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A Presidential English Lesson with Barack Obama

President Barack Obama recently spoke at Intel in Hillsboro, Oregon, very close to the English, baby! headquarters in Portland. We were fortunate enough to obtain a media pass for the event so we could share the President’s words with our international readers and help them learn some English along the way.

While watching the speech, I took notes about what might make a good English lesson. Some interesting phrases and terms he used were “gadget,” “lag behind” and “paid off,” but we decided on “hustle” for the lesson.

The message of the speech was about how important education is in the global competition of the technology business. You can see in the comments on the lesson that this message actually meant a lot to our audience of international students. While they may not be engineers, they all have something to hustle for too.

Neither our cameraman Scott, nor I had seen Obama in person before, so it was quite a thrill. Scott had to arrive very early to set up our gear and all of the media had clear security and be in the room long before the President. After waiting for a couple of hours, it was sort of a shock when Obama walked out on to the stage just 50 or so feet away. He started the speech with some jokes too!

Waiting was actually kind of fun though because we got to hang out with all the other media there. Everyone from our local newspaper, to major television networks like CBS were there. It was interesting to watch all of these outlets in action. As you can see, we were working right next to them in the media area.


We had our own little station, right behind the spot reserved for CNBC.

I was glad they let me keep the press pass as a souvenir, especially considering it is “PROPERTY OF U.S. GOVERNMENT”!

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