July 12th, 2009
07:17 AM ET

Dear President Obama #174: Le Tour de Presidance

Reporter's Note: President Obama has wrapped up his foreign travels to return home and presumably catch up on his mail. The stack must be considerable. I’m writing a letter a day, and I’m pretty sure other people must have written too.

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Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

Welcome back from your big trip. It looked like a wonderful time in many ways, especially that final stop in Ghana. I say “in many ways” because I know there is always work involved, and sometimes the fatigue of traveling can be tough to bear.

I was once covering flooding up near Seattle and after working a twenty hour day I checked into a really nice hotel for, count ‘em, two hours of sleep during which I was called by our assignment desk in New York three times. So, like I said, I know road trips can sometimes leave a body feeling like road kill.

Speaking of traveling, are you following the Tour de France? Not long ago, I would have been thoroughly baffled by anyone watching bicycle racing. Kind of the way I feel about the Tyra Banks show now. But some years back (during the height of Lance-mania) I grew interested in Le Tour and now I never miss it. It appeals tremendously to my notions about not only the valiant glory of individual effort, but also the magnificent power of teamwork.

Time and again you see individual riders try to break away from the bigger group (the peloton, as it is called by the guys with calluses on their backsides) and some of them make it pretty far; opening up a lead of several minutes. But then the frères de peloton, pounding forward, sharing the job of cutting through the wind, feeding off of each other’s energy, slowly start crawling up on the breakaways. And it seems more often than not the man out front is gobbled up and disappears into that mass of riders well before the finish line.

What the teams do is combine those two types of power to create extraordinary speed and endurance. They share the load of moving their best riders through the peloton, setting them up for dramatic and excellent runs. The strategies are complex, nuanced, and I can claim only a passing understanding of it, much in the same way as I passed algebra. But when it works it is beautiful and unstoppable, and a great reminder: No matter how confident and talented any one competitor might be, a strong, focused team is what leads the way to victory.

Hey, for the record, I am also out of town now (You’re not the only one stacking up the miles!) so feel free to call, but don’t be surprised if you get voice mail. (“If you are the President of the United States, press one to leave a message…” Ha!)



Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Yo

    Okay, I admit the piece is very interesting. Now, can we turn our attention to jobs and economy here in America now. That is part of his job isn't it. JUST STOP WITH THE SENTIMENTAL NONESENSE AND GET BACK TO WORK. AMERICANS NEEDS JOBS. If anyone else was in the White House by now economy would have been history. We are tired of excuses and preaching, we need results. When he produces jobs and economy moves on the right track as he promised then we will play otherwise, we do not think any sentiment will do us any good. DO YOU COMPREHEND?

    July 12, 2009 at 10:05 pm |
  2. andy

    The Ghana trip by Obama brought back exactly the ideals I have been waiting for over 43 years. To say that we need to teach more about the past – slavery or the holocaust means that the school system has done little for youth and the remembrance of history. How these issues and more will be addressed are to be seen since so many other areas have been "forgotten" or not been addressed at all over the years. Congratulations Mr. President! At least this is a start... I believe it was Santayana that said some time ago something like as follows : those that forget the past are likely to repeat it !
    Will the USA also recognize that to this day certain citizens rights when it involves other countries are being ignored and absolutely no pressure is brought on these countries either at all OR a double edged game is being played especially if issues ivolve a foreign birthplace of a US citizen, or exactly the issues mentioned by the President on ' slavery and the holocaust' also happen to conveniently apply ? This is unfortunately what's going on as regards some of the former communist countries of Eastern Europe since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Never wanted to be part of a minority or historical problem but unfortunately I still remain an ignored victim by the country that adopted me as a young boy. This had not changed over the years but will it ever?

    July 12, 2009 at 9:23 pm |
  3. Deb

    I am writing regarding the interview with Lisa Ling. She mentioned that she does not want to put the geo political situation between the two countries in the situation. She may want to think that the North Koreans may be using her sister to do exactly that. North Korea wants a voice in the world stage and can't get one. The nuclear issue is a terrible bull headed contest that no one wins.
    President Obama has been silencing the September 11 reports to make nice with the Saudi Princess, he may also use a plea of humanity to North Korea to get a token of appreciation for Lisa's sister and friend back.

    July 12, 2009 at 7:20 pm |
  4. Isabel

    The journalist's life is hard, but worth it when the news reaches the people, making them think.


    July 12, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  5. Donna Wood, Lil' Tennessee

    Mmmm! I call it the need for speed myself, Mr. Foreman. Only I think I would be on skates instead of a bike. Different strokes for different folks! And it is wonderful and thrilling to watch too.

    Donna Wood

    July 12, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  6. Lori


    July 12, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  7. Franky, Land of Lincon

    Sweet...don't be surprised if you get a voicemail, LOL!!! 🙂 You know Tom, that's why I text my friends and don't call them, that way they know I wrote...if they wanna look at it plus, is better than voicemail. You know how it is, you calling that person and saying, "Come on pick up!" And right after the next ring, boom!!! Voice mail comes and you're like, "Awwwww...he hang up on me." LOL!!!! 🙂 Cool.

    That's cool Tom, you like the Tour de France, that's awesome! I think is pretty cool, plus, when Lance overcame cancer, he pretty much became a legend...and took advantage which kind of alienated me a bit, don't get me wrong, I like Lance, got love for him but yeah, got a problem wit his character a bit, just a bit but overall, I like him you could say.

    I watched it a couple of times, just a couple, not a lot. Not so much into it and since Lance is back, it is getting more attention which kind of brought me back to his character, he knows what he's doing, I ain't gonna take time on him, that's the only problem I have against him. But overall, he is no doubt one of greatest cyclists ion history, no question. But just because you are special, don't mean you gotta take advantage of it...only I can do that, LOL!!!! 🙂 I'm playing, I'm playing Tom, 🙂

    Enjoy Tom!!! Have yourself a good one! And I gotta say, I think yesterday was the very first in American television history I seen you bust out on the Newsroom(CNN), that's pretty cool! 🙂 You probably made more appearances years back but I just barely starting hooking you guys up just barely a year. You guys rock! ...Oh and and one of our girls here, likes John Roberts, LOL!!!! 🙂 I'm telling you Tom, look at pic, and John looks like a bad-...LOL!!! 🙂

    Later Tom, enjoy! 🙂

    July 12, 2009 at 10:12 am |
  8. Rachel / Texas

    Tyra Banks has a great show, and please don't take away from the advancements she has made in the treatment of women, and has opened doors for women of color...shame on you, on your scale of one to 10, now your an 8, I don'y think the President will care for the statement as well, so he won't be calling today.

    July 12, 2009 at 10:05 am |
  9. Norma Labno


    Tom, your "Letters to The President" are useful and filled with many nuggets of opinion and information that if used, I am positive, will serve The Preident well!

    Letter #174 is one of the best pieces of exposition I've read in a long
    time, and, more importantly, filled with helpful insight.

    The following sentence so stood out in my mind – I intend to commit
    it to memory – because the truth it contained could not be more fundamental or more accurate: (in reference to the Tour de France)
    "...No matter how confident and talented any one competitor might be,
    a strong focused team is what leads the way to victory..."

    The truth in that line alone leaves me nearly wordless in attempting to express how integral, and important to his Presidency, I believe that
    concept to be!

    norma from nevada

    July 12, 2009 at 9:45 am |
  10. ShelEBean

    Like this! We have a strong, smart leader with a great team around him. However, our participation should not have ended once he was elected. He still needs the American peoples' support by getting involved and letting their representatives know how they feel about the issues the President and his team are working so hard to reform. Subscribe to BarackObama.com and get involved. We may not be in a "peloton" position, but we sure as hell can help keep the momentum moving to some exciting victories!!!

    July 12, 2009 at 8:55 am |
  11. Regina Williams

    'Tour de President" Interesting piece. You didny say much about your take on Africa. As a matter of fact no one has said much. I am waiting to hear a concrete blue print on America's policy as regards Africa. Obama comment " Saving Africa is up to Africa" is not very encouraging.

    July 12, 2009 at 8:20 am |