March 21st, 2009
01:23 PM ET

Words matter

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Steve Brusk
CNN Senior National Editor

That was the comment from the head of the Special Olympics, reacting after President Obama apologized for an ill-fated joke on late-night television. It was the most high-profile moment in a week where politicians had plenty of trouble with microphones.

Some of the moments were trivial, others were at the heart of the nation’s weightiest issues. More than once, the two collided.

It started silly. Vice President Biden learned a lesson many before him have learned…private conversations aren’t private if a mic is nearby.

There was no luck of the Irish at a White House St. Patrick’s Day ceremony when a teleprompter problem had Irish Prime Minister Cowen re-reading part of President Obama’s speech.


March 21st, 2009
08:00 AM ET

Dear President Obama #61: Speak softly...and well, enough said...

Reporter's Note: President Obama asks Americans for advice on running the country. Ask and you shall receive; my letter a day to the White House.

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Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

Down in my dear old home city of New Orleans, there is a cool little shop that dates back more than 115 years. Meyer the Hatter’s place stands just off of Canal where St. Charles Avenue begins, and the website says a man I met a good many years ago is still running the place: Sam Meyer. I went to Sam’s for a story when I worked in local news and frankly I can’t even recall who was in the White House at the time, but standing amid his walls covered with fedoras, porkpies, skimmers, operas, and even baseball caps, Sam told me something astonishing.

He said that anytime the President of the United States is seen wearing a hat, any hat, the sale of hats improves. Accordingly, he said, the American Association of Hatters (or whatever the group is called) sends a box of hats to the White House every month, just hoping to entice the Leader of the Free World into covering his head for a moment.