He was two years away from that magical night when he was elected the 44th President of the United States. United States Senator Barack Obama delivered the commencement address at Northwestern University. The elite midwestern university in suburban Chicago provided the opportunity for this freshman senator to challenge students to take risks and test themselves. It is a lesson that applies to many of us at different phases of our life. Even on the nation's highest level of achievement the challenge continues - even when you're one year into your second term as president.
We had a professor at the Maxwell School in studio tonight. She pronounced President Obama a lame duck just hours before his tour bus is scheduled to arrive in Syracuse. Profressor Margaret Thompson said whatever fresh ideas the President proposes tomorrow at Henninger High School to improve the value and affordability of college for middle class families he will have a difficult time gathering support in congress to accomplish much.
Her declaration got us briefly discussing the alternative view of a second term in the White House. The view that our nation's leader no longer needs to worry about his own electability. He is liberated to generate action on ideas he knows can move the nation forward without concern for the critics that might otherwise chase those ideas back into the shadows.
Just as Senator Obama said in that Northwestern speach success comes from challenging oneself, taking risks and finding the will to make things happen. On that day he called on our nation to be more empathetic, more willing to see what the other side sees. Wouldn't it be exciting if the words that come from his mouth in that high school gymnasium are filled with big ideas, risks that will be followed by a will to change for the better.
Let us hope six years from now someone searches Youtube for the Henninger High address on education and sees a president shedding the label of lame duck who set the nation on a new course that created limitless opportunity for high school students to become successful college students. Senator Obama told that class he expects a lot of them, our nation should also expect a lot from our president over the next three years.
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