The first rule in conducting public-relations stunts to prove how cool you are? Make sure you’re not just buying your own press. The White House announced the second run of a contest for high schools to get them to compete to have President Obama deliver their graduation address, but it turns out that Mr. Hopenchange has turned into the same-old, same-old:

The White House is ramping up an effort to promote a nationwide competition to decide which high school wins a commencement speech by President Obama.

An internal White House memo indicates that the White House is facing a shortage of applications less than a week before the deadline.

The competition was extended from the February 25 deadline until Friday, March 11 after few schools met the original application deadline. CBS News has learned a White House Communications Office internal memo dated February 22 noted “a major issue with the Commencement Challenge.”

“As of yesterday we had received 14 applications and the deadline is Friday,” the memo said. The memo also urged recipients to, “please keep the application number close hold.”

Allahpundit called this “losing the future,” and that’s not the only amateurish bungle in this episode.  Instead of announcing that only 14 of America’s 37,000 high schools (count as of 2001, anyway) bothered to respond to the contest for a success rate of 0.038%, why not just quietly pick one of the 14 that did apply without sending up a red flag via e-mail?  That way, no one would have to know how few wanted Obama, and the event wouldn’t be a reminder of just how unhip Obama has become even with young Americans.

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