September 20th, 2009
08:11 AM ET

Dear President Obama #244: Picture time: Uh, check the exposure...

Reporter's Note: President Obama is making a whirlwind tour of the TV circuit this weekend to talk about health care and other things. Some people say he is being overexposed. Of course, some people say I’m writing too many letters to the White House. What do they know?

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Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

Overexposed? Heck no! Let people rant all they want about you riding the TV rails this weekend. If that’s what it takes to get people refocused on what you want to do, why not?

You have been at your best, I dare say, in the campaign and in office, when you have paid little attention to the conventional wisdom; when you have pushed aside “politics de rigueur” and gone with “politics de seat-of-the-pants.” I think it is because you have a keen sense of how full of horse manure many of the “party experts” are. As you pointed out yourself, a surfeit of experience of the wrong sort can be blamed for many of the problems we have today. Or as one of my favorite old sayings goes, “If everyone knows it, it’s probably not true.” (I wish I could remember who said that…)

In any event, despite a fair bit of weakening in your popularity, you remain the most effective advocate for your agenda. For that matter, you are still far and away much more popular than Congress, so why not use that popularity and fame to make things happen?

On the other hand, there is this: One of the chief complaints I’ve heard about you (and please don’t take this personally) is from people who say too often they feel like you are still campaigning instead of governing. And when you blanket the cable, it too often reinforces their view that you are primarily, as Steely Dan would say, a show biz kid.

Sometimes those gripes are driven by Republicans who would shove Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin both out to sea in a rowboat in exchange for a powerful, dynamic, socially captivating person to take up the banner of their cause. They have some who are trying, but certainly they don’t have anyone who has yet grabbed and held the magazine covers like you have. But then other times I think there may be a legitimate reason to rethink this strategy. Not this weekend, of course. As I would tell any president who has committed to a course of action, for now push the pedal to the floor and go. But remember, people most value things that are rare. And maybe that applies to the words of presidents too.

Good luck with all the interviews. Watch out if that sneaky snake Ed Henry shows up! Call if you can. (And speaking of football, did you notice that Urlacher is out for the season for the Bears? Wowser! Go Saints!)


Follow Tom on Twitter @tomforemancnn.

Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. Ronda

    Thank you President Obama for all of your hard work so far. I support you one hundred and ten percent.

    September 21, 2009 at 2:04 am |
  2. Annie Kate

    I read that Obama is going to be on Late Night with David Letterman this coming Monday (the 21st). Being on shows of this type while campaigning were fine but we elected a President not a celebrity to run America. This type of appearance now that he is President is undermines the dignity and respect of the office he holds. If he likes the show, that's fine – but watch it don't appear on it. I don't think that GW Bush even did this sort of thing and Obama agreeing to appear on the show creates more questions in my mind as to whether he really is capable of effective governing.

    September 20, 2009 at 7:01 pm |
  3. nea

    This President is doing just fine as far as im concern, And he will do even better if people will PRAY for him instead of bashing him every chance they get. Some may want him to fail just because they disagree with his views, But thats ok with GOD help he will suceed anyway.

    September 20, 2009 at 6:38 pm |
  4. David, Indiana

    If there's a town hall or public discussion, have a discussion, ask questions of the President, that's what the public does. I think its good that republicans are standing up for tort reform, or against the public option, and for proposed insurance reforms, better than only paying lip service to dialogue. I for one like to hear from conservatives. This is how we're going to come to workable legislation.

    September 20, 2009 at 5:50 pm |
  5. Cryptica

    I agree. Obama can talk a good game, flash his smile at just the right angle and degree of luminescence, but at the end of the day...when the party is over, there's STILL a whole mess to clean up! What is the point of wooing the crowd if you can't follow through with anything?

    September 20, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  6. Kenneth Maxey

    I just want to tell the GOP to relax and let it happen. They're only putting off the inevitable. What they want is only costing more lives and money.

    September 20, 2009 at 2:15 pm |
  7. matthew queens, ny

    President Obama is overexposed. The bully pulpit is a powerful tool and Mr. Obama is a great communicator. However, you can only explain yourself so often. After a time people start to tune you out. You become an ordinary talking head.

    September 20, 2009 at 11:32 am |
  8. sally

    I love hearing from the President. I would so rather hear from this President than any other President I can think of. I don't expect him to "pass a health bill". The executive branch does not pass bills. The Congress does. Also, the proof is in the pudding, his live audiences are hardly less than enthusiastic! Good grief!

    September 20, 2009 at 10:53 am |
  9. JD

    I am waking up this morning looking forward to listening to President Obama on Sunday morning Meet the Press, I guess, on network television. It is not the President who has been overexposed recently in my experience but more so the negative behavior of so many people recently. Since I also do not have cable service at this time I am happy that something worth my attention, i.e. the President ot the United States that we recently elected will be on the network. I guess you cable network people may sometimes forget that not everyone can afford the luxury of cable overexposure. He is the President and therefore more worthy of press coverage than so much of the overexposed spam that is 24/7 365 often on cable.

    September 20, 2009 at 10:33 am |
  10. Mary Phillips

    The President is smart enough to know that you cannot put words in his mouth if he is speaking. If the public is listening to other people quote him , they will not get the truth about what he said. This has been proven. Speak on Mr. President. Let them call it campaigning or what ever they want, it is still speaking the truth directly from the mouth of the President. NO MORE SOUND BITES PLEASE..

    September 20, 2009 at 10:25 am |
  11. So tired of the complaining

    People are quick to judge and complain. President Obamama has been president for 8 months. He is not a miracle worker. Obviously thinhgs haven't been working for the last 8 years. Give him time. Its so ridiculous that people think these changes can happen over night. It is going to years to fix the economy and evrything else.

    September 20, 2009 at 10:24 am |
  12. Charles Sugrim

    I believe that the President is trying his best to get a clear message out on the health care issue. No one should deny that there are unforgivable waste and squander in our healyh care system. As the President said, we spend the most on health care yet our population is not the healtiest. Something is wrong with that. Let us follow the President lead on this important issue and then make an informed decision.
    America is still the greatest nation on earth. Let us work through this issue in a very civil way.

    September 20, 2009 at 10:07 am |
  13. weedwonker

    We are in a new era. Obama is right to be seen working energetically and consistently to achieve important goals for our current and future good. It is not like he is a modern monarch living a semi-reclusive life behind thick walls. He is a president for the people of the USA and should reflect how people here behave. If we want to impress our employers, we are SEEN working and call attention to our work ethic. The prez should not be different. Leaders should be seen leading, like great generals that motivated troops to astounding successess. I want to see him working hard for my interests

    September 20, 2009 at 10:06 am |
  14. Adelaide

    I think something good would have been done a long time ago if the opposition party offered criticism in a more constructive manner. Their lack of ideas and leadership has led to all the anger so loudly seen and heard along the airvaves and throughout the general public who feel they need to take things into their own hands. Some people seem to be angry and hateful at everything and nothing. Anger and hate are not the best tools to use when trying to get things done to the satisfaction of all sides.

    September 20, 2009 at 10:04 am |
  15. Conserve' for USA

    The president needs to stop campaigning and start being president. He can sure talk a good talk, however when it comes to backing up his words with actions, he lacks sorrly. He may very well want to do good, but nothing is getting done! Let's see his health care bill in writing. Let's see if he backs his speeches with words and action!

    September 20, 2009 at 8:31 am |