carol Shoop. Both are teachers, on vacation. They were returning from horseback riding and decided to stop to buy some fruit on their way home. Eskridge urged Sen. Obama to make sure to buy some peaches, since they are in season. “What a sweet man,” she said afterwards.

At the check-out counter, there was a friendly debate over who would pay. Both Sen. Brown and Gov. Strickland wanted to pay the bill, but Sen. Obama insisted: “This is all on me.” He joked that he ought to buy some of the apple fritters because Robert Gibbs, a senior strategist, doesn’t like fruit. “I’ll eat a peach if you’ll buy them,” Gibbs retorted.

All told Sen. Obama bought three bags of peaches, one of which he gave to a local TV reporter to distribute to local media. He also bought a bag of apple fritters. The Jolivette family was still around, and had their pictures taken with Sen. Obama. Mary Pat Jolivette wished Sen. Obama a happy birthday, and he jokingly lamented turning 47.

Outside the front door, on his way back to the bus, Sen. Obama again encountered Patty Eskridge. She and Carol Shoop had called another friend and fellow teacher, Carol Weigand, on a cell phone, and Weigand had hurried over, wearing an Obama pin on the lapel of her blouse.

Sen. Obama talked for a couple of minutes with all three of the women. The bulk of their conversation focused, as might be expected, on education issues and policy, No Child Left Behind in particular. But before the conversation turned serious, there was an amusing exchange. On learning that all three teachers teach at the middle school level, Sen. Obama confessed: “I was just terrible in middle school.” The women laughed, and one of them said “we all are.”

The brief conversation about NCLB ended with Sen. Obama promising “that is all going to change. Of course, I’ve got to get elected.” He then turned to leave, and one of the women responded: “Go get ’em.”


Filed under: Barack Obama • Behind The Scenes
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. donna

    All children deserve an equal education. Some children are more of a challenge so they deserve more attention. They are a challenge so they are given up on. The teachers then focus on the brightest. They also deserve to be challenged. It all boils down to funds available for the education of these students and I don't think Barrack Obama will be able to fix this problem.
    The dumb stay dumb and grow up and get into trouble. For whatever reason some parents just aren't there. Maybe they don't have the education to help their children, does that mean the children don't deserve it. Some are so poor and do care and try but health, work and lack of education in some parents make for bad parenting that the parents can't even help.

    August 7, 2008 at 9:11 am |
  2. greg N.C.

    very good point on the primary issue Lampe. i did not watch that much of it, but, i did not see any thing from obama's camp other than saying we need change. We do need some change, we as a counrt needs to get away from these bleading heart liberals and all of this political correctness.

    August 7, 2008 at 1:27 am |
  3. lampe

    Thank You Greg. N.C. I really hate it when people read your post, and claim they know what your really thinking. My reasons, for not liking Obama has nothing really to do with him, or the color of his skin. I feel that he was hand-picked by The DNC, not because he ran a good campaign, or because he was the better canidate. The only thing he said his entire primary campaign against Sen. Clinton, was he was The Canidate OF Change, how does that win you the primaries?

    August 6, 2008 at 12:42 pm |
  4. Ryan Field

    Guess what, Chris. You're right. I'm bitter and frustrated and I get more annoyed as the weeks pass and this campaign continues. The DNC chose the candidate; but my one small vote, combined with millions of others, will choose the President. Who will be John McCain.

    Did you know that John Kerry actually asked McCain to run as his VP? I'll bet you didn't know that.

    August 6, 2008 at 10:09 am |
  5. greg N.C.

    Don what do you mean boy, i read Lampe's post and i did not see the word boy in there any were? obama just does not have any idea how to run a country, he has not been in the national evironment that long.

    I have a sick feeling that if obama gets in to office he will turn on America and sell us out to Europe or the muslim countries.

    August 6, 2008 at 12:27 am |
  6. hmmmm

    I wonder how many times George W. Bush got asked about his basketball skills on the campaign trail.

    August 5, 2008 at 11:01 pm |
  7. lampe

    Don: I'm so happy that your favorite past-time is reading people's minds. Tell me what I think of you?

    August 5, 2008 at 10:53 pm |
  8. Lamont austin

    Right on chris i couldnt have said it better, in fact it seems that everyone going against Obama has that same perspective. Qoute from chris: "your hate is greater than your common sense" I have no respect for people who voted for clinton and now will vote for Mcclame, anybody who would do that has to be against Obama just for being black, and i wouldnt try to paint the racist picture on anyone
    but i hqve this overwhelming feeling thats what it is. People are actually writting negative books about Obama and he isnt even president yet.
    Ive had over three encounters where people (white people) are obviously disturbed and tried to start fights cause a black man has a chance at being president, i never questioned Bill Clinton when they said he was in-experienced, i was never mad that white men were president all of my life until this year and the only reason im mad now is because people (white people) wont be honest about there true feelings, When they say because they dont know him, just say its because he's black, you all know thats what it is. Im very comfortable with Obama being president and you know, part of that comfort is because he is black, tells me alot about how white peope have felt all of my life, "COMFORTABLE"
    Is there anyone that has the courage to be honest about what ive written, I dont think so, and i know why, your still trapped behind that covert vail of racism, and some of you probably dont even know your racist.

    ARIZONA RON FROM TUCSON
    a person with two opressed cultures blood within him.
    (indian and black)

    August 5, 2008 at 10:31 pm |
  9. Leslie Sorrels

    I keep hearing about how close the polls are between Obama and McCain and how perplexing that is. Has it occured to anyone that many of the college aged voters only have cell phones and they never answer calls from people they do not know. It is possible that the polsters are not reaching a large percent of Obama supporters for that reason. I personally do not answer calls on my phone when the caller ID says "toll free call" or "Unassigned" or any number of other callers I do not recognize so I may have missed a polster or two myself. If they had called here I would have enthusiastically espoused my suport for Obama. He is a born leader the perfect man for the job of President of the United States.

    August 5, 2008 at 10:21 pm |
  10. Don

    Lampe can you spell bitter . YOU FORGOT TO CALL HIM BOY THIS TIME. I KNOW WHAT YOU ARE SAYING WHEN YOU SAY BOY.

    August 5, 2008 at 9:07 pm |
  11. lampe

    Please ,this man has no experience fixing anything. Oh! wait a minute he did help Father Phleger get lots of money. This man is a joke, his kids will have the best education, while children in poorer areas, will be left out in the cold. He doesn't even want poor kids to be able to get school-vouchers. Now explain that Obama supporters. Well maybe he'll flip on that next week.

    August 5, 2008 at 8:55 pm |
  12. chris

    RYAN
    You are hillarious as a former Clinton supporter i will never vote for Mccain his policies are opposite of what i supported Clinton for,why in the hell would i vote Mccain.This means your hate is greater than your common sense.I understand politics they all have skeletons,they all flip flop (some more than others,and mud sling.Im impress that Obama seems not to do it as much .God know Bill was my favorite president but he even has done some things i question

    August 5, 2008 at 8:41 pm |
  13. Melissa Los Angeles

    The problem is that there aren't enough funds for public schools – it's a question of WHERE the funds are going. I'm sure a lot of these higher up administrators are funneling that money to themselves instead of putting that money into the actual school itself. That's what Obama needs to change – these people raking in beyond six figures while schools are falling apart.

    August 5, 2008 at 7:57 pm |
  14. Ryan Field

    Just because someone is polite and qualifies to run for President under the constitution doesn't mean he's ready to be President. I'm a liberal Democrat, and Clinton supporter, and I'm proudly voting for John McCain this fall.

    So, Nancy Pelosi and Howard Dean, looks like you guys are going to sweat this one out. I'm not even watching the convention this year; it would be too difficult to get through.

    And, by the way, someone please mention to Barack Obama that liberal Democrats who supported Hillary don't care if he wears a flag pin and we don't care if he says the pledge with his hand over his heart (seriously). We want someone who is authentic, and so far it's not Barack Obama.

    August 5, 2008 at 7:50 pm |
  15. Tammy, Berwick, LA

    Someone needs to ask Obama if his daughters will be subjected to his solution to NCLB in the public schools of DC if he's elected. Or will they be too good and sent to private schools while our kids and teachers have to live with the garbage he calls an education program? If it's good enough for our kids, it should be good enough for his.

    August 5, 2008 at 7:22 pm |
  16. Maryellen Brady

    Right on Willie Whyte!! Obama is the hope for our children and grandchildren to have a future. Barack Obama represents; hope, capable governance(something woefully lacking especially in W's administration) worldwide respect, peace with dignity and restoration of fiscal responsibility. The real choice in this election year is for a Progressive Democrat or Retro-Republican. McCain is too old, tunnel-visioned and dull.

    August 5, 2008 at 7:15 pm |
  17. willie whyte

    I always felt there was a true gentleman in the running for president. (Sorry John, it's not you this time.)
    So let's get behind him, bury the hatchet, and give our grandkids a much safer and healthier world to live in.

    President Obama for 8 years!

    August 5, 2008 at 6:30 pm |