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President Obama Includes Harry Potter Story in Education Speech

Posted by: Melissa
September 07, 2009, 10:12 PM

Tomorrow President Barack Obama will address the nation as it goes back to school; the pre-released text of his speech (which you can read here) includes remarks on the beginnings of Harry Potter as proof that not all great ideas or ventures are accepted as such to start:

But the truth is, being successful is hard. You won’t love every subject you study. You won’t click with every teacher. Not every homework assignment will seem completely relevant to your life right this minute. And you won’t necessarily succeed at everything the first time you try.
That’s OK.  Some of the most successful people in the world are the ones who’ve had the most failures. JK Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was rejected twelve times before it was finally published. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team, and he lost hundreds of games and missed thousands of shots during his career. But he once said, "I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed." 
These people succeeded because they understand that you can’t let your failures define you – you have to let them teach you. You have to let them show you what to do differently next time. If you get in trouble, that doesn’t mean you’re a troublemaker, it means you need to try harder to behave. If you get a bad grade, that doesn’t mean you’re stupid, it just means you need to spend more time studying."

Pres. Obama will deliver the address at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Va., at 10 a.m. MDT; it will be live on the C-SPAN cable channel and streamed life at

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1730 Points

Rhiannon, I couldn’t agree with what you said more….beautifully put! Despite political differences, all Americans should, at the very LEAST, have respect for their president. It’s a sad state of affairs, that some peoples’ agendas have gotten so radical that they can not even have an open enough mind to NOT PRE-JUDGE something before it is even said. In Harry Potter terms, it’s the Umbridge Effect.

Posted by SproutMdme (OoM4,GS,CW) on September 08, 2009, 10:58 PM report to moderator
692 Points

thats brilliant. it seem that mr. president is also a fan of harry potter.

Posted by nsa (ROAR) on September 09, 2009, 05:24 AM report to moderator

Wise speech!! He must have learnt that about Rowling through his wife and daughters, since they visited the set!! XD

Posted by Bonnie Radcliffe on September 09, 2009, 07:21 AM report to moderator
27 Points

Republicans are just having a case of sour grapes…having their party completely and utterly thumped last November…so naturally they are now always looking for anything and everything that they can blame or criticize the Obama Administration on…from ‘insinuating’ he is a muslim…to ‘hinting’ he wasn’t born in America…and now claiming he’s trying to convert their children into democrats with his socialist speech (the same old fear tactics from the past 8 years returns)…

America is a country so young, great and filled with potential…but still marred by those among us who still cling to bigotry…ignorance…and intolerance for anything that is different from them and their beliefs…demonizing them…the previous administration had many parallels to a certain other (fictitious) administration in the HP books…if I may be allowed to elaborate.

I liken the Bush Administration to the Ministry of Magic in Books 5, 6 and 7…and I suspect/hope that the Obama Administration will be the MoM After The War in Book 7. Finally…a proper and qualified President/Minister who does not use fear and manipulation to scare the public into going along with their misguided and ill-conceived plans…(sad to say Fox News is The Daily Prophet) Ok…no more politics from me…whats past is past. Water under the bridge.

I watched the speech and it feels so good to have an articulate, intelligent and inspiring President again…unlike the previous president…Obama had a hard life growing up and did not come from a rich and powerful family who had all the right political connections…for him to have come so far from having so little. THAT is what I call a real leader. Bravo!

Posted by Peavey 5150 on September 09, 2009, 08:00 AM report to moderator
1245 Points

What an excellent speech! It was so inspiring and motivational without sounding like he was talking down to the students or preaching to them. I freel sorry for those studetns who were denied the chance to hear it because of their schools’ or parents’ edict. EPIC FAIL!

Posted by dcsbelle [WBM] OOM3, CW on September 09, 2009, 09:30 AM report to moderator
8069 Points

I love the JKR reference. I had no idea.

Posted by Melinae ♥Squee♥/Professor Truffle on September 09, 2009, 09:51 AM report to moderator
126 Points

Wow! Great speech! Of course, Obama’s speeches are always great. Can’t believe he included HP in it! Sort of fits, though.

Posted by Kita on September 09, 2009, 12:12 PM report to moderator

He is such a big HP fan, I love it (and him)!

Posted by accio_salmon on September 09, 2009, 12:36 PM report to moderator
1468 Points

haha that is really quite funny! and to be honest I didn’t know the book was rejected 12 times. wow, Obama rocks haha

Posted by qwientje on September 09, 2009, 01:05 PM report to moderator
1223 Points


Posted by AudreyLouiseLovegood on September 09, 2009, 03:51 PM report to moderator
4208 Points

That was a good speech from President Obama. He made some excellent points! The story about twelve publishers rejecting JKR’s first novel is true too.

Posted by Fresca ROAR on September 09, 2009, 03:52 PM report to moderator
539 Points

woah, rejected 12 times??? I bet those guys are pissed now.

Posted by Brianna on September 09, 2009, 04:11 PM report to moderator
4881 Points

It’s so scary that there are still people who think like that in the US.. Peavey 5150, I like how you resembled the Bush adinistration to the MoM in books 5,6,7, and the Obama administration to the post-Voldemort MoM..I read ur comment and quite agree.. The US is a young country, but quite influential in this worldly playground (as I like to think of all the countries on this planet when they interact-like children in a huge school playground)..It’s such a pity that they want to use their influence in the wrong way, and are so opposed to a person – who, wherever he was born – seems to have his heart in the right place!! Like where he’s from even matters!! The point is, he’s there, and he cares enough to do sth positive about the place.They seriously need to get over it..

I could go on and on about it, but it just makes me upset.. and by the way, as I wrote in an earlier comment, this post is about HP and JKR, and her success mentioned and respected by another successful, known person.. They should both be admired for what they’ve accomplished, and also because they’ve not changed for the worse, inspite of the influence they now have, and the connections they’ve made..Just like Harry, they’ve remained down-to-earth. Basically what this world needs most..

Posted by HBPFan [ITC!] - CatPhoenix14 on September 09, 2009, 04:20 PM report to moderator
654 Points

it was an amazing speeh

Posted by mjkalldaway (ROAR) on September 09, 2009, 05:25 PM report to moderator
234 Points

I’m liking this guy more and more :D

Posted by stella8h8chang on September 09, 2009, 07:28 PM report to moderator
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