Remember how the national media portrayed George H. W. Bush as out of touch for supposedly marveling at a grocery store bar-code scanner? The story turned out to be almost entirely false, but that didn’t stop the media from painting the elder Bush as some ivory-tower patrician who might blanche at the sight of a coupon.

Keep that story in mind while reading this:

While addressing college students in Richmond, VA, President Obama was surprised to learn that schools use trailers, also called ‘modular buildings’ or ‘modular classrooms.’ During his visit Obama said he was approached by an educator who mentioned she teaches in a trailer. Obama did not mention that the teacher had a problem with her situation, but he made it clear this was unacceptable.

“I just — in the back, I was taking some photos with folks who had helped out to organize this event, and there was a young lady who is a teacher. And she said, “I heard your speech last night. I really appreciate it. I’m teaching eighth grade English, and I teach in a trailer.” We shouldn’t have people teaching in trailers. We shouldn’t have kids learning in trailers. They should have classrooms with Internet and science labs,” President Obama said to the college crowd.

He’s amazed that schools use trailers for classrooms? Schools have been doing that for decades.  Schools in my district used those when I was a teenager, although not at my high school in particular.  They are used for better flexibility when new facilities are needed for short period of times so that massive amounts of capital don’t get wasted for temporary situations.  And as RCP notes in its coverage, trailers get used when school renovation projects become, er, shovel ready:

The practice of using trailers is quite common at public schools and more often than not the accommodations in the modular buildings are better than classrooms inside the the main building. These modular buildings are used for several different reasons including for temporary purposes. For example, while the building or a classroom is being renovated the school may opt for a trailer until the improvements are completed. Ironically, renovating classrooms and schools is something Obama is pushing for in his this new stimulus bill.

Maybe the new bill only funds tents, or something.  Heaven forfend we should use trailers! 

Got an Obamateurism of the Day? If you see a foul-up by Barack Obama, e-mail it to me at [email protected] with the quote and the link to the Obamateurism. I’ll post the best Obamateurisms on a daily basis, depending on how many I receive. Include a link to your blog, and I’ll give some link love as well. And unlike Slate, I promise to end the feature when Barack Obama leaves office.

Illustrations by Chris Muir of Day by Day. Be sure to read the adventures of Sam, Zed, Damon, and Jan every day!