FW: FLOTUS Pool report 3

From: Schwartz, Felicia [mailto:xxx@email.com]
Sent: Friday, September 25, 2015 11:52 AM
To: Adler, Caroline; Donohue, Kelsey; Rosholm, Joanna
Subject: FLOTUS Pool report 3

Before the big reveal of the name Bei Bei, which means “precious treasure,” according to Zoo Director Dennis Kelly, Mrs. Obama and Ms. Peng were treated to a song in Chinese by 15 third graders from Yu Ying Public Charter School. That song was “Little Snail.” While the pool and schoolchildren were waiting for FLOTUS and Ms. Peng they got to see Bei Bei up close and personal.

The first ladies were introduced by Mr. Kelly. Your pooler was disappointed by a lack of baby panda sightings but we did see Bao Bao and Tian Tian.

Mrs. Obama she was thrilled to be a part of the panda naming ceremony and said the Obamas love the zoo, including Malia who has done several internships at the zoo. “She comes here often even though you don’t know it, she can now operate undercover,” she said.

She said the reason she’s at the zoo is because “we want young people like you to keep doing what you’re doing,” including connecting with people in other cultures and learning new languages. She noted President Obama and President Xi’s one million strong initiative to have 1 million students in the U.S. learn Mandarin Chinese by 2020. “You guys are leaders in this,” she said to the students of the Chinese immersion school.

Mrs. Obama said she hopes students in the U.S. will be global citizens and that one can do that by going on the Internet and exploring and that state visits serve that purpose. “That’s really what we’re doing this week as we host President Xi and Madame Peng,” she said. “What we do in these wonderful state visits is that you get to share ideas with each other.”

Young people are “the best ambassadors that we have,” Mrs. Obama said, adding that knowing another language is an asset and will help them travel the world.

Ms. Peng, through an interpreter, made a joke about pandas being all over metro cards and plastered around the city. She said she was sad she didn’t get to watch Bei Bei’s birth on the panda cam.

“The giant panda exemplifies the common bond between China and the United States,” Ms. Peng said. “We do need more bonds to bring the people of our two countries ever more closer and I think the giant panda is one of those bonds we can celebrate to achieve that goal.”

She said Bei Bei was adorable. Ms. Peng and Mrs. Obama unrolled scrolls to reveal the name, Ms. Peng’s tied with a yellow ribbon and Mrs. Obama’s tied with a blue one. The students’ shirts had blue and yellow logos on them, a complementary touch. The kids cheered and the event was over.

Felicia Schwartz

The Wall Street Journal

1025 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 800

Washington, D.C. 20036

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