November 21st, 2009
08:07 AM ET

Dear President Obama #306: Run! Here come the pollsters!

Reporter's Note: As opinions have rolled over facts in DC like Rommel on the move, I have become more enamored of numbers. Sure, they can lie, but they usually start giggling when they do it, so at least you know. So I’m talking about numbers in my latest missive to the White House.

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Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

People always say the same thing about polls. “No one ever asks me.” I understand their frustration, and their doubts too. I mean, after all, in a country of more than 300-million people, how can you ask a few thousand what they think and from that figure out what the rest of them want? If I walked into a hundred McDonald’s and found, by sheer chance, that 85 percent of the folks there wanted Big Macs, I’m not sure that would tell me much about what all the other billions of customers were hungry for that day. I’m pretty sure there’d be some Quarter Pounder kids in the crowd, even if I missed them.

Polling is, at least in theory considerably more scientific than that, but still…like I said…I understand why people have doubts about whether polls really measure what we are thinking as a nation. And I sure understand why you might want to have doubts these days. Your numbers are looking like a bad morning after a good night on Bourbon Street. Especially on the economy.

82 percent of your citizens think economic conditions are poor, at least according to our latest poll; and yes, I’ll take fries with that. To put it in simpler terms, four out of every five people are wishing they had a jar full of cash buried in the back yard right now. (btw, I don’t have one, so don’t even think of sending Biden over here with a shovel at night…seriously; reduce your own deficit!) And to put it into even simpler terms, a lot of Americans are having some interesting discussions in the evening in which you may not be the villain, but you are certainly not the hero at the moment. “Hey kids, how would you feel about home-made Christmas gifts this year? I think I can whittle an Xbox. Pretty sure.”


November 21st, 2009
08:00 AM ET

50on50: A tax on a face


Michael Schulder
CNN Senior Executive Producer

Just as I'm about to turn 50, the Obama Administration and its allies in the Senate are pushing what's been dubbed Botax. A 5 percent tax on cosmetic procedures, like Botox injections and face lifts. I'm actually excited about turning 50. I'm excited about my current life mission to take down the worshipers of the 18-49 year old "demo." So I don't need a LIFT for my spirits. But many do. It's a big deal.

I'm Transparent

On a personal note, as a journalist, I don't think I could ever feel comfortable with a significant cosmetic procedure. I want to be trusted. I don't want to hide anything. Don't get me wrong. I go to work fully clothed.

But the idea of doctoring your face makes me as uncomfortable as doctoring a photo. In fact, in that photo of me at the top of this story, I had the option of having the photographer airbrush out some wrinkles. He could have worked magic with his mouse. But I said NO, after I thought about it for a while. What you see is what you get. I'm turning 50. I want to LOOK like I'm telling the truth.

The Plastic Surgeon's Perspective

Of course there's the issue of empathy. The President Elect of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Dr. Phil Haeck, points to women who are out of work and looking for jobs . He says many of them may be at a competitive disadvantage without a plastic surgeon on their side.

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Filed under: Michael Schulder • Opinion