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February 1st, 2009
08:00 AM ET

Dear President Obama #13: Block and tackle

Reporter's Note: The President has asked for advice, and despite postal threats of reverting to a five day schedule of deliveries, I will continue writing each day.

Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

Happy Super Bowl Sunday!  I’ve been having a little trouble with my cell phone voice mail, or at least it appears so, because I did not get a message about what time your Super Bowl party is starting.  Although, sad to say, it is just as well.  I am so bushed from everything I’ve been doing, I really can’t make it.  Going to cool out on the couch with the family, choke down barbeque, and watch it in front of the fire.  Sorry.  Maybe next year.

I saw your guest list in the news, however, (and btw, good idea leaving my name off of the public release; I know it would have made Wolf so jealous,) and I noticed you made it like a good can of nuts, i.e. mixed.  Dems and Republicans, North and South, East and West.  Smart thinking.  People have been talking for years about how civility has been lost in D.C.  They say the political battles have become so venomous, that opposing groups can’t even say good morning to each other, let alone gather around some chips and salsa to watch a good sporting contest.

Which is funny, when you think about it, because politicians are always using sports analogies to explain what they are up to.  They are always “making goal line stands,” or “punting,” or “playing defense,” or some other such nonsense.  My wife says I use sports analogies too much myself.  I can’t help it, any more than your Congressional friends can.  They just seem so perfect to describe things, because sports, unlike the real world, is simple and neat.  One team scores.  The other team scores more.  The second team wins.

It’s not that way in government.  One team proposes a bill.  The other team opposes it.  Everyone starts rewriting the rules.  The definition of winning questioned.  The referee is indicted.  The conviction is overturned.  Someone winds up with a drawer full of cash and the FBI at the door, and somehow we all wind up losers, wondering what the hell is going on.

So, even though I can’t make it, enjoy the evening of clarity with your pals.  In the end, at least we’ll have a clear winner and a loser, and it will all be in good fun.  We don’t get a lot of that in Washington.

Save me one of those Eat’n Park cookies!  Go Saints!  (Yeah, I know they didn’t make it, but neither did the Bears.)

Regards,
Tom

Editor's Note: For more of the Foreman Letters, click here.

soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    The Super Bowl has concluded---the Pittsburg Steelers are the Super Bowl Champions---however, the Super Bowl of politics continues to play--and now it has been extended into "overtime,"--and it will not conclude until the right play has been called.

    February 2, 2009 at 8:33 am |
  2. Brandon Wydeman

    Dear Mr President,

    It is awsome to see a black man become president I'm so glad to be alive to see history in a making. I pray that you would make the right decision by asking God to lead you in running this country. Put God1st always in what you do. "Thy word is lamp unto my feet and light unto my path." Ps 119:105

    February 2, 2009 at 2:52 am |
  3. Steve - SE PA

    While I do applaud the president for having his superbowl party, as he should to unwind, I hope that come tomorrow he figures out that the stimulus package is just a huge burdon about to be put on the American people. Cancel the deal and save us the devaluation of the US currency! Let capitalism run it's course. We don't want our country on the brink of failure like those in Europe.
    Thank you.

    February 2, 2009 at 12:08 am |
  4. Pam

    While you are watching the super bowl all warm and toasty.....there are American citizens freezing to death in Kentucky! No power, no water, no fuel for their cars so they can leave. Hey CNN....how come you're not boots on the ground out there covering this? Too cold? People to spread out in the country so you don't have a crowd shot for big impact? Don't care about poor people in Kentucky? The lack of coverage on this disaster is abominable....not to mention the lack of FEMA, Red Cross or any kind of outside assistance. Maybe if you would bang the drum like you did for hurricane Katrina, maybe the Pres. and the press would sit up and notice and help the people in Kentucky.

    February 1, 2009 at 9:49 pm |
  5. Mr. Britt

    cards by 7

    February 1, 2009 at 5:50 pm |
  6. josie

    Dear Mr President , Again iapplaud the president for his open mind and policy we must have dialogue with all our friends our allies specially our enemies. So fare I am very please with Mr Obama policy , his decision and his conduct One subject is not clear how he is going enforce the banks, mortgage bankers investors to re mortgage the note by reducing the interest bet. 4 percent to 6 percent fixe rate for 30 yearts Also the flex , adj rate and negative mortgage must be prohibited for home owners and small investors less than 15 units .Mr president please review those so calls mediations short sale etc all thse programes are full off red tapes and many are taking advantage of the vulnerable the desparate to profit big (real estate agents,mortgage people intitutions so call advisors helpers) please .....please help the owners and small investors regain their dignity cut red tape for the process tThe economy will rebounce quickly it be less foreclosures less abandon houses the value will be established faster ."Cnn Anderson Cooper without you the democracy and democrate party will lost you bring us the truth fair just and straight thank you we are looking to a new america wich we all come here to make our land and home as our ancester" Good job

    February 1, 2009 at 5:40 pm |
  7. marie

    The Government would have a whole lot more money on hand if certain politicians would pay their taxes like everybody else does, i.e. newly appointed Secy of Treasury and Daschle, who made a $128,000 mistake on his taxes. How many more politicians are there that try to get away without paying their taxes until they're found out when they're given an appointment. Maybe all our elected officials need to have their finances regularly checked. They obviously think they're above the law – the governmnet may find millions of dollars due them. And, by the way, why do they still get an appointment when what they have done is WRONG, WRONG, WRONG! The average citizen would be thrown in the clinker.

    February 1, 2009 at 3:47 pm |
  8. robyncaffrey keyser west virginia

    att anderson

    wouldn't it really be something , if the middle east can get this ecominy up and running. yes we can

    February 1, 2009 at 3:23 pm |
  9. J Clark

    Economic Stimulus = Another Ponzi Scheme by the GOV!

    So much for this wonderful government "by the people, for the people"
    Only the wealthy benefit and heres the $500 payoff we were promised. $800 billion for everyone EXCEPT THE WORKING CLASS!! I am curious how many families will suffer before they figure this nightmare out!

    February 1, 2009 at 3:21 pm |
  10. Keith Coody

    Pork barrel politics, corruption, as we stand looking at the possibility of another great depression. Mr. President please bring honor back to government.

    February 1, 2009 at 3:19 pm |
  11. annette

    Please tell the president to not give trillions more to banks, they have not taken pay cuts for employes like car workers., they continue to spend big money for advertising, believe we should recall the loans. he needs to use that money to get homeowner's mortgages, let gov't finance homes 40 yrs for 5% and let the income pay off the money it takes to finance them. We need a trickle up plan for all taxpayers money; people would then have more money to pay off loans for cars/college etc. We also need a bankruptcy bill for individuals, it is grossly unfair that landlords and businesses can let a judge work out something but not poorer/middle class. In fact i would rather see him take a trillion dollars and divide among all household and let them pay off their debts and buy what they could , this would help small business as the money trickled up when they ate out etc. thanks annette If they want more money for bank problems, they should tax every financial transaction a small amount to pay back expense for adminstration of the tarp and to make sure all money gets back. AIG and citi bank and possibly B. O. A. should be broke up and sold since taxpayers already have so much invested in them and they keep coming back for more.. tks annette

    February 1, 2009 at 1:37 pm |
  12. Chris Wilson

    Thumbs up for diversity...Hope the pres. has hootin' good time...and you, too...Know you were on his list...Hey, I'd invite you!!

    Enjoy the wings and things at home tonight with your family...

    BTW, how was the father-daughter dance last night?

    Cheers...Go Steelers

    February 1, 2009 at 1:09 pm |
  13. Vicky H.

    This comment concerns the stimulus check that the average American is waiting for. The idea is to help ease some of the financial burden that so many middle and lower middle class Americans are experiencing. But in reality, it does nothing more than just make those in power shine a little brighter. Those of us that have little to no health insurance, dental insurance, eye care, cancer insurance, or even life insurance, aren't really going to benefit from a mere $500 or even $1,000. If a person is behind on their bills, they are more than likely behind on taxes, or even child support. With the previous "stimulus" benefit, instead of receiving actual money, a credit was issued towards outstanding debt of a persons' said taxes or support due. When so much debt exists within a family, it doesn't really feel like help of any kind. Once the funds are sent out to the American people, how much of that is actually taken from the governments' right hand and placed directly into its' left?

    February 1, 2009 at 12:05 pm |
  14. Nicole Wells-Cimmino, LSW

    Dear Mr President,

    My husband and I support your bi-partisan efforts and believe that this is the way to a united government for all the people. Particularly, I want to address the stimulus package currently in the Senate. Enough with the tax cuts to the wealthy corporations who take these tax cuts, while outsourcing American jobs oversees or hiring foreign workers because they can find ways to pay them less (The Associated Press reviewed visa applications the banks filed with the Labor Department under the H-1B visa program, which allows temporary employment of foreign workers in specialized-skill and advanced-degree positions. The dozen banks receiving the biggest rescue packages, totaling more than $150 billion, requested visas for more than 21,800 foreign workers over the past six years for positions that included senior vice presidents, corporate lawyers, junior investment analysts and human resources specialists. The figures show that the bailed-out banks, being kept afloat with U.S. taxpayer money, actively sought to hire foreign workers instead of American workers. This does not help our job situation. It is as shameful as the banks paying $18 billion in bonuses last year. We need regulation over bailout money that we taxpayers are going to foot the bill for.). I firmly believe that you are on the right track with your investing in infrastructure and job development for the short term and over time. Investments in education, healthcare and the arts are essential to the recovery of the economy. Frankly, what I hear in the rhetoric of more tax breaks for the wealthy, corporate tax breaks and no help for the states is just more of the trickle down theory, which never trickles down. Our hospitals are failing, education is becoming for the rich or the very poor and good paying employment is being sent oversees. Enough!
    Please do not let our voices go unheard.

    Sincerely,

    Nicole Wells-Cimmino, LSW
    West Orange, NJ

    February 1, 2009 at 11:55 am |
  15. Teresa, OH

    Tom, sorry you cant make it to the party. I'll let you know how it goes.
    ( ya, right )

    Keep writing your letters. I cannot tell you the incredible responses I've gotten over the years due to simple letter writing. I'm guessing you're going to make a Best Selling Book out of your letters and make a fortune.... not that I'm psychic or anything ; )

    February 1, 2009 at 10:56 am |
  16. donna fowler

    to the house, the senate, whitehouse and america: republicans look at stimulus plan all is not bad. bring solutions not just disagreements. we need more than just tax cuts. you should know that by now. just tax cuts didnt work. democrats take out things involving just facelifts. this is not the time. foc us only on the economy. it will be time later to work on pet projects. stop this bickering. america want and expect more from you. get economy together before you destroy us. give each other respect its not hard to do. stop trying to front each other it will get us no where. i know you want a country you can be proud of.

    February 1, 2009 at 10:22 am |
  17. Tom Preston

    Dear President Obama,
    I know that your intention with the stimulus package is well intended. When watching your fellow politicians discussing how to create job opportunities one cannot help being concerned about the effectiveness. They represent being able to do what the entire business community of the country cannot. It sounds like central planning practiced in the communist system, which has been proven as disastrous. You are aware that the economy is driven by consumption so the best trigger is to make people spend more. You can achieve this by i.e. offer all citizens low interest loans for paying off their credit card debt say as the balance were at the time you were inaugurated. With fresh credit people will start spending again.

    February 1, 2009 at 10:02 am |
  18. Tammy, Berwick, LA

    If people can survive Super Bowl parties, anything is possible...

    Go Saints. Yeah right. We've been waiting for a Saints trip to the big one since the team was formed in the late 1960's. When that trip comes, over half of Louisiana will be wherever that Super Bowl is held. They'd just as soon move it to the Dome and block off Bourbon for non-stop partying.

    As a former Steelers and Terry Bradshaw fan of my childhood (while I loved the Saints, I also liked that a Louisiana boy could do so well), I'm going with the Steelers tonight. It's one of the few things the new president and I actually have in common. See, there is hope after all.

    February 1, 2009 at 9:02 am |