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Obama makes pleas for education, teachers in North Las Vegas speech


Steve Marcus

President Barack Obama smiles during a roundtable discussion on K-12 education with Clark County teachers Claritssa Sanchez, foreground left, Lori Elizabeth Henrickson, and Isaac Barron at Canyon Springs High School in North Las Vegas Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2012.

Updated Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2012 | 11:32 a.m.

Obama at Canyon Springs High School

President Barack Obama smiles as he prepares to speak at a rally at Canyon Springs High School in North Las Vegas Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2012. Launch slideshow »

Obama Education Roundtable

President Barack Obama holds a roundtable to discuss K-12 education with Clark County teachers Lori Elizabeth Henrickson, left, Isaac Barron and Claritssa Sanchez at Canyon Springs High School in North Las Vegas Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2012. Launch slideshow »
Click to enlarge photo

President Obama waves as he boards Air Force One to depart Las Vegas from Nellis Air Force Base, Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2012.

The line to get into President Barack Obama’s first official Southern Nevada campaign stop of 2012 started before sunrise, and by 7 a.m. snaked through the Canyon Springs High School parking lot requiring several campaign staffers to manage its shifting branches.

The gym was packed an hour later and chants of “O-ba-ma!” “Yes we can!” and “Four more years,” seeped through the doors, teasing those still waiting outside in intermittent rain.

Before delivering a 25-minute speech, Obama met privately with a group of teachers, and his comments afterwards focused on education.

“We are a better country than one that short changes the next generation just so we can shower tax cuts on folks who are already wealthy,” Obama said.

Obama said presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney “doesn’t think our children’s education is worth investing in.”

“Governor Romney said we’ve got enough teachers; we don’t need more,” Obama said.

Before the president took the stage, songs such as “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” by Stevie Wonder and Wilco’s “I Got You,” along with a series of speakers including State Sen. Steven Horsford, helped energize the crowd. An estimated 2,100 people filled the gym, and more than 600 others watched from an overflow room, according to North Las Vegas Police figures released by the Obama campaign.

“President Obama understands that a good education cannot be a luxury,” said Horsford, who is battling Republican Danny Tarkanian for the 1st District congressional seat. The president, Horsford reminded the crowd, has worked to expand federal grants for college and other education initiatives, including allowing states like Nevada to obtain waivers to the “top-down mandates” of No Child Left Behind.

“We worked with Democrats and Republicans to fix No Child Left Behind,” Obama said. “Here in Nevada a waiver has been granted, because we want high standards but we don’t want teachers teaching to the test.”

One of the teachers Obama met with before his speech, Claritssa Sanchez, introduced the president.

“When I first started teaching five years ago my class sizes were about 33 students per class,” said Sanchez, who teaches 10th-grade world history and government at Canyon Spring. “Today I walk into a classroom with about 45 students … I wish (Gov. Romney) could spend one day in my classroom and see what its really like. When he says class sizes don’t even matter, I want to know why he thinks he knows what’s better for students than us teachers.”

Cles Saunders, a retired electrician, left his Pahrump home at 5 a.m. and arrived at 6:15 a.m. to find a line already forming outside at the high school. Saunders said he was particularly interested in the issue of education.

“I’d like to see tuition rates lowered, student debt lowered, and, in some instances, forgiven,” said Saunders, who was wearing a button depicting Obama in a Superman costume. “Progress is key, and the Republican Party has really been the party of ‘no.’”

At one point, about 10 minutes into the president’s comments, a heckler started shouting out and was forcibly removed from the gymnasium. By the end of Obama’s speech, though, his supporters were drowning out the president’s final words with boisterous chants.

Romney, who campaigned in North Las Vegas earlier this month, was scheduled to make campaign stops Wednesday in Iowa and Arkansas.

Several polls in the past week have Romney and Obama within the margin of error of each other, deadlocked with fewer than 80 days until the election.

Obama arrived in Nevada on Tuesday, and he spoke at Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno before flying Tuesday night into Nellis Air Force Base. The president stayed overnight at Lake Las Vegas.

With this morning's speech behind him, Obama returned to Nellis and boarded Air Force One in a heavy thunderstorm. At 11:20 a.m., his jet departed Nellis en route to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, where he is scheduled to attend a campaign event tonight at Lincoln Center.

The current two-day swing in Nevada is Obama’s sixth trip this year to the state, but his first official campaign visit of the year.

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  1. Comment removed by moderator. Personal Attack

  2. Mr. O once said teachers should be able to work up to $100K in compensation--for GOOD teachers than get results. Well CCSD is ALREADY PAYING $96k and not to GOOD teachers--just people who've checked a few more seat-warming class room "completions" and now demand higher pay.

  3. I caught the news clip where they jammered about small class sizes. They were WRONG again and misrepresenting reality. There is NO EVIDENCE that class size matters in RESULTS. Sure, teachers prefer fewer students to track, grade....but there is NO EVIDENCE that ... There is evidence that GOOD TEACHERS with LARGE CLASSES result in much better learning.

  4. @ Judy...

    "Mark - you are a typical right wing TEA Bagger who has incredible difficulty with reality. Quit dribbling."

    Ha ha ha!!!


    Hey, TeaNutz...
    Remember when Bill O'Reilly, the Neo-Nut of Fox, had THIS to say...

    O'Reilly Slams Tea Party's 'Hateful Rhetoric,' Warns GOP 'Craziness' Is Just Helping Obama'...

    It was one of Bill's 'moments of sanity', and he was right on the Rmoney!

    So, keep up your propaganda campaign...
    but remember O'Reilly's words;
    'your just helping Obama'!


  5. "We are a better country than one that short changes the next generation just so we can shower tax cuts on folks who are already wealthy," Obama said.


    Because the alternative is DISASTER!

  6. "It's all about how Obama grew up hangin' with socialists, communists, marxists and unrepentent 60's terrorists."

    You mean like Daniel Ellsberg? Ellsberg is one of the greatest sources of moral virtue for the last century. Julian Assange will be among those nominated for this century. If you can't see the light, try using both hands next time, hang on hard and pull straight down.

  7. Glad to see the president hasn't changed... still pandering for votes instead of leading. This guy has spent more time campaigning than his two predecessors combined in each of their first terms. I guess there is no need to govern when one can delegate the running of the country to the White House staff and Harry Reid.

  8. TEA is onto something again. How about TEACHERS rewarding students who perform--instead of dumbing down to the lowest denominator. If kids behave, compliment them. If students do their homework, compliment them by name. If students do their homework well, use those gold stars and blue ribbons. And while we're on it, just what are we supposed to believe teachers buy for their class rooms that cost thousands and thousands of dollars? Their "business" clothes? OK, I'll grant that a few might buy chalk but I don't see kids receiving expensive school supplies and I don't see same used in class rooms.

  9. I find it amusing that Obama CLAIMS to support people getting an education, but slams Romney on his drive to further our educations at any cost, even if it means borrowing from our parents- scoffing him and saying "Get real, Mitt". Blatant hypocracy from our liar in chief.

  10. "As ThinkProgress previously reported, U.S. Senate candidate Todd "Legitimate Rape" Akin (R-MO) believes the federal government should "end its support for school lunch programs," His vote reflects his hostility towards the idea that the richest country in the world should ensure that its children have adequate nutrition."

    Also, in 1984 Todd Akin earned a Master of Divinity degree at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis. During college he was member of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity....(a Master of Divinity?)

    School lunches are considered an "entitlement" to many conservatives. Here is someone who feels that Obama is destroying America with liberal programs. Maybe these children should be working at a car wash after school to pay for the baloney sandwiches?

    No wonder the religious right hates Obama.

  11. "We have created the world's newest financial aristocracy, a class that has successfully put itself beyond the reach of government constraint and can do pretty much whatever it wants " in pursuit of its own personal gain."

    From the book: "The Betrayal of the American Dream" Donald L. Barlett, James B. Steele.

    The wealthy, as an overwhelming majority, want to pull the ladder up into their tree house and cut the path off for everyone who hasn't made it 'yet'.

    No wonder they hate Obama.

  12. Taxpayers have no obligation to pay for higher ed. And, no obligation to pay for loans. Many of these "students" are completely non-performers. Some may have the ability, but they've never done anything. Many can't even make the grade in K-12. So why on earth should we pour thousands more into loans, grants, work-study? I'd support a sane system of working their way through community college or tech school so they can work their way through four-year degrees and such. If they can't work their way through, why "educate" them further? Let's use our limited resources in the more productive ways--such as assisting the gifted and productive, not the run-of-the-mill non-performers.

  13. @TEA- Obama losing in Minnesota? Not going to happen. There hasn't been a single poll that suggests Romney is even close. Neither is Romney going to get 320 electoral votes. In fact, I haven't seen a single respected political scientist who thinks that if Romney wins, he'll get over 280 or so electoral vote.

    Check out Nate Silver, a statistician who crunches data for a living, and who is a heck of a lot smarter than all of us ( He currently has Obama winning about 290 electoral votes.

    At, professor Tannenbaum has Obama getting 297.

    Or, if you want a conservative guy, check out www.electionprojection, where he has Obama getting 303 votes.

    Facts (or intelligent opinions) must be annoying to you tea-partiers... they always seem to get in the way of your insanity!