No manners? New York Times editor Jill Abramson gets “big footed” by President Obama and Barnard “trades up”

Barnard College and President Obama: rude (and yes, lame.)  And ready for the irony? President Obama is said to want to discuss women’s issues and the women’s agenda…and yet “big foots” an accomplished woman!

 Read below and tell me what you think.

Here are the facts: Barnard College asks NY Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson to be its commencement speaker.  Giving a commencement speech is lots of work and means giving up a weekend – but Abramson graciously accepted.  Abramson is a big deal – she is the first woman Executive Editor of the New York Times – so this is a big deal for Barnard.  And yes, having a woman Executive Editor of the New York Times is a big deal for women of all ages.  She is blazing the trail.  Barnard was very lucky to get her as the speaker and my guess is that others wanted her but she turned them down to speak at Barnard’s commencement.

 Then some time later the White House calls Barnard College and says President Obama wants to give the Barnard College commencement speech. Barnard jumps at the chance to have the President of the United States, “trades up” and Abramson gets “big footed” by the President.  

Of course Abramson can’t criticize this  – so I will for her and for other women.

This is positively rude.  I think less of Barnard for “trading up” and of the President for “big footing.”  He could easily find another college to speak at (I bet he has dozens of open invitations) and Barnard ?  Well…I would be embarrassed to be part of Barnard.  

Read below – especially the red text.


An Obama administration official confirmed on Friday that the White House had called Barnard to offer the president as the commencement speaker.


Debora L. Spar, the president of Barnard, a 123-year-old women’s college in New York City, said she was thrilled that the president would deliver the keynote speech at the commencement on May 14.


“This is just an extraordinary opportunity for the college, a moment in time that will be unforgettable for the graduates and their parents,” Ms. Spar said in an interview on Friday.


In its announcement, the college said Mr. Obama, a 1983 graduate of Columbia University, would be awarded the Barnard Medal of Distinction, the college’s highest honor, at the commencement. Barnard is an independent liberal arts college for women; it is one of the four undergraduate schools of Columbia and enrolls about 2,400 students.


A month ago, Barnard College announced that Jill Abramson, the executive editor of The New York Times, would be its graduation speaker, but those plans changed with the call from the White House. Ms. Spar said that Ms. Abramson had said she would be happy to speak at Barnard in the future.