Breakfast with Barack
Obama listens to a question during a roundtable this morning on Sand Hill Road.
“We have an economy that is doing well for some. But we have greater inequality than any time since the Guilded Age.
We may be the first generation where out children inherit an America that is a little poorer and a little meaner than before.
I am a risky proposition. If you ask who will likely win the election, I’d consider myself still an underdog. The press may not think so, but I do. But the upside is enormous. The way the race is emerging, it’s between me and Hillary. In her attack on my experience, she is saying ‘I know how things are done. I can manage the existing system.’ I am saying the system needs to change. That’s my pitch. If you agree that more of the same is not sufficient, then I am your best bet. If the status quo is manageable, then you have other choices.
This will be a sequential race, like it was for Kerry in the primary. It’s all up for grabs in the early states. Democratic primary voters are not inspired by Hillary, but they respect her. I do better with Independents and Republicans. With Hillary, the Democrats know what they are going to get. They are not yet sure if they can hand me the keys to the car.”
Question on math & science education:
“A whole generation got into math and science because of Apollo. The President has to talk about it in a way that has not been done recently. It’s a subtle thing. In the last several years, I have been shocked by the degree of anti-intellectualism that has been promulgated by the Bush Administration. He jokes about being a C student. ‘I’m not big on science. I know what I think.’ Kids absorb that. I’d like to spend eight years extolling the importance of science and technology and problem solving and critical thinking.”
“Part of the job of the next President is to make the Federal Government cool again. We have lost so much talent in Federal agencies. What smart kid is saying ‘my goal is to work in the patent office.’ They think it’s a bureaucracy.”
(gotta run; more later)