March 28th, 2009
08:18 AM ET

Dear President Obama #68: Photo op tip: Check your exposure

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Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

Reporter’s Note: I’m writing a letter every day to the President. It’s not like stalking, because he asked for advice. At least that is what I plan to say to the Secret Service if they come calling.

Dear Mr. President,

A lot of folks have been speculating about whether or not you’re being overexposed by all your news conferences, your TV appearances, that Internet town hall meeting, you Final Four Pick bit, and on and on and on.

I think there is a simple way of knowing. If you are tired of doing it, or people are tired of seeing it, then I guess you are overexposed. If not, have a ball. Why should you let a bunch of folks who are not in the sunlight tell you to step back into the shade? Your popularity and approval ratings remain really high. Every time you are on the cover of a magazine it sells like buckets of water at a house fire. If you were a movie, all the critics would call you a blockbuster.

On the other hand, I kind of get their point. Did you ever have someone come to one of your parties and stay just a little too long, or tell one joke too many, or relate just that one extra amusing anecdote that made you want to knock yourself out with a mallet? No? Well, if you ever invite me you’ll find out what it’s like.

The old saying “familiarity breeds contempt” is often true. I say often, because I’ve shared meals, sofa space, and ping pong games with my wife for more than 22 years. I still love her, and aside from the occasional suggestion that perhaps I should spend more time in the backyard, she tolerates my company relatively well. An aside here: We were at a party one time in Colorado with a bunch of people we didn’t know, and I was telling one of my standards; a droll story about my brother, a raccoon, and a bucket of golf balls, when one guest turned to my wife and said, “He’s really funny. It must be a blast living with him.” She took a swig of club soda, and deadpanned, “Oh yea. It’s a riot.”

I’m getting off track. The point is, you do have to be a little careful about becoming the Presidential Flavor of the Month that everyone decides they are tired of by mid-summer. More importantly, you’ve assembled a team of folks around you for a reason, and that reason is not just the decision making process. They are supposed to be helping you get things done, including getting your message out to America; whether that is on the economy, foreign affairs, health care, you name it.

The country, by and large, loves you right now. But make sure some of your pals help pull the load, before people start looking around saying, “What? Him again?”

I on the other hand, will always be happy to hear from you. So call if you get a moment this weekend. Thinking a long bike ride might be fun. You?



soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Michael "C" Lorton, VA

    Is it really the President being a "media hog" or is it wherever he goes--the media hogs follow? Even the President can increase ratings and revenues indirectly for the communication corporations--and by the way Tom--that's what they are in it for---the money.

    March 30, 2009 at 9:08 am |
  2. Isabel (Brazil)

    Hi, Tom!

    Good morning ... I'm a little delayed and out of order with my comments this weekend, but ...

    Collective passion! Collective hysteria!
    National Mania! Mania worldwide !

    Sometimes I see this load of media on top of the first family somewhat exaggerated and without sense.

    Let's think about the first lady: a woman trained at Princeton and Harvard, former lawyer of a huge private office and former employee of a huge hospital – she has an agenda parallel quite inspiring (especially in a country in crisis), but become theme (and magazine's cape) of a number of magazines where most of the issues are: the style of first lady, how is to walk of the first lady, who does the hair of first lady – an approach to fully "show-business" celebrity in line "is what the people want to know."

    Could be. But until the approach of CNN fell this matters (an unbelievable news "How to get Michelle Obama's toned arms") and when the CNN enters the wave is because the show-business has come to stay. Futile and sad. A woman with so much intellectual and with much more to show.

    March 30, 2009 at 2:01 am |
  3. Grant

    The truth is...you can't win! You either support him or you don't. George W was non-existent and people complained...now Obama is too exposed and people complain? He should really decide on what's good for the country and let history be the judge.

    Thank you.

    March 29, 2009 at 9:58 pm |
  4. Kailea

    Personally, I think Obama needs to get off his high horse and start getting to work on helping our country get back on track, his new stimulus plan is already wasting enough of tax payers money. Obama needs to realize that he's not a movie star, so do us all a favor and stopping gracing us with your appearence and start acting like a...oh I dont know, our leader. I think Obama was overly nutured as a child, and believes everyone wants to see his face on a magazine or a t-shirt, maybe he could start cleaning house if he wasn't wasting his time on photo shoots and interviews with Middle East ern newstations! You're a politician not a star, start acting like one!

    March 29, 2009 at 9:54 pm |