Two months before his 2008 election, Barack Obama addressed a roomful of Ohio public school teachers, praising their long hours and talking about his daughters' starting 2nd and 5th grade. It was a typical Democratic education speech, with vows of support for early childhood education, for building up programs that help students from "the day they're born until the day they graduate from college."
Then Obama departed from the usual feel-good talking points. He touted competition, charter schools, and school choice. "I believe in public schools, but I also believe in fostering competition within the public schools," he said. "And that's why, as president, I'll double the funding for responsible charter schools."