September 21st, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Is Obama overexposed?

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Editor's note: Drew Westen is a professor of psychology and psychiatry at Emory University. He has been a consultant or adviser to several candidates, nonprofit organizations and Fortune 500 companies, and informally advised Barack Obama's presidential campaign.

Drew Westen
Special to CNN

One of the themes of the Sunday talk shows this week - ironically, as they nearly all featured President Obama - was whether the president is "overexposed," particularly on health care.

In one sense, the question is a reasonable one: After months of letting himself and his yet-unformed plan for health reform get pummeled away with virtually no response until both he and the plan that didn't really exist yet had taken a battering in the polls, the president finally matched his summer of underexposure with two weeks out of the darkroom with a newly developed plan.

From a strictly psychological standpoint, an essential feature of "selling" a product, whether a newly restructured General Motors or a newly redesigned health reform plan, is repetition, and the president and his representatives need to repeat its most compelling features - particularly its ban on "pre-existing conditions" and the insurance company practice of dropping people who paid their premiums for years once they got sick - in just the way the president is now doing.


soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Lorna

    Obama needs to spend most of his time in the Oval Office refining his policies. Who is telling him that everyone wants constant Obamavision? Where are the policy wonks when you need them?

    September 22, 2009 at 10:09 am |
  2. Emma

    The best answer is Ron San Bruno, Ca.
    Obama is the first president of a new era (technology, etc.), each time he goes on TV and explains not only do I listen but I understand, then I might or might not agree.
    Plus, I do not understand this question, if you journalists invite him to your programs isn' t it because he is good for your ratings...

    September 22, 2009 at 9:13 am |
  3. Roger Peck

    People are no longer listening, he's beating a dead horse and needs to find that reset button Hilary has and start over. This country is more divided then I've ever seen it 50 years. People on the right and the independents are no longer listening as its the same message over and over with no substance and the folks on the left believe the president can do no wrong and the main news outlets (except people like Lou Dobbs) keep giving him a free pass.

    September 21, 2009 at 11:30 pm |
  4. Conserve' in USA

    This is all he knows!

    September 21, 2009 at 11:07 pm |
  5. Annie Kate

    Obama is badly overexposed and its highlighted his lack of experience and his lack of a coherent government and vision. He needs to share his understanding of how our current government does or doesn't work and how his view will work – with all the hooks from one section to another to show us if the parts logically work together. Right now all I see is disarray And this is sure not what I would want to see in our country. .

    September 21, 2009 at 9:55 pm |
  6. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    He was overexposed by Jan 21st. That OK though, the bigger they are the harder they fall.

    September 21, 2009 at 9:51 pm |
  7. Kim

    He's not a behind closed doors in a bubble kinda president and out there telling us what's happening. Fine with me ! Remote control when ya need it has been invented. Not sure I'd wear a gown down the red carpet in Hollywood of Obama's face, but it's definitely a fashion political statement of support.

    September 21, 2009 at 9:01 pm |
  8. Ron San Bruno, Ca

    Overexposed would be an ad over Time Square, of President Obama , modeling Calvin Kline underware .

    September 21, 2009 at 8:09 pm |
  9. hamada hamada

    The only one that is being overexposed is FOX news and their
    reporting on how shows like 360 and rick sanchez are bias towards the president yet hiding the fact that at the tea party they were seen directing the crowds when to cheer when one of their news reporters was on the air and doing it out of the camera eyes but CNN caught them. I know now what fox stands for :Fear Obama Xenophobia:

    September 21, 2009 at 7:40 pm |
  10. Rachael, CA

    Yes, most definitely. President Obama seems to be under the (misguided) belief that his words and the sight of him soothes America's soul. I voted for him and, as a lifelong Democrat, I support most of his agenda; but frankly, his speeches and the 24/7 airtime is beginning to get on my last nerve. He is saying nothing new, and he sounds desperate to get his point across - ad nauseam.

    September 21, 2009 at 7:21 pm |
  11. Fed Up

    Ya think?? This man has worn out his welcome on my TV. Obama needs his own weekly prime time slot the way he is going. Too bad he is afraid to face REAL questions and go on FOX. If he wants to win support he needs to reach out to those who are the most skeptical towards his policies, but we all know he is a lawyer and won't answer the questions anyway!!

    September 21, 2009 at 7:12 pm |
  12. Shannon

    Obama is defintely over-exposed. I live in Canada and yesterday on the bus I saw a woman holding one of those reusable bags with his face on it! I was also recently in the Wasthington airport and couldn't believe all the things I could buy....magnets, cups, blankets, cardboard stand ups! I like him too, but I don't think I'm supposed to have a bag with his face on it (although I'll be honest...I did buy a fridge magnet.)

    September 21, 2009 at 7:11 pm |
  13. Tim Gibson

    Under-exposed, Obama can never be labeled as under exposed. He has become more annoying than Billy May selling products that really don't work.

    September 21, 2009 at 6:54 pm |
  14. Cindy

    Obama is WAY too much overexposed. Every week it seems he is holding televised speeches or going on this or that show. The man needs to go back to Washington and actually do his job. All of this TV time is doing him no good. His ratings are still falling across the board and the more he talks on health care the more people and the ratings rise against it.


    September 21, 2009 at 6:39 pm |