President Obama, the honorary chairman of the Boy Scouts of America, will not attend the group’s 100th anniversary celebration Wednesday – opting instead to appear at fundraisers and on an ABC daytime talk show.
More than 43,000 Boy Scouts will celebrate the organization’s centennial Wednesday at Fort A.P. Hill in Virginia. Obama has sent a videotaped message to the scouts because he plans an appearance for “The View” that day.
ABC noted Obama’s appearance on the show will be the “first time in history a sitting United States president has visited a daytime talk show.”
Bob Dries, Boy Scouts of America Jamboree spokesman, told CNSNews the group was informed July 26 that Obama had scheduling conflicts and would not speak at the BSA’s 10-day jamboree.
According to the report, reporters received an e-mail this week announcing Obama’s plans to appear in New Jersey on Wednesday to talk about the economy. The Asbury Park Press reported Obama will visit the Tastee Sub Shop in Edison where he will participate in a roundtable discussion about small businesses. The president will then travel to New York City for fundraisers and to film his appearance for “The View”‘s Thursday edition.
CNS reported the BSA issued the following statement Monday:
“Due to his schedule, President Obama will not be able to attend the 2010 National Scout Jamboree. In February, the President sent a letter honoring the BSA’s 100th Anniversary and his signature appears on Eagle Scout cards.
“Also, he has welcomed Boy Scouts contingents in the Oval Office twice since taking office. President Obama serves as the Honorary President of the BSA, as has every President since William Howard Taft. While each President is traditionally invited to attend the Jamboree, not every President has been able to attend the event.
“We thank the President for his effort to recognize Scouting and look forward to working with his administration as we work toward accomplishing our mission of preparing young people to become exceptional adults.”
He wrote that Obama is “distancing his administration from the Boy Scouts of America, via delaying Eagle Scout certificate signings, denying the invitation to go to the BSA’s 100th gala anniversary, downplaying his acceptance of BSA’s honorary presidency, dodging official White House communications about the BSA, not defending the BSA against cultural attacks and, hence, devaluing his all-around role as BSA’s honorary president.”
Norris noted that the president did send “a semi-congratulatory letter” to the BSA on its centennial. However, he said Obama subtly distanced himself from being a celebratory participant: “I send greetings to all those celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America. … I wish you all the best.”
He noted that U.S. presidents have been proudly accepting the post of honorary president of the BSA since President William Howard Taft in 1910, and every president since Taft, both Democrat and Republican, has gone beyond expected presidential duties to support the organization.
“All that the BSA website could write about President Obama was that he received the BSA’s 2008 Report to the Nation from a group of young people representing all the Scouts of America. In recognition of the president’s favorite sport, the report’s delegation also gave him a BSA basketball that each of them had signed,” Norris wrote.
Since Norris’ columns ran, Obama accepted the BSA’s 2009 Report to the Nation on July 16.
“Mr. President, I’m certain the BSA’s National Council and local leadership will cater to your schedule to attend the Jamboree at any time over its 10-day celebration, if even for a single hour,” Norris wrote. “And I’m doubly certain that the prospective 43,000 Scouts and leaders attending there would love to hear from you, as they’ve heard from past presidents. And all of us will be anxious to hear what you have to say to them, especially me.”
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, a former classmate named Rully Dasaad said Obama was a member of a scouting organization when he lived in Indonesia. A blogger for BoyandGirlScouts.com said he contacted the classmate to confirm the report.
Dasaad reportedly responded:
Nice to meet you. yes me and Barry Obama went to school together at Besuki elementary back in 1970 – 1971 in Jakarta .. he was a good hearted kid, i always play with him everyday during that time .. we jointed the boy scout at the same junior A group .. our uniform at that time was kakhi shirt and dark brown pants and on our neck we wore red and white small flag (indonesian flag colour) .. we learned at that time how to use rope for building camp tent, climbing and others standard use … we also learned how to marching ect … we did camp at that time but its in our class school (in the evening) thats what we learned at the time before we really camp on the mountain side .. but Barry Obama never get the chance to camp outside the city to the mountain .. unfortunately, he went back to Hawaii in 1972 … if you want to see our old school and picture of his former classmates, please check my Facebook .. just search my name .. thanks for your kind attention .. cheers, Rully [sic].