Reporter's Note: The president is trying to convince voters to pick him again this fall. I’m trying to convince him that the old hard sell may not work for everyone.
Dear Mr. President,
I want to go back to something that you said yesterday that not only surprised me, but seems a tactical miscalculation. Maybe it is the Midwest in me, but I can’t help but feel a little queasy anytime a president says he “deserves” a second term, as you told NBC.
“Deserves” is a loaded word. It implies a cosmic right of sorts; a sense that in a fair, decent world you must be given a second crack at the highest office on the planet; that you alone, out of all human beings, have some special claim to that job.
And I suspect that a lot of Americans, not just Republicans but even many of your fans, may have cringed a bit when you said it. The statement had shades of George Bush’s “political capital” statement. Don’t you remember how you felt when you heard that? It too smacked of a self-righteous, better than everyone else, get out of my way because now I’m going to govern attitude. And I think a lot of people felt it was if not offensive, at least ill-considered.
Here’s the thing: While you might do a perfectly good job over the four years after this term ends, your statement implies that no one else would; i.e. if you deserve the chair, how can anyone else? There is, after all, only one Oval Office. Maybe you just forgot to mention others who you think could fill the chair, but it does not seem that way.
So I’m offering you the same advice that I would give to any president who wants to remain in the job: While you need to let people know what you’ve done and what you’re proud of, a little humility can also go a long way– especially in a nation full of people who also think they deserve jobs, and yet don’t have them.
On other fronts, I had a wonderful run down by the river this morning. Nine miles of woods and water, and spotted a magnificent pair of Pileated Woodpeckers at work on an old tree. You should have been there!
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
Questions or comments? Send an email
Want to know more? Go behind the scenes with