January 22nd, 2009
04:16 PM ET

Dear President Obama #3: Smell that Rose Garden

Editor's Note: President Barack Obama has asked anyone with ideas about how to run the government to speak up. I try not to shirk my responsibilities, so here’s today’s letter to the White House.

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Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

Wow! When I wrote yesterday I was worried about how long it would take for you and your team to figure things out in Oval Office-land, but you certainly haven’t wasted any time: Orders about prisoners in Guantanamo, reviews of Iraq and Afghanistan, promises of more transparency in government, and new rules about lobbying.

You’ve been busy. I spent ten minutes deciding on a tuna wrap for lunch.

And seriously, you even took the oath of office again? I suppose it is better to be safe than sorry, but seems like you have enough to do without that. BTW: Did you know Calvin Coolidge and Chester Arthur also had to redo the oath?

Anyway, now frankly I’m wondering if you ought to pace yourself. It’s great to come out of the gate strong, but trust me: I’ve watched some relatively young presidents grow old awfully fast in that job. Have you seen that computer program of how you might look in four years? I don’t know if it’s accurate, but I do know it’s not pretty.

So you’ve asked for the public’s advice, that’s mine for today: Slow down a little. Stop and smell the rose garden. Sit at your desk, breath slowly, think of the little things that make you happy.

I suspect the big things will be driving the pace up again soon.

Call when you can.



soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. KSuzanne

    Good job Mr. President!!!

    KSuzanne from San Leandro

    January 23, 2009 at 7:59 am |
  2. Abi N.

    CNN, thank you for the job you gays are doing. One day you reap the real results of it. My little advise to you great gays is that, don't let other little educated fools spoil your good reporting. Please let the president know that he should not let anybody change his good idea for the American people and the world alarge. May the Almighty God bless and guide you all. Thanks.

    January 23, 2009 at 1:34 am |
  3. Miriam

    Note to all the skeptics: Lay off! President Obama has shown far greater intellect, leadership, grace, and strength than our former bafoon of a President Bush. Common sense dictates that President Obama does not posses a magical wand to undo the massive devastion left behind by an unresponsible Bush "legacy". Give him time to demonstrate the greatness he will bring forth. We, as Americans must step up and acknowledge our duties as well. Put up or shut up!

    January 22, 2009 at 11:17 pm |
  4. N. M. B.

    Dear Mr. President,

    For so long I have heard you speak of change, hope of change, change is coming. Yet I fear it is the kind of change that is not needed. With your choice of Treasurer, someone who was not forthright with his own taxes, and about coming forward for employing an illegal immigrant. To me it seems like much the same, the same typical shady Washington Politics. A man like this who can't even take care of his own affairs, surely cannot take care of America's. So it makes me wonder what is this change that you are speaking of?

    January 22, 2009 at 11:15 pm |
  5. Pauline

    Bill Gates decided to cut jobs. . . How interested is he in his nation economy ? Mr. Obama plans is to get companys to create jobs . . .
    How many more companys have the same policy to work for their bank account instead for the people ? It is now time for a change, but when will people change their way of thinking for new ideas ? I wish with all my heart that Mr. Obama succed in his goals.

    January 22, 2009 at 10:27 pm |
  6. Brad Gessner

    Suggestion for the economic stimulus package:

    When companies like Microsoft, Erricson, etc. announce layoffs of 5000 or more people, this becomes very alarming. Perhaps the government could give tax breaks or incentives for keeping employees on-board. When these people lose their jobs and can't find another one, the government will be paying their bill anyway through social services like unemployment insurance. However, these people will be non-productive.

    Why not subsidize these people to continue working. I know this will be complex, but I believe great thinkers could come up with a policy that works better than watching these layoffs. It only snowballs when unemployment figures continue to rise.

    We need to think outside the box and get creative to get the economy going into an upward trend instead of a downward spiral that is going to get out of control.

    January 22, 2009 at 10:18 pm |
  7. Theresa Hospedales

    Dear Mr. President,

    Where was your sister on the day of the inauguration?

    January 22, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  8. LFfor McCain

    Are you crazy?! Hell no he shouldn't take a deep breath and rest. This country is going to hell in a hand basket and you want the president to rest?! If he's the almighty messiah everyone makes him out to be than he'd better start workin' some miracles 'cause we sure do need a heck of a lot of them!

    January 22, 2009 at 6:05 pm |
  9. Vanessa, El Paso,TX

    Tom, I'm starting to like the letters your writing! Have you actually sent them out, if not, you should! I'm sure the president might get a kick out of these. But I'm sure he's gotta lot on his plate. Maybe email sounds like a better option now that he got to keep his blackberry

    January 22, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  10. Sheldon

    President Obama is a smart man. I don't believe he will need be told when to slow down some. He has a tremendous job when handling United States of America business. I have a very good feeling about this young President. His emergence on the National Scene was only two years ago; and, he has made a very favorable impression on ,many people. If you don't believe me, look at his poll numbers.

    January 22, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  11. vlasta korac

    dear Mr President,
    i write from republic of croatia (ex yugoslavia). i lived 25 years under"darkness"of socialism and 20 years now in the "lihgt" of democracy. i've listened and heared plenty of words, promisses from different points of view and agree that words can influence someone's life(or death). in the era of worldwide communication everything can be written and posted. but people are and will be remembered according their actions. as you know, it is time for some bold actions. wish you all the best in your work and let your actions be clear as your mind. thanks and love from vlasta

    January 22, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  12. Kathy in LR

    Love your blogs!! Keep them coming. One question: why aren't you listed under the contributors list? Hmmmmmmmmmm.

    January 22, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  13. Gene Penszynski from Vermont

    The United States will NOT condone TORTURE any more. YES !!!!!!!!

    Let's get rel folks. A couple of psycho terrorists knocking down a couple of buildings in New York is hardly an indication of the imminent destruction of out entire nation. Abraham Lincoln on the other hand in spite of what ,Karl Rove would like the American public to think in order to prop up ole incompetent G W, DID indeed face such a threat. Now just picture this one.
    Imagine Abraham Lincoln as some coddled and spoiled little dumb rich good ball like G W Bush and further imagine if you will if his Vice President had been some Pathetic paranoid psychotic like Dick Chenny.

    Does anyone with even half a brain honestly believe that The government of the People, by the People and for the People WOULD NOT HAVE PERISHED in 1861 and that four score and twenty would have been just another number.

    My point here is that Lincoln faced with challenges orders of magnitude more severe than anything G W Bush ever experienced still did not abandon our nations founding princples even faced with the total extinction of our government. Lincoln did NOT adopt a policy of the ends justifying the means. He simply did NOT abandon Human Rights for some simplistic school yard Bully 'Bring It On' mentality. The United States not only remained but re-emerged a much stronger more confident and an even brighter beacon of human freedom to the world as a result. With Bush's idiotic and just plain STUPID Red Neck mentality teh exact oppsoite has been taking place over the last eight years.

    President Obama is TOTALLY correct in acting quicklty to reverse the stupidity of the G W Bush administration.

    January 22, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  14. Brenda Ferris

    I would like to know, did Condaleesa Rice attended the inauguration?

    January 22, 2009 at 3:32 pm |
  15. Presley

    OMG, these are so funny.
    Since we have President Obama's(gawd I love saying that) attention, some of us would love more face time from Rahm Emanuel.
    He was on the front page of my paper this morning with you President Obama.
    Thanks President Obama.

    XXO ♥

    January 22, 2009 at 3:30 pm |
  16. JC- Los Angeles

    I guess if all of our other leaders, executives and politicians required a do-over to the tune of $700 billion, it's only fitting to have the new President require a do-over regarding the oath of office.

    Although I voted for Obama, it's horrifying to see that yet another leader is having a difficult time getting things done correctly the first time around.

    January 22, 2009 at 3:29 pm |
  17. E. Rena Jenkins

    Dear President Obama,

    How good it feels to finally, officially address you as such! While I am so very proud, overjoyed, elated, excited–and every other adjective expressing extreme happiness–about this phenomenal milestone you've accomplished, I can't help wondering how much sleep are you possibly averaging a night? Two hours? Four? I mean, on the day of the swearing-in ceremony, you were up early (having coffee with the Bush's) and out til very, very late (did you really attend ALL TEN inaugural balls???) and then up early the very next day exercising your new presidential powers. With that beautiful wife and two adorable children (and the pets, can't forget them!) I'm sure any 'down time' you can muster up is spent with them, as it should be. But, I mean wow! I'm a single mother and, sure MY days and nights are long and sleep doesn't always come easily. But at some point I HAVE to shut it down and steal a day of rest. That's a day when I do not wake up until I'm absolutely done sleeping–whatever time that is. It may be once a month or every other week; but the point is, I TAKE A DAY FOR REST. I mean, God himself even rested on the seventh day, right???

    So I guess, my two cents to you, Mr. President, is not to slack on your sleep. Choose at least one day a week to get some rest. We need our president to be well-rested for these next eight years (I'm so expecting two terms :)) God Bless!

    – E. Rena Jenkins

    January 22, 2009 at 3:23 pm |
  18. Lilibeth

    Tom, you are so funny. I like your advice, though. I hope he does call you. 🙂

    Edmonds, Washington

    January 22, 2009 at 3:12 pm |
  19. Pati Mc

    Great advice Tom; I hope that President Obama is listening. You made me laugh when you pointed out that "it is not pretty". Only you would point this out to the new President. You are awesome!

    January 22, 2009 at 3:02 pm |
  20. Cindy

    Obama is just working "fast" because he wants everyone to think he is a doer and not just a talker as he has been dubbed. But I am with Tom...he needs to slow down and smell the roses, take in the scenery and enjoy it. Because pretty soon it'll get rough and nasty and he won't have time for anything.


    January 22, 2009 at 2:59 pm |