February 13th, 2009
09:57 AM ET

Dear President Obama #25: Your superstition position

Reporter's Note: President Obama has asked for Americans to offer ideas about running the country. So I am writing a letter every day, even on Friday the 13th, when presumably there is some risk involved. Duty does not know fear.

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Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

Loved the speech to mark Lincoln’s birthday! You were really in quite fine voice, and considering the difficulties you’re having with these Cabinet nominees dropping off, I was particularly impressed with your relaxed manner and wonderful message. Those giant Leroy Neiman portraits of Lincoln behind you were an excellent touch. Although, I must say, I’ve never been particularly fond of his work. Neiman’s not Lincoln’s.

You were wise to stress that particular message from Lincoln; the idea that together we can accomplish such great things, while divided we can so easily fail at even simple tasks. I have believed that for so many years. The biggest enemy most armies, businesses, political parties, and PTA’s face is themselves; their own inability to get past petty grievances, jealousies, rivalries, and overinflated egos. I suppose most of us could even say that about ourselves.

Still, even if we can master such things, sometimes bad luck does come along.

A good number of your predecessors were superstitious. Franklin Roosevelt, I have read, was afraid of the number 13. William McKinley wore a lucky carnation in his lapel. (Although, it must not have been terribly lucky, considering how his days ended.) The Reagans paid attention to astrology. Abe Lincoln himself apparently put some stock in the notion that dreams could predict the future. I hope he was wrong. Otherwise, I’ve got one terrifying day of running from a pack of angry chimps coming up.

I won’t bother asking if you are superstitious. I already know about your “I always play basketball on election day” thing. I’ve also heard that you like toting around a few lucky charms. Aside from David Axelrod, I mean. Of course, I don’t know if you’d really consider that a superstition or just a custom.

In any event, don’t be worried if some bad luck comes your way as your presidency moves along, whether on Friday the 13th or on any other day. Because of your position, I’m sure the misfortune will feel greatly magnified and perhaps pretty hard to bear. But remember that just like we all stumble into bad luck sometimes, we benefit from good luck too. We both have good jobs, nice families, our health, and lovely houses. In America these days, that’s pretty lucky.

Don’t walk under any ladders. Call when you can.


For more of the Foreman letters, click here.

soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Bill

    The media, mostly left wing, except the ones who get called on last, enjoy the Presidents speeches. The problem is that 'Mr. Geithner gave the same kind of speech as the President has been giving all during his campaign, nothing specific but a general overview of what he was going to do in his office' promises?, but without the charisma and oratory of the President. So the media ate him up and didn't respond positively to what he said, 'feeling as though he didn't know what he was talking about and had no plan' , after being told by the President that Mr Geithner would give them specific plans.

    February 15, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  2. Annie Kate


    Wonderful advice as always. If I may add one more president to your list – Benjamin Harrison and his wife were the first White House couple to have electric lighting in the White House – except they were afraid of it – so they never turned it on. I'm sure you can think of some witty instance to use this in – a President who physically kept himself in the dark.

    February 13, 2009 at 9:27 pm |
  3. SEA

    Dear Mr. President:
    You are such a gracious man, striving hard to work with others, to present yourself as a leader to America and the world. Unfortunately, it is not working, at least within your own environment of Capitol Hill. Therefore, after much conscience thought, I regretable recommend to you that you store away Mr. Nice Guy and tell the Republicians, both the House and Senate and all the naysayers who seem to want to pick you apart to "take a hike" (etiquette dictates that phrase). Get tough on them and tell them all to back the heck up off you! Play hard ball with them, take it to the hoop and slam duck with an in your face attitude that the people of America voted you in and you will not sit by and allow them to make a mockery of your presidency. Get tuff and if you need some back up, I know a couple of "home girls (and boys) who would gladly travel to Washington to get you back.

    February 13, 2009 at 8:19 pm |
  4. Christine Tokarz

    Dear Mr. President,
    May I make a suggestion: Drop the what I call "Forgiveness Loan"
    which you call Stimulous package and replace it with a Forgiveness deal aimed at US citizens.
    150,000.00 mortgage voucher for every tax payer to go and purchase real estate only which would be a federal loan the taxpayer pays back regardless of their credit scores credit history....It's not like you have not just done this for all the banks....and for those non taxpayers would give them incentive to find work..this idea would surely buy up all the foreclosed properties out there as well as generate more home puchases period causing the banking system to roll again.....something like this most tax payers woul'dnt mind paying government for but to pay for forgiveness loans to big banks and buisnesses and hearing our relief won't show up for quite some time...I suspect frustration and discouragement as a leagacy of your admistration.

    February 13, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  5. naomi pickinpough

    President Obama- I voted for you in the election and feel you are still our best hope for a recovered economy . But the longer you are in the White House with all of "it's" perks, "PLEASE" don't forget the working person who supplies the tax money your wanting for this stimulus package!!! Y

    February 13, 2009 at 3:53 pm |
  6. Patrice Ackerman

    Just in time for Valentine's Day!!! A lifesize unisesex blowup doll of Obama. From the first moment you fill it with hot air, all your fantasies will come true. You'll love this package!! Guaranteed to be all the ust in stimulusyou will ever need!!

    February 13, 2009 at 10:37 am |
  7. Kathleen Scott

    Dear Mr. President,

    All the millions in bonus's to the Wall Street Bankers:

    Why can they not each buy and furnish a small home, and donate to 1 family in need. The gesture of the woman donating a home for as long as the family needed it was heatwarming and a reminder that their are good people in this world. It can only start a ripple effect as people come together and give. The greed of these Bankers is outrageous. I am from Canada, we watch and listen everyday and you have inspired us all.

    February 13, 2009 at 10:33 am |
  8. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    I was always told when I was interviewing for a job-–be honest--be direct--and hope for a little "luck." Now that I'm older and about to retire--at least that is my intent-–when it come to "luck,"--don't hope for it--–make it.

    February 13, 2009 at 10:24 am |