That’s right: President William Howard Taft was the last president to visit the University of Kansas campus.
▪ “Coach Self won 10 straight; I lost two straight here.” — President Barack Obama opening his address in Lawrence Thursday. He was referring to Bill Self’s 10 straight Big 12 basketball championships and the fact that Obama lost Kansas in both the 2008 and 2012 elections. (It wasn’t even close).
Interesting that the president chose two of the reddest states in the country — Kansas and Idaho — for post-State of the Union visits. He was trying to emphasize the idea that Obama first made at the 2004 Democratic National Convention when he came to prominence. His point: We’re all in this together and his policies can benefit both Ds and Rs. Some of his aides had argued against visiting states like Kansas. They said it would be a waste of time. The view here is that all states deserve presidential visits.
▪ “I recently heard from Bob Dole, as well. He told me he’s very proud of his Institute of Politics here. Any school of politics named for Bob Dole is one I’d be proud of, too, because he is a great Kansan and a great American.” — Obama.
Classy plug for the long-time Republican leader and his very classy institute.
▪ “I’m a Kansas guy.” — Obama referring to his Kansas roots.
It’s easy to forget that. Obama reminded the crowd that his mother was born in Wichita, that her mother had grown up in Augusta and that her father was from El Dorado. “I’ve got deep roots in Kansas,” he said.
▪ “I don’t want anybody being `daycare poor.’” — Obama pitching his child care initiative aimed at low- and middle-income families.
But the GOP-led Congress doesn’t appear too interested in this program — or one making community college free. The president still has some convincing to do.