Obama Delivers Commencement at the Opposite of Wesleyan

In an apparent effort to appear politically well-rounded  after speaking at Wesleyan last May, President Obama delivered the commencement address at Notre Dame University’s graduation ceremony yesterday.

It was controversial for some wingnuts because it’s a Catholic institution and Obama is pro-choice, but it turned out mostly fine except for this minor hitch:

Transcript after the jump:

For Immediate Release May 17, 2009 3:06 P.M. EDT

REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT IN COMMENCEMENT ADDRESS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME

University of Notre Dame
South Bend, Indiana

THE PRESIDENT: I also want to congratulate the Class of 2009 for all your accomplishments. And since this is Notre Dame —

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Abortion is murder! Stop killing children!

AUDIENCE: Booo!

THE PRESIDENT: That’s all right. And since —

AUDIENCE: We are ND! We are ND!

AUDIENCE: Yes, we can! Yes, we can!

THE PRESIDENT: We’re fine, everybody. We’re following Brennan’s adage that we don’t do things easily. (Laughter.) We’re not going to shy away from things that are uncomfortable sometimes. (Applause.)

  • Anonymous

    dean acheson spoke here!?!?!?!?

  • Anonymous

    dean acheson spoke here!?!?!?!?

  • Anonymous

    @11, 13, 18:

    Obama mentioning that there is controversy and that people should get along is not crass politicization that diminishes the achievement of Notre Dame graduates, but rather a call (as political as ever) to set aside harsh politics.

    Howover, Obama is hardly the first to politicize a commencement address. Such a speech has, for a long time, been a venue to espouse rhetoric without any messy details or any questions from the press. For example, the Marshall Plan (to rebuild Europe after WWII) was introduced first by Sec. of State George Marshall in his 1947 commencement address at Harvard, and built upon in a commencement speech by Undersecretary Dean Acheson, two weeks later, at our own Wesleyan.

  • Anonymous

    @11, 13, 18:

    Obama mentioning that there is controversy and that people should get along is not crass politicization that diminishes the achievement of Notre Dame graduates, but rather a call (as political as ever) to set aside harsh politics.

    Howover, Obama is hardly the first to politicize a commencement address. Such a speech has, for a long time, been a venue to espouse rhetoric without any messy details or any questions from the press. For example, the Marshall Plan (to rebuild Europe after WWII) was introduced first by Sec. of State George Marshall in his 1947 commencement address at Harvard, and built upon in a commencement speech by Undersecretary Dean Acheson, two weeks later, at our own Wesleyan.

  • Anonymous

    “Wingnuts”? Hopefully, this blog doesn’t turn into the DailyKos.

  • Anonymous

    “Wingnuts”? Hopefully, this blog doesn’t turn into the DailyKos.

  • Mad Joy

    Obama mentioned it in his speech because for weeks and weeks beforehand, people had been talking about the issue of Obama speaking at a Catholic university. If he didn’t mention it, it would have been the elephant in the room. Good for him for calling it out.

    I’m actually pretty pro-life – but I’m also pretty anti-death-penalty. The Catholic Church has been a strong proponent of both these positions. So it’s interesting to me that such a big deal has been made of Obama’s stance on abortion, but not his stance on the death penalty – in the name of the same religion. To me, this shows that at the protest’s heart it is a cultural issue and not a merely religious issue.

  • Anonymous

    Read More. Interviews with the student body revealed that they overwhelmingly support Obama, note the Yes we Can chants from audience. Of course there were notable exceptions such as the Bishop who dissed the event. It’s really a non-news event, Kate +8 extramarital affairs more newsworthy.

  • Anonymous

    Read More. Interviews with the student body revealed that they overwhelmingly support Obama, note the Yes we Can chants from audience. Of course there were notable exceptions such as the Bishop who dissed the event. It’s really a non-news event, Kate +8 extramarital affairs more newsworthy.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, I just read it all for myself. I had just read bits and pieces on CNN and other political sites and the commentary really blew it out of proportion. It was a great speech and I personally agree with what he was saying but at the same time I still don’t think that elected officials who’s mere presence creates division should speak at commencement. I mean, doesn’t he have better things to do with his time too?

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, I just read it all for myself. I had just read bits and pieces on CNN and other political sites and the commentary really blew it out of proportion. It was a great speech and I personally agree with what he was saying but at the same time I still don’t think that elected officials who’s mere presence creates division should speak at commencement. I mean, doesn’t he have better things to do with his time too?

  • Anonymous

    Opposite of Wesleyan =~ God.

  • Anonymous

    Opposite of Wesleyan =~ God.

  • Anonymous

    @11

    I agree in part, but the message of his speech was essentially “people with opposing views can – and need to – work together to solve problems.” To me that’s pretty much in line with what you would expect from a commencement address and itself not political.

  • Anonymous

    @11

    I agree in part, but the message of his speech was essentially “people with opposing views can – and need to – work together to solve problems.” To me that’s pretty much in line with what you would expect from a commencement address and itself not political.

  • Anonymous

    Actually, he did. You can read the full text here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/05/17/obama-notre-dame-speech-f_n_204387.html
    Also, who’s to say that the protesters were Catholic?

  • Anonymous

    Actually, he did. You can read the full text here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/05/17/obama-notre-dame-speech-f_n_204387.html
    Also, who’s to say that the protesters were Catholic?

  • Anonymous

    11/13, he didn’t bring it up – Catholic protesters did

  • Anonymous

    11/13, he didn’t bring it up – Catholic protesters did

  • Anonymous

    #12, that’s my point. People fail to see any bad in Obama but if Bush had given a speech about his pro-abortion views everyone would be in an out roar. Politics and commencement do not mix. For many of the parents and students in attendance, that was the most important day of their lives and instead of it being focused around the students and their accomplishments, it became a controversial issue which could have easily been avoided had Obama not spoken about abortion.

  • Anonymous

    #12, that’s my point. People fail to see any bad in Obama but if Bush had given a speech about his pro-abortion views everyone would be in an out roar. Politics and commencement do not mix. For many of the parents and students in attendance, that was the most important day of their lives and instead of it being focused around the students and their accomplishments, it became a controversial issue which could have easily been avoided had Obama not spoken about abortion.

  • Anonymous

    #11- give it a rest! it was a fucking commencement address, not the gettysburg address. your snotty little diatribe comes across as way more “cocky and arrogant” than obama ever has.

  • Anonymous

    #11- give it a rest! it was a fucking commencement address, not the gettysburg address. your snotty little diatribe comes across as way more “cocky and arrogant” than obama ever has.

  • Anonymous

    I personally think Obama should not have spoken at Notre Dame or any university for that matter. I don’t think that it is the role of elected officials to speak at commencement ceremonies since no university’s student population is in full agreement over political issues. To me, it is disrespectful for Obama to discuss the issue of abortion at commencement because it merely politicizes a ceremony that is supposed to honor the hard work and dedication that each student displayed in order to graduate. It is especially in poor taste to do so at a Catholic university which has a large anti-abortion student base. I think it’s cocky and arrogant for Obama to have done so and it shows that he believes everyone is on his side regardless of the issue or the setting. Sometimes it’s better to just make vague generalizations about the future than to discuss specific political debates.

  • Anonymous

    I personally think Obama should not have spoken at Notre Dame or any university for that matter. I don’t think that it is the role of elected officials to speak at commencement ceremonies since no university’s student population is in full agreement over political issues. To me, it is disrespectful for Obama to discuss the issue of abortion at commencement because it merely politicizes a ceremony that is supposed to honor the hard work and dedication that each student displayed in order to graduate. It is especially in poor taste to do so at a Catholic university which has a large anti-abortion student base. I think it’s cocky and arrogant for Obama to have done so and it shows that he believes everyone is on his side regardless of the issue or the setting. Sometimes it’s better to just make vague generalizations about the future than to discuss specific political debates.

  • Anonymous

    I agree with 8:22

  • Anonymous

    I agree with 8:22

  • Anonymous

    apparently no one’s heard of the term “tongue in cheek” before. also, i’d like to think that we at wesleyan would think of a better, more organized protest if bush was invited to speak; as opposed to the buffoons at notre dame shouting something incomprehendible about their crazy religious beliefs

  • Anonymous

    apparently no one’s heard of the term “tongue in cheek” before. also, i’d like to think that we at wesleyan would think of a better, more organized protest if bush was invited to speak; as opposed to the buffoons at notre dame shouting something incomprehendible about their crazy religious beliefs

  • Anonymous

    I think it’s what’s known as a “joke”, commenting on how politically different Wes and Notre Dame are. I don’t think Sheek really thought Obama spoke at Notre Dame to cancel out his Wesleyan appearance.

  • Anonymous

    I think it’s what’s known as a “joke”, commenting on how politically different Wes and Notre Dame are. I don’t think Sheek really thought Obama spoke at Notre Dame to cancel out his Wesleyan appearance.

  • Anonymous

    It’s egotistical (or Wesegotistical?) to think that the reason he spoke at Notre Dame was to balance out speaking at Wes, as though he even remembers speaking here a year ago when he was a candidate. I mean really, the guy has spoken at plenty of venues, many of which are slightly more famous/prestigious than Wes. Certainly the Notre Dame speech can be looked upon as trying to appeal to the other side, but it has nothing to do with Wes.

  • Anonymous

    It’s egotistical (or Wesegotistical?) to think that the reason he spoke at Notre Dame was to balance out speaking at Wes, as though he even remembers speaking here a year ago when he was a candidate. I mean really, the guy has spoken at plenty of venues, many of which are slightly more famous/prestigious than Wes. Certainly the Notre Dame speech can be looked upon as trying to appeal to the other side, but it has nothing to do with Wes.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t get how that statement is idiotic — can someone please explain? Not trying to be argumentative, I’m just genuinely oblivious I guess.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t get how that statement is idiotic — can someone please explain? Not trying to be argumentative, I’m just genuinely oblivious I guess.

  • Anonymous

    “In an apparent effort to appear politically well-rounded after speaking at Wesleyan last May…”

    Yea, this is an idiotic statement on at least three counts.

  • Anonymous

    “In an apparent effort to appear politically well-rounded after speaking at Wesleyan last May…”

    Yea, this is an idiotic statement on at least three counts.

  • Anonymous

    god knows we at Wes all agree on the abortion issue

  • Anonymous

    god knows we at Wes all agree on the abortion issue

  • Anonymous

    wouldn’t wes react the same way if bush spoke here, though? (not that we’d ever invite him)

    and I know it’s not the same thing at all, because bush sucks and obama does not (imo), but it’s strange for wes students to criticize others for being outspoken about their political beliefs (even though those beliefs are, in this case, shitty)

  • Anonymous

    wouldn’t wes react the same way if bush spoke here, though? (not that we’d ever invite him)

    and I know it’s not the same thing at all, because bush sucks and obama does not (imo), but it’s strange for wes students to criticize others for being outspoken about their political beliefs (even though those beliefs are, in this case, shitty)

  • Anonymous

    well, wes sure does <3 abortions

  • Anonymous

    well, wes sure does <3 abortions

  • Anonymous

    “In an apparent effort to appear politically well-rounded after speaking at Wesleyan last May…”

    hahaha. Come on.

  • Anonymous

    “In an apparent effort to appear politically well-rounded after speaking at Wesleyan last May…”

    hahaha. Come on.