It’s rare that a journalist can pre-empt President Barack Obama – known for often long answers — before he finishes speaking. But on Thursday, a sixth-grade moderator did just that.
Obama participated in a “virtual field trip” at the Anacostia Library in Washington, in a discussion moderated by Maryland middle schooler Osman Yaya. There was a live audience of 40 students, and email questions came in from across the country.
On a question about writer’s block, Obama spent nearly four minutes talking before Osman respectfully but firmly decided to move the program along.
Obama said he still gets writer’s block when he writes big speeches, and the best way to overcome it is to just write.
“A lot of times the reason people get blocked is because they’re worried that what I’m going to do is not going to be that good,” Obama said. “Well nothing is very good the first time you do it.”
He went on to say, “Even the best writers, usually, it’s not that good the first time you write it.”
Osman interjected, “Yeah, I think you sort of covered everything about that question.”
Obama took it in stride. “OK. You think I’ve got to, that’s one of those things I’m talking too long.”
Osman said, “No. I think you just –”
Obama laughingly agreed, “No, let’s move it along, I gotcha.”