President Barack Obama pleaded with the nation's governors on Tuesday to boost education funding — for the sake of young people like a teenage builder of an "Extreme Marshmallow Cannon" who clearly left a mark at the White House the other week.
Speaking to the National Governors Association, Obama invoked Joey Hudy's pressurized air cannon as an example of what young Americans can achieve when they have the right resources — and joked that the 14-year-old from Arizona might be in line for a job at the White House.
"The cannon was impressive," Obama told the governors in the State Dining Room where, barely three weeks ago, Hudy wowed the wide-eyed commander-in-chief with his unusual contraption after an impromptu demonstration at the White House Science Fair.
But "Joey left a bigger impression because he had already printed out his own business cards, he was handing them out to everybody — including me. He's on the short list for a cabinet post," the president quipped.
"Under his name, on each card, was a simple motto: 'Don't be bored, do something,'" said Obama. "Don't be bored, do something. Don't be bored, make something."
"All across this country there are kids like Joey who are dreaming big and are doing things, and making things, and we want them to reach those heights," said the president. "They are willing to work hard. They are willing to dig deep to achieve, and we've got a responsibility to give them a fair shot, and if we do then I'm absolutely convinced that our future is going to be as bright as all of us want."
As for shooting the cannon? Obama made clear that the demonstration left quite an impression on him.
"Joey let me fire off an extreme marshmallow cannon," said the president. "We did it right here in this room. We shot it from here, we pumped it up, it almost hit that light. I thought it was a lot of fun."
Obama, who said "our recovery is gaining speed and the economy is getting stronger" but acknowledged that "enormous challenges remain," invited governors of both parties to share ideas for improving education and scolded some states for "making cuts to education that I believe are simply too big."
"Today, I'm calling on all of you: Invest more in education. Invest more in our children and in our future," he said.
"That does not mean you've got to invest in things that aren't working, that doesn't mean that it doesn't make sense to break some china and move aggressively on reform. But the fact of the matter is we don't have to choose between resources and reform, we need resources and reform."
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