Aw: White House Wondering Why So Few High Schools Have Invited Obama to Speak

Posted: Mar 09, 2011 9:02 AM
This story got some traction around the blogosphere yesterday, so let's recap: Apparently, this is an real concern inside the White House, as evidenced by a series of actual memos on the matter.  The latest on the presidential bruised ego crisis of 2011:

The White House is ramping up an effort to promote a nationwide competition to decide which high school wins a commencement speech by President Obama.

An internal White House memo indicates that the White House is facing a shortage of applications less than a week before the deadline.

The competition was extended from the February 25 deadline until Friday, March 11 after few schools met the original application deadline. CBS News has learned a White House Communications Office internal memo dated February 22 noted "a major issue with the Commencement Challenge."

"As of yesterday we had received 14 applications and the deadline is Friday," the memo said. The memo also urged recipients to, "please keep the application number close hold."

A follow-up memo on February 28 reported receipt of 68 applications. Noting the competition among more than 1,000 schools last year, the memo said, "Something isn't working." It called on staffers to ask "friendly congressional, gubernatorial and mayoral offices" to encourage schools to apply.

In the White House's defense, it's not like there are any genuine crises gripping the country or the world these days.

My colleague Katie Pavlich jokes that some high schools may not be especially eager to have the president speak given his memorably underwhelming performance last year in Michigan, at least for one student:

Winning the future.