He was the president, first and foremost. Kids should be able to look up to the office - they are likely too young to truly grasp the politics of the man. Second, how controversial could a speech urging kids to work hard possibly be? Reason won out and liberal kids stayed in school. There was no story because there was no question in our minds.
Look, I won't call the conservatives over-reacting to this a bunch of cowardly racists. I'll leave that to Michael Daly of the Daily News. I'll just say this - this is jingoistic politics at its best. It panders to fear and to prejudice and any conservative who respects his or her ideals and the party that supports those ideals should stand up and state clearly, "I am an American, and I show due respect to our democratic process and to the office of the president. Anyone who does not should be ashamed."