NASHVILLE -- Before coming onstage to speak about the importance of education reform at McGavock High School Thursday afternoon, President Obama met with the family of 15-year-old Kevin Barbee, a student here who was killed in a high school shooting Tuesday.
A White House official, who confirmed the meeting, would not say anything further about the session. Obama mentioned Barbee at the outset of his remarks, saying that he and the first lady were sending their prayers to his family.
The president also took time to meet with former vice president Al Gore, whose Carthage Group is based here, as well as Ashley Judd, an actress and Obama supporter.
“I’m here because it is always a privilege to hear the president of the United States speak," Judd said. "I came as an American and as a fan.”
“We talked about the first lady’s 50th birthday party, and how fantastic it is just to boogie," said Judd, who attended the celebration. "And the tribute he made to his wife was incredibly loving, as well as deeply touching.”
Judd described the conversation as "privileged chit-chat."
The actress added that she did not have second thoughts about not challenging Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
“At this time, absolutely not. And I’m grateful for that because life is not always so tidy," she said. "I didn’t understand why at first because it was a very below the neck experience, it was very guttural. I didn’t have an explanation at first, but then my life became very clear in terms of my need and desire right now to spend a lot of time with family.”
“I’m spared the second guessing," she added. "It’s a family time right now.”