Huffpost Politics
Rebecca Klein Headshot

The 2 Words President Obama Refuses To Say

Posted: Updated:
PRESIDENT OBAMA
© Arlene Richie/jpistudios.com

Repeat after us, President Obama, the phrase is not hard to say: "Common [kom-uhn] Core [kohr]."

While Obama has no problem bragging about the new education standards adopted by a majority of states during his presidency, he clearly has an issue calling these standards by their name, the Common Core State Standards. In all the major education-related speeches we could find, Obama hasn't said "Common Core" once. (We even sifted through two searchable online archives of Obama's speeches for good measure. Nada.) Instead, he opts to talk about the Common Core in vague terms, dancing around the label that the public has come to know.

The Common Core State Standards are a set of new education benchmarks embraced by most states after Obama's Race to the Top competition tied the adoption of higher educational standards to federal grant funding for education. The initiative aims make sure students around the country are being held to the same criteria and puts more of an emphasis on critical thinking and deeper learning than previous education standards some states had in place.

But the term "Common Core" has become highly politicized, and it makes sense that President Obama would want to avoid saying it. Even though states voluntarily adopted the Standards, some critics -- often of the Tea Party persuasion -- allege that the measure is an example of federal overreach. Some anti-Common Core activists have taken to calling the Standards "ObamaCore," though others have pointed out that Obama's support could be harmful to the effort.

However, we can't help but think that Obama's education talking points would be much more succinct if he just called the Common Core by its official name.

We've compiled a video list of speeches in which Obama has referenced the Common Core but opted not to call them by their name. Take a look:

  • The 2009 Race To The Top Announcement
    "With the Race to the Top fund we will reward states that come together and adopt a common set of standards and assessments."

    Where the vagueness began.
  • 2010 Speech At Virginia School
    "Forty-eight states have now joined a nationwide partnership to develop a common set of rigorous, career-ready standards in reading and math."

    We really thought he was going to say it that time.
  • 2011 State Of The Union Address
    "For less than 1 percent of what we spend on education each year, it has led over 40 states to raise their standards for teaching and learning. And these standards were developed, by the way, not by Washington, but by Republican and Democratic governors throughout the country."

    Get used to hearing this talking point a lot.
  • 2011 Speech At A Boston School
    "For less than 1 percent of what America spends on education each year, Race to the Top has led over 40 states to raise their standards for teaching and learning. Standards, by the way, that were developed not in Washington but by Republican and Democratic governors all across the country."

    A bit of plagiarizing from his own SOTU address.
  • Second Presidential Debate With Mitt Romney
    "We haven't had a chance to talk about education much, but I think it is very important to understand that the reforms we've put in place, working with 46 governors around the country, are ... starting to succeed."

    You don't say? Oh wait, you did already.
  • 2012 Speech At Nevada High School
    "For less than 1 percent of what our nation spends on education each year, almost every state has now agreed to raise standards for teaching and learning."

    Where have we heard this before?
  • 2012 State Of The Union Address
    "For less than one percent of what our nation spends on education each year, we've convinced nearly every state in the country to raise their standards for teaching and learning."

    Sound Familiar?
  • 2012 No Child Left Behind Waiver Speech
    "For less than 1 percent of what our nation spends on education each year, we've gotten almost every state in the nation to raise their standards for teaching and learning."

    He just loves the 1 percent statistic.
  • 2012 Democratic National Convention Speech
    "For the first time in a generation nearly every state has answered our call to raise their standards for teaching and learning."

    Could have saved so many syllables by just saying "Common Core."
  • 2012 Urban League Convention
    "Here's what Race to the Top says: Instead of Washington imposing standards from the top down, lets challenge states to adopt common standards voluntarily from the bottom up."

    This one's more creative than we're used to.
  • 2013 State Of The Union Address
    "Four years ago, we started Race to the Top, a competition that convinced almost every state to develop smarter curricula and higher standards, all for about 1 percent of what we spend on education each year."

    Even in his second term, still no use of the phrase "Common Core."
  • 2013 Speech At Brooklyn High School
    "I also want to congratulate Governor Cuomo and all of you in New York for having the courage to raise your standards for teaching and learning, to make sure that more students graduate from high school ready for college and a career."

    At this point, we're not expecting him to ever say "Common Core."
  • The 2014 State Of The Union
    "Race to the Top, with the help of governors from both parties, has helped states raise expectations and performance. ... Some of this change is hard. It requires everything from more challenging curriculums and more demanding parents, to better support for teachers."

    And the vagueness continues.
 
Register To Vote