August 7th, 2009
01:32 PM ET

Dear President Obama #200: Catching ... or ducking … the next wave

Reporter's Note: Ever since the inauguration I have been writing a letter a day to President Obama. He asked for advice on how to run the country, and I am delivering. Of course, he didn’t say it had to be good advice, so that’s a relief.

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Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

I seem to be saying congratulations to you a lot lately, but when you are a president that’s a good thing. So congratulations on your first Supreme Court nominee being confirmed. I know it looked a little dicey there for a while, but now Sonia Sotomayor is being fitted for the robe, and you’ve got every reason to celebrate. And just in time for Day 200! Score one for the man from Chicago and the Wise Latina, eh?

That said I was up in New York watching our big electronic maps as people all across the country graded your overall performance, and you’re taking a bit of a pounding. Your handling of health care reform and the economy are not exactly drawing rave reviews. That’s not, oddly enough, something that you have to be too worried about. You don’t face re-election for quite some time. On the other hand, it clearly has some of your Democratic pals in Congress hopping around like chickens on a hot plate.

Many of them do have to face the voters a year from this fall, and they are understandably worried. You don’t need a Magic 8 Ball to know what they’ll be hit with.

The ads will go, “More spending. More taxes. Same old politics. Where’s the change? Send a message to Congress. Send a Republican.” Or something like that.

So as you launch into your third hundred days (and trust me, I’m going to stop counting the hundred day intervals after that) my advice is to keep that in mind. When you ask them to support your more unpopular plans, you are actually asking many of them to risk much more than you are risking. They could lose their seats, lose their prestige, and lose their chance to move forward with other legislation that they may truly care about. The strength of a leader lies, at least in part, in recognizing the inherent weaknesses of his team, and pushing them…but not to the breaking point.

On the train back to DC this morning, and probably trying to catch a little sleep on the way, but call if you like. Any big weekend plans?



Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Rick Dessau

    I heard the comment the president made about cleaning up the mess he inherited but to those who made it, in essence shut up. I find that somewhat humorous since I believe he was pointing a finger at congress. Ok Mr. President, now let me ask you this. Who's had control of the congress for the past 8-12 years? Why it's been the Democrats. Are you saying that the democratically controlled congress has created the mess? Are you telling them to shut? I can't think of of anyone else since both the house and senate have been controlled by your party members. Does your national health plan cover foot in mouth?

    August 7, 2009 at 10:48 pm |
  2. Bruce Johnson

    The truth is, Congress is ignoring the American people entirely! So is the
    president and every government worker who gets paid by we the people.
    Wake up America! Due to greed and outsourcing, we have lost our manufacturing base and soon, the only jobs will be in health care and
    fast food restaurants. We are being sucked into the third world vacuum
    that is the result of India and China getting all our jobs. This is the fault
    of all of us. We were greedy and so was the corporations that make up the
    manufacturers that once numbered in the millions. Now, most are gone and what is left are low paying jobs that the illegal immigrants are scurrying to get,

    August 7, 2009 at 8:39 pm |
  3. lampe

    Beverly: The Republicans, are just acting the same way The Dems did for the last 8 years. If you want people to work together, then that is fine, but it must start somewhere. So Stop pointing the finger at The Republicans. After all it was Obama that promised he would work across party lines to get things done, so for I see very little proof of this. And one more things this is not a One Party Country for a reason, there are millions upon millions of people who believe in one thing or another. Difference is what makes us so GREAT.

    August 7, 2009 at 7:56 pm |

    Latin Americans are bitter due to how they’ve been treated by whites and as a result they’ve been known like blacks to lash out. Etched in both the minds of blacks and Latins is Ceaser Chavez’s giving migrant workers rights, slavery, the Watts riots, the KKK, segregation and the days of having little or no political representation in office.The latin americans are coming to this country because Latin america is poor. They come for a better way of life but they are breaking the law by coming illegally. Sonya sota Mayor is bitter about history or she wouldn't have made that reverse racist remark about her as a Latina could do a much better job than a white man. She is immature in my eyes.By the way authentic hispanics are White and from Spain for people that think all hispanics are brown complected. Latin americans are meseginated groups look up Mestizo and mulatto to see what I mean.

    August 7, 2009 at 7:38 pm |
  5. Wynoma Hollis

    The Republicans are so mean and nasty (look at the town hall meentings, they are acting lake a bunch of uneducated backward hillbillies.) until all is going to back fire on them. Mark my word!
    My Mama always taught me that God don't love ugly; what those people in the town hall meetings are doing is down right ugly to the

    They are caring on just like many of the commentators on FOX NEWS. Yet they are suppose to be FAMILY VALUE people. I wonder how God feels about their behavior. "FAMILY VALUE MY FOOT"


    August 7, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  6. RLWellman

    Do any of you know what Bipartism means? It doesn't mean, here is the bill sign it or not. I don't know where YOU are from, but it means working together to make and write a bill. Not here it is sign it!

    I want to know one time, just one time that the Democrats and Republicans have sat down and have written a bill together since President Obama has been in office!

    August 7, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  7. Greg

    Mary Cole... take a little of your own advice and your point may have some validity

    August 7, 2009 at 12:32 pm |
  8. Gene Albano

    I would like to correct a recent statement that I wrote on this Blog. I had been misinformed from the internet as to the state which John Conyers represents. It is the people of Michigan who are the victims of having Conyers for a Congressman. Of course we know who in Michigan vote for this "piece of garbage." It's the uninformed voters who will vote for anyone who is 'from the neighborhood,' and it is the unfortunate intelligent people of Michigan who then have to tolerate such an ingnoramous.

    My sympathy is with the intelligent voters of Michigan who are outnumbered by the un-intelligent! And, yes, I do exercise Freedom of Speech and No...I have not be coached in writing this commentary.

    August 7, 2009 at 11:58 am |
  9. Mary Cole

    I think some of the people that is trying to dircredit our president need to sat back and do some proofreading of their e-mail and make sure their spelling is correct. I think he is doing a wonderful job.

    August 7, 2009 at 11:38 am |
  10. Mary

    I am deeply hurt over the fact the Democrats are just ignoring us completely, they have lied to us, they have rated us out, Obama is lieing to us, he and the Democrats are useing folk tong to get what they wants, and The Media is helping to destroy the freedom of our country, I thought when you went into politics you did what the people want, But that is NOT THE CASE!!. Obama is NOT doing anything to help us, he has done more harm to us in the united states, he dont know how to tell the truth, he got the lieing and deception virsus running through his vains, all I can say is we are screwed by the Democrats, The Media, and The President,

    August 7, 2009 at 11:21 am |
  11. Beverly

    @RL Wellman

    The Democrats are not acting in a bipartisan way? What country are you living in? The Republicans were already criticizing President Obama before he even took office and THEY have been obstructionists at every turn. They have been against every single idea/plan he has had. Please....

    August 7, 2009 at 11:19 am |
  12. lampe

    Seems to me that it is really The Dems, who are doing all the Whinning. Calling people" Mobs"," saying they look to well dressed to be protesters", calling people" Stupid, Nazis, and Terrorists". Obama was supposed to be above these things, and if that's the case, he better get his crew under control fast, before something bad happens. And, then it will be to late to say "I'm Sorry.'

    August 7, 2009 at 11:15 am |

    Mr,President : I'm really proud that USA having you like a President and I wish you luck in all your issues and I think that the way is too hard specially in bad echonomic and many other challenges.
    I wish that you do your job whitout interruptions of nobody and I believe that you have high capacities to resolve all these problems inside and outside this big country . And I know all the musulmans community are with you.
    God bless you, Mr.President.

    August 7, 2009 at 11:02 am |
  14. lampe

    The problem with your letter is, that Obama and The Democrats, should be working to fix things now. And forget about if it's re-election time or not. That is what is really wrong with this Country. you get all of these politicians, who promise us the moon,when trying to get elected, but once in office, they go along with their parties instead of doing what they promised. Then after their in there for a while, along comes re-election, and with that comes the same-ole-lies. It is time for them to either put-up-or shut-up. And, why is it that everyday people lose their jobs, for Racist or Sexist remarks, but not Congressmen, or Senators, and even women?. They should be held to the same standards as everyone else,or maybe a higher standard, because they represent our Country

    August 7, 2009 at 10:27 am |
  15. Beverly

    please, the republicans are champions at "poor taste", i.e., limbaugh, hannity, o'reilly, etc. whine, whine, whine

    August 7, 2009 at 10:23 am |
  16. RLWellman

    When's the President going to go across the aisle? Bipartism? I do not think he knows what that means or even cares what that means. You can't run a country leaving more than half the country out of things. The Constitution gives all of us the right to have taxation with representation!

    The sooner the President realalizes and accepts this the sooner he will be able to get along. You can't leave the majority out of the decision making process. Liberals, I'm sorry you are not the majority and you will not ram Health Care Reform down our throats.

    It's time to work together and get what is best for the whole country, not just the minority.

    August 7, 2009 at 10:20 am |
  17. Gene Albano

    I find John Conyers recent comments about Sarah Palin (in regards to the Republican Party) to be in poor taste. But then I'm not surprised. You can put a suit on anything, but it doesn't cause that person to qualify as a "gentleman." Conyers is not fit to shine Todd Palin's shoes–and you can put whatever insinuation on that that you wish! If the shoe fits....!
    It all goes back to the old adage, "You can take the farm boy out of the country, but...." It's unfortunate that intelligent Georgians are saddled with an idiot for a congressman because of other idiots voting for him!

    Conyers has no class, and he never will!

    August 7, 2009 at 9:58 am |

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