August 22nd, 2009
06:49 AM ET

Dear President Obama #215: Fighting from the ropes

Reporter's Note: President Obama, in a poll late this week, has found more Americans disapproving than approving of how he is handling health care reform. I’m writing a letter each day to the White House, whether anyone approves or not.

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Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

This is gut check time. Time to back yourself into a corner, rally your team around you, and prepare to defend the castle. This letter is not about whether your health care reform plan is good, bad, wise or silly. That’s for you and others to decide. Polls are running against you now on this issue; people who voted for you are raising questions about your abilities. So this letter is about tenacity.

When I was a kid, we moved from South Dakota to Illinois and I tried to settle into a new neighborhood over the summer. Champaign was much bigger than the town I’d known, and I was more than a little nervous. One day my brother and I were throwing a football in a field across from our house. An errant throw landed near a kid on a passing bicycle. He hopped off, and punted it as far as he could for me to chase.

“Now, go get it!” I ordered, with all the toughness of a third grader with something to prove. (Bear in mind, back then transferring schools was like going to a new prison; you had to establish your credentials up front.) He walked right up, stared me in the eye, and said, “Are you going to make me?”