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April 19th, 2012
09:23 PM ET

Letters to the President #1186: 'We've got trouble...right here in river city'

Reporter's Note: President Obama has had a few extra items on his desk lately; items which, I’m guessing, he’d rather not be dealing with. Thank goodness my daily letter is also there to distract him.

Dear Mr. President,

I have not really said anything here about the mess with the Secret Service agents during that whole southern swing, but I guess I ought to share a few of my thoughts. Or maybe not. I imagine you’ve heard more than you were wished to hear on the subject already.

And yet, I wonder if you’d better be prepared to hear a good deal more, because I’m pretty sure your opponents are delighted with the series of scandals that have been buzzing near you lately. The whole Vegas retreat thing, the hookers, some of this stuff about Panetta flying around on the taxpayer dime…you get the picture.

This is not so much an issue of blame, as it is of proximity. I think most reasonable Americans realize that no president, whether he is Democratic or Republican, can not necessarily be held responsible for everything done by everybody on his team. The federal government is, after all, a pretty big organization and not everyone traipses into the Oval Office to report their plans each morning. If that were the case, you would have raised a few questions when, oh say, some guy blurted out, “Then after the late meeting, we’re thinking of picking up some prostitutes…”

Still, just being close to such problems, as any president necessarily is, presents challenges. It’s kind of like it was back in school when you wound up seated at the bad kids’ table; it didn’t matter whether you were making trouble or not, if they were busted…so were you. And of course it is all a huge distraction from your actual business.

My only advice is to brace yourself, be patient, wait for the storms to pass, and…oh…one more thing…don’t be surprised if more comes your way. Sometimes that’s just how it works out.

Regards,
Tom

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