Reporter's Note: President Barack Obama seems pretty busy, no matter what day of the week; so in keeping with that spirit, my letters to the White House continue every day no matter what the calendar says.
Tom Foreman | Bio
Dear Mr. President,
The passing of Michael Jackson has me mentally running through all the famous people I’ve met, covered, and/or filed obituaries on. I won’t list them here, because I suspect in the past few months your list has easily blown mine out of the water. Not before that time, mind you, but after…sure…I’ll give you that.
I assume you know this, but just in case you don’t, news organizations routinely have elaborate collections of pre-produced obituaries, written, edited, and shelved just in case someone noteworthy dies all of a sudden. It’s a little creepy if you think of it, and having worked on a few, it is kind of maudlin work. I don’t know if we had one ready for Jackson. He was such a big name we probably should have, but then again he was so young, it’s possible we did not.
Anyway, when I think about these big celebrities (and most of the big politicians too, I may add) I almost always see them falling into one of two categories: Those who are impressive, and those who are impressed with themselves. The people with the most genuine talent, intelligence, and confidence, (no matter how big or small their titles) I have usually found, are also fairly easy to get along with. They don’t need to show everyone in the room that they are smart, rich, or influential. They are quick to admit their faults and slow to blame others. And they’ll take at least as much interest in you as you do in them.
It’s the marginal, “I’m kind of a big deal” types, who can often prove impossible. Heck, that’s even true at work. They run around so afraid that someone won’t notice them, or treat them with enough deference, that they often come off as first class jerks. Scratch that. Second class. Maybe even third. Or no class at all.
That said, one of the things that I think you really have going for you, is the easygoing way that you can chat with regular Americans. You seem pretty darn comfortable talking over issues, shooting a few hoops, or sharing a cup of soup. I know you’ve had some of the Republican types barking that you are an elitist, but if you are you’re doing a good job coming off as a regular fellow most of the time. I can’t utterly say for sure, but all of it suggests you are more likely in the first group I mentioned above, than the second. And that’s a good thing. It makes friends more loyal, opponents less strident, and gives you a better chance of benefitting from the ideas of others…which we can all use, no matter how big we get.
Congratulations, btw, on your climate bill late Friday. Call if you can!
Find more of the Foreman Letters, here.
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