February 7th, 2009
08:54 AM ET

Dear President Obama #19: That's a quote!

Reporter's Note: President Obama asked for Americans to help him with ideas. I’m writing a letter to the White House each day, which I am sure just thrills them.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/06/art.getty.camp.david.jpg]

Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

So off to Camp David, is it? Good for you. If I had a place in the mountains, I’d be there faster than Etta James can slap Beyonce. Pack up the fishing poles, load the kids, grab the cooler, and away we go. You should probably check to make sure President Bush didn’t short-sheet the beds for a joke anyway. Ha! I would.

In the spirit of relaxation, I’ll keep this short. You shouldn’t waste your time reading letters, when you can cool out with the family and get a little stress break.

But you’ve got the big speech coming up and I want to mention one thing. I know your speech guy has been in the news a bit: young, smart, poses well in pictures. (You know what I’m talking about!) Seriously, however, you need to have a word with him. When you spoke to the Democrats at their meeting in Virginia, several times you invoked the notion that economists are to be greatly trusted. Can’t remember the exact phrase, but you cited the urgent need for the stimulus plan and said something like, “This is not me telling you. Economists have said this!”

At this point in time, I suspect more Americans will believe what you say because you said it, rather than because some experts agree with you. You know from your legal experience that you can find experts to say almost anything. And economists can be the worst: Twisting statistics and numbers to prove political points. You are the President. I’ve said it before, but most Americans currently have more faith in you than they do in some nameless, faceless number cruncher. And let’s face it, if the bean counters were doing such a Cracker Jack job, the economy wouldn’t be flopping around like Ernest Borgnine on a trampoline.

To borrow a phrase from your predecessor, you are the Decider now. It’s ok to give credit to the experts first time around, but if you believe what you are saying, the second time remember: It’s true because you are the President, and you’ve said it’s true; you’ve asked Americans to trust you, and most of them do.

Enough said. Get a good hike in. Don’t even think about calling, because if I see it’s you, I won’t answer. That’s how much I want you to get some rest!

See you back in D.C.



For more of the Foreman letters, click here.

soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. Amanda

    I really appreciate President Obama!!!!! He has our best interest at heart. More than I can say about any other leader in recent memory. When this bill passes and works, His naysayers and detractors might as well stand in front of a bus because I'm sick of them and the Republicans who won't let partisanship go. Besides, after the last eight years can we really be mad at Obama for 20 days? He's doing pretty well under the garbage heap that he inherited and has to clean up!! Oh and by the way a good leader isn't good until he can listen to the people around him that know certain issues better than him and that are better equip to handle it i.e. economists which then he can make the right decisions!!!! God Bless Barack Obama!!!!

    February 9, 2009 at 1:15 am |
  2. Julie

    I work for the state of Missouri and if we do not pay our taxes, we are subject to be fired. Now my question is since they seem to be having so many problems in Washington DC and paying their taxes on time, why can't they work under the same rule?

    February 7, 2009 at 11:59 pm |
  3. Johnny E Davis

    The Banks still will not give loans, because of Credit Rate, If you are laided off your credit, if it was good, it is bad now. I have been laided off for contract cuts etc... about 5 times, of sure my credit is going to be bad, just like so many other. Mr President, when was the last time the credit bureau re-set people's credit rate. I was looking at my credit report the other day, I lost my house in 2005 had to sell and paid every one off. It still show's on the credit report. So just because I looked my fathers credit rate, he has been dead for over 15 years. And they still have him as one of the bad credit folks. A person called me about a bill, just get laidoff in Oct 08, I told them I was laidoff and I'll start paying with a couple of months when I start work again. I check my credit a couple weeks later. That person reported me as 90 days pass due, when in fact it was only 30 days. So if we reset the credit rate for all of us that was laidoff as second change. If the banks will no loan money to only good credit folks re-set it then, what would the banks use then just to say NO.

    February 7, 2009 at 8:17 pm |
  4. Amelia

    Tom –

    I look forward every day to your letters to the President. On point, relevant and they always make me think and smile. Hope you keep them up, even if that call never comes.

    February 7, 2009 at 7:27 pm |
  5. sang chiong

    Power is the ability to do things. As a senator you have little power, but as the President, you have enormous power. The future and destiny of the American people and America is in your hands.You are a leader of a superpower, your every word and deed is scutinized all round the world; you are also the president of the greatest ecconomy in the world, that many nations rely on their prosperity.
    As a superpower you can enhance your power by working with the Almighty Power and not against it. There is only one Earth, one humanity and it is the earnest desire of mankind that you do the right thing and the good thing for the world. Over your soul and body you are the absolute sovereign as well as the leader of the most powerful nation on Earth. You are a leader, not a follower of any isms or religions. You must be above them, not below them, listening to the dictatesof a priest.
    King Henry the Eighth liberated himself and England from the effeminate half-men from Rome to become the biggest power on earth upto the latter part of the 20th century.

    February 7, 2009 at 7:05 pm |
  6. jarrod

    Is this like the blind leading the stupid

    February 7, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  7. Stacy

    Hi Tom,

    I love the letters. You're right, I do have a lot of trust in Obama. But don't count out all the number crunchers. Some of them predicted this would happen and nobody listened.

    PS: Please don't ever call him "the Decider." You're giving me unpleasant flashbacks.

    February 7, 2009 at 5:52 pm |
  8. Bill Plante

    Tom, I emailed something like this to the President and Schumer, but they will probably get buried somewhere. It really should be made public.

    Mr. President, I'm 72 years old and on Social Security retirement. I own my own home, but I can't deduct my property taxes and interest because I don't earn enough to file a Federal return. Then they take out increasingly more Medicare taxes from my retirement so I get very little benefit from each annual increase. But I still have to buy things like everyone else. I'm sick of hearing about tax refunds, especially from the Republicans, as if that will create jobs. It does NOTHING for the old people like me. We are the forgotten ones in these debates – again!

    February 7, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  9. Donna from Holly Springs MS

    I am so glad that it looks like this stimulus pkg. will pass. I'm sure it still needs to be trimmed some, but where do the Senate Republicans feel they have a right to criticize. Afterall, President Obama is trying to repair the mess "W" and the Republicans left for him. Like he said, he inherited this & it was waiting on him when he entered the Oval Office.

    February 7, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  10. Lael Bradshaw

    We believe this bailout package will work, yes its a lot of money to spend but it gives much to job creation. Tax cuts to not stimulate jobs, they may help to pay bills, etc. The best minds in the county have helped with this package for months and for the republican and other conservatives to be holding it up and taking so much out (help for states) is just foolish short sighted politics at it worst. The county needs this now people!

    February 7, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  11. Adelaide

    An epileptic, I take two anti-seizure medications. They are too expensive to pay out-of-pocket. We could not afford it anyway, no one will hire an epileptic. My daughter has diabetes. We are both on my husband's health insurance and his company was bought a couple of months ago.

    What will my daughter and I do to pay for our live-saving drugs without health insurance? Even a plausible solution is a government solution that translates into at least a several month long wait. Diabetics and epileptics do not get to wait several days without medication, let alone several months. We are in desperate straits.

    What can we do?

    Sincerely Desperate

    February 7, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  12. sharon bonte

    my plan if I was President of USA: Give all tax payers $500,000 (far less than has already been spent, and are going to add more money to stimulate). First pay Uncle Sam his taxes off the top, then us little people would get ourselves out of debt. Pay off morgages, school debt,combined bank loans. Then proceed to update and buy a newer car or truck, fix up our house-roof,doors,windows, maybe add on our dream porch or workshop to the garage,etc. Then buy mom a new dress, kids new shoes, dad a new fishing pole. Maybe take the family on a dream vacation! See how fast, demand would be created, jobs, banks get paid,etc. Let us little people have the money and watch us stimulate!! Please hear us. Let us jump start the economy!!

    February 7, 2009 at 3:45 pm |
  13. Amy

    Yes, I agree, most Americans trusted Mr. President to make decisions that would change their lives immediately without listening to the number crushers who interpret how we should understand the numbers to mean.

    However, if you, Mr. President, were faced with the decision:
    Pay your mortgage and work out an offer and compromise with the IRS
    Pay your taxes on time and let your house go to foreclosure
    What would you do?
    1. The person who does everything by the law would pay his taxes and loose everything he/she worked for because they wouldn't think or know how to ask the IRS/gov't. They are too scared of talking with authorities or not know how.
    2. Someone who is not afraid of authority or feel comfortable challenging the rules will pay the mortgage and work out a deal with the IRS.

    Who is better off? I guess #2 he kept his house and his family.
    Who is worse off? I guess #1, he lost his home and maybe even his family.

    IT would be nice if all Americans were able to pay their rent or mortgage first .Let's not have any American have to make this choice.

    . I hope while Mr. President is away, he thinks of the others who voted for him. I hope he trusts the American family to bail them out giving them immediate relief . Let Americans pay their housing bill first before the government asks for taxes. It would help stimulate the economy and help stabilize the infrastructure of families who are already hurting.

    Have a good weekend.

    February 7, 2009 at 2:05 pm |
  14. Rosemary Martin

    I didn't vote for Obama but I sure didn't vote for John McCain either. I wasn't sure about Obama. I knew I didn't want another George Bush in the White House. Since Obama has taken office I have listened and read some of his speeches and I am now on board with him.
    I wonder if the Republicans really think the American people believe they care America. They have they own agendas and the people are not even in their minds. If the people that voted them in office would vote them out America would be much better off. I am not saying that President Obama is 100% right. I think he is the first president we have had in a really long time that really cares about America and the American people.

    No I am not black I am caucasian and Obama did not carry my state, Arkansas. All the politicians in this country whether Republican or Democrat need to start carrying about America. The Republicans are at least 90% responsible for the mess that we are in. They need to leave the President alone and let him fix their mess instead of backstabbing and lying.

    February 7, 2009 at 1:49 pm |
  15. Suzanne Sheumaker

    Instead of writing a lot of letters and waiting for government action, it's time for each of us to start our own "economic stimulus plans." Government isn't the only one responsible here: we all are. Those of us who can afford to spend a little extra money should do so. Those of us who have put off special projects should start them now. Waiting only makes matters worse.

    For the past two years, my husband and I have put off remodeling our kitchen. This January, we decided to take action. We purchased "the right" appliances, not the cheapest. We also hired a craftsman to redo the countertops, rather than do the job ourselves. The point is: let's all work together. The time to wait for government help is past.

    We have 303,824,640 people in America (as of last July 2008). If each of us contributed only an additional $10 to our economy, we'd add $3.03 billion. If we contributed $100, the total would be $30.3 billion...and so on. Some of us can't afford to contribute. Others can afford a lot more. We're contributing $13,000. How about you?

    February 7, 2009 at 1:23 pm |
  16. Chris Wilson

    Good insight offered to our president...

    At this point, the majority are in his corner...And willing to believe.

    I agree, data can be massaged to say anything one needs it to say...

    Hope his weekend is restful...yours, too.

    Thoroughly enjoy reading the daily missives......and that your "take" on things often reflects my personal stance , inspires me to return daily to this CNN site.

    Keep on keeping on...You are a blast to read.

    February 7, 2009 at 11:09 am |
  17. sherry

    Very well said and truthful,many americans are trusting in pres.obama, I as well trust the holy spirit that's operating through pres. Obama because I believe him to be a man of great integrity and spiritual understanding. So I echo the writer of this letter there's a time to listen to your advisors,and there's a time to walk in the wisdom of the lord, and this is that time to be a hearer and a doer of Gods word to lead this nation successfully.

    February 7, 2009 at 10:09 am |
  18. Teresa, OH

    Love your letters, Tom : ) Yes, indeed, enjoy Camp David, Mr. Obama.

    Actually, in one of Mr. Obama's chats recently, I started smelling a hint of the fear invoking Bush/ Cheney tactics. "make no mistake... if we dont act..." Are we little kids that need threatened by our parents?
    We, the joe averages, are burned out and beat down, your threats dont mean squat .

    I just had a thought bubble over my head: The govt made all the rules and regulations without us little people as they know what's best for us.... and now they are coming to us to put the pressure on the house and the senate to help out the economy with the problem that they made cuz they KNEW better than us. Fire them all and their economists.

    February 7, 2009 at 9:51 am |
  19. Alicia

    Um, Tom: have your calls forwarded to me then...

    Windsor, ON

    February 7, 2009 at 9:30 am |
  20. Tammy, Berwick, LA

    Yes, blind ignorance in trusting a president early on in the last administration helped get us where we are. Sorry. I'm going with the number crunchers over the community leader turned lawyer turned politician turned rock star for my economic information. I'll go with the business leaders who are still running successful businesses. They are out there. I'll look to the local bankers still doing well. They are out there, too. The last thing I'll do is trust another face in DC looking out for his own legacy.

    The letter idea is cutesy. It's a shame he only listens to those who support his own agenda and not those looking out for America in a way different from his.

    February 7, 2009 at 9:26 am |