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The Secret Presidential IMs: A, Oops, Live Discussion

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December 6, 2005: Last Updated 9:35 a.m. (E.D.T.)

The President Hosts a Live Discussion With The Nation’s Schoolchildren

For the first time in his presidency, George W. Bush will go online to answer questions from the nation’s schoolchildren. The President’s live discussion will take place on Tuesday, December 6 at 10 a.m. EDT at www.whitehouse.gov. Students at selected elementary and high schools with internet access have been chosen to participate. The discussion will be moderated by the President’s counselor Dan Bartlett. He will screen and choose the most relevant questions for the President.

BigBartlett (9:48 AM): Mr. President? We’ll be going on live in a few minutes. Are you ready, Sir?
Kickass43 (9:49 AM): Yep. Sittin at my desk. Got my O’Douls & sandwich. It’s nearly lunchtime 4 me.
BigBartlett (9:50 AM): Just remember I will screen all the questions for you, Sir. There will be no surprises. The session will last 30 minutes.
Kickass43 (9:51 AM): roger
BigBartlett (9:51 AM): We also have Karen and Condi on standby to help you as needed. You’ll see I’ve created a chat room named “Live Discussion.” If you need to IM them with a question, go ahead. No one will see the chat room. I’m doing all the official posting.
Kickass43 (9:53 AM): so I just IM u with my answr rite?
BigBartlett (9:54 AM): Right, Sir.
Kickass43 (9:54 AM): ur sure itll b private
BigBartlett (9:55 AM): Absolutely, Sir. You’ll be able to follow the transcript of the discussion on your computer, but your answers will be posted via me. And let me say again that I think this is a terrific way to reach out to America's youth.
BigBartlett (9:59 AM): Get ready, Sir. Here we go.

Dan Bartlett: I’d like to welcome all the students who will be participating in today’s historic online live discussion with the President. The President is right now sitting at his computer in the Oval Office. He is excited about answering your questions. Don’t forget to let us know what grade you’re in and where you’re from. We’ll keep your names private. So let’s go.

Port Orange, Florida: Hello, Mr. President. I’m a sixth grader. My question is: Do you have any favorite video games? And what are they?

Kickass43 (10:04 AM): How bout this Danno: “I don’t have much time to play video games these days as I’m kinda busy right now running the war. It’s kinda like a giant version of Doom 3. So you might say that’s the video game I’m playing now.”
SecStateUSA (10:05 AM): I’m not sure that’s the right message, Mr. President
BigBartlett (10:05 AM): Let me edit that, Sir.

The President: Thank you for your question. I don’t have much time to play video games these days as I’m very busy protecting our nation from terrorists and winning the war in Iraq. That’s enough exciting action for anyone! But on the rare occasion when I do have time to sit down at the PlayStation with Jenna and Barbara, we like to play Madden. I’ve just got the latest 06 version. Also the latest version of MLB. And hey, say hello to my brother Jeb, who’s working hard to improve education right across your great state.

SecStateUSA (10:07 AM): Bravo, Dan.

Mobile, Alabama: I am an eighth grade African-American student and a big fan of poetry. I was pleased that you chose Maya Angelou to read a poem at the national Christmas tree lighting. Why did you decide to do this?

Kickass43 (10:10 AM): o mano!
Kickass43 (10:10 AM): wat a ttl downer that chick wuz!
Kickass43 (10:11 AM): trnd the “pajent of peace” into “pajent of death & destruction”
IheartUSA (10:11 AM): uh, sir?
Kickass43 (10:12 AM): u HERD her karen!
Kickass43 (10:12 AM): howd it go
Kickass43 (10:12 AM): “thunder rumbles/lightnin rattles/floodwaters await in our avenues”
Kickass43 (10:13 AM): like it wuz the nu orlens xmas tree lightin
Kickass43 (10:13 AM): or the comin of the apocolypse xmas tree lightin!!
Kickass43 (10:13 AM): shud nvr let laura do the gest list
BigBartlett (10:14 AM): The children are waiting, Mr. President. I think we need something positive here.
Kickass43 (10:14 AM): I wntd a cowboy poet!!
IheartUSA (10:15 AM): Let me do this one, sir.

The President: I’m glad to hear that you’re a fan of poetry at your age. Shows you’ve got good teachers—and a good soul. Maya Angelou is not just our finest living African-American poet, but maybe our finest living poet, period. We were honored that she chose to write an original poem on the occasion of this year’s National Tree Lighting Ceremony. With her words, she embraced this year’s theme, “A Pageant of Peace.” And in doing so, she embraced us all.

Kickass43 (10:17 AM): dam thing didn’t evn ryme
BigBartlett (10:17 AM): I have a couple of controversial questions coming up, Sir. Think we should answer them so we aren’t accused of stage-managing this discussion.
Kickass43 (10:18 AM): go 4 it

Newton, Massachussetts: I’m a middle-school student who is really upset about secret prisons and like the fact we are torturing suspects. I’ve been taught torture is wrong, especially when it involves my younger sister. How do you justify this?

Kickass43 (10:19 AM): this jus so pisses me
Kickass43(10:19 AM): like wat r they teachin r kids
Kickass43 (10:19 AM): his dad is probably some nutbar harvard prof
Kickass43 (10:20 AM): like I’m sooooo sry 4 takin TERRORISTS
Kickass43 (10:20 AM): & puttin a hood on em
Kickass43 (10:20 AM): & takin em 2 an undisclosd locashun
Kickass43 (10:20 AM): where theyr forcd 2 lissen 2 KISS & maya angelou 24/7
Kickass43 (10:21 AM): & no 1 lays a gluv on em
Kickass43 (10:21 AM): mayb these students shud wry bout the dudes
Kickass43 (10:21 AM): who put a hood ovr sum brit
Kickass43 (10:21 AM): whose rebuilding their roads for effs sake
Kickass43 (10:21 AM): & who cut his freakin hed off on live TV
Kickass43 (10:22 AM): y don’t they evr complain bout THAT
SecStateUSA (10:22 AM): I understand your feelings and share your frustration, Mr. President. Let me transcribe your thoughts.

The President: You raise an important concern, one shared by many Americans of all ages. I commend you for your compassion and caring for others. Recently, on the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, I reaffirmed our nation’s commitment to the worldwide elimination of torture. The non-negotiable demands of human dignity must be protected without reference to race, gender, creed, or nationality. Freedom from torture is an inalienable human right, and we are committed to building a world where human rights are respected and protected by the rule of law. This includes little sisters.

Everett, Washington: As a high school senior, I am deeply concerned by the way the war is going. Isn’t this really a war for oil? And why won’t you withdraw the troops?

The President: if it wre a war 4 oil then y r gas price$ so frikkin hi??
The President: wat is it wit these kids? Man if ONLY it wuz a war 4 oil!
The President: then my poll #s mite b bttr!!
The President: as 4 troop withdrawl
The President: we don’t lissen 2 those dem pussies
The President: who jus cut n run
The President: who DON EVN hav a PLAN
The President: is all like “we’ll get 1 next yr”
The President: like HELLO
The President: uve had 4 YRS 2 come up wit a bttr plan
The President: but nooooo…
The President: u got kerry out there sayin r troops r “terrorizin” wimmin & kids
The President: he’s bak in 1973 hippy attak mode
The President: & like this is the best they’ve got??
The President: like this wet dude nrly got electd???

BigBartlett (10:26 AM): My goodness, sir. Somehow those remarks got posted. There must be a glitch.

The President: ??
The President: :-O

IheartUSA (10:27 AM): Stop writing, Sir. NOW.
SecStateUSA (10:27 AM): Let me try to fix this.

The President: Just kidding you, Everett, Washington. Trying to show I was “hip” with the IM language. ROFL, huh?

But seriously, to answer your very important question with the consideration it deserves. As we fight the enemy in Iraq, every man and woman who volunteers to defend our nation deserves an unwavering commitment to the mission -- and a clear strategy for victory.

Victory in Iraq will demand the continued determination and resolve of the American people. We will not withdraw until we are persuaded we have left in place a democratic Iraq led by a federal government that is a strong enough government to protect minority rights.

This is not about oil. This is about freedom for Iraqis, and security for all Americans.

I hope this answers your question.

Dan Bartlett: Well it looks like we’ve run out of time. I’m sorry that the President will be unable to answer all of you who have sent in questions. We thank you for participating in this historic experiment. An edited transcript will be posted shortly at www.whitehouse.gov.

Kickass43 (10:31 AM): danno get yr ass 2 my office pronto
BigBartlett (10:32 AM): Right away, Sir.

Kickass43 has gone offline.
BigBartlett has gone offline.
SecStateUSA has gone offline.
IheartUSA has gone offline.

"The Secret Presidential IMs" appears here every Tuesday.