December 7th, 2009
11:12 AM ET

Dear President Obama #322: Never give up

Reporter's Note: President Obama is the first president I’ve ever known who is younger than I am, if only by a bit. So you might consider my letters to the White House the advice of an elder. You might, but I think that would be stretching it.

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

I have just ended a magnificent day. I mentioned in a previous letter that it was my birthday, and now I feel I really must elaborate. This was my 50th birthday. In addition, my wife and I share the same birthday. No kidding. So when we heard that our beloved Saints were coming here to play against the Washington Redskins on our birthday, we decided that as our gift to each other, we would get tickets for our two teenage daughters and ourselves and go. Mind you, this was a couple of months ago, when it was no one imagined that the Saints would still be undefeated by the time they arrived.

The game was cold and as you might have heard, extraordinary. The Saints, quite frankly, did everything wrong. Their offense was off key; their defense like a sieve. The Redskins played as if they were the unbeaten team; marching down the field time and again on offense, and hammering the boys from the bayou when the Skins were on defense. Yet, period after period, the Saints stayed around; persistently trailing in the points, but staying at least vaguely within striking distance.

And then, when the game truly appeared utterly and completely lost, (and I must say, my family’s spirits were in the basement, birthday aside…) the Redskins slipped; missing a critical “nail in the coffin” field goal. The Saints pounced. It went into overtime and the Saints won. It was a very hard loss for the Redskins, no doubt, and having lived here for almost nine years, we have affection for that team too. Still, we came home and enjoyed a marvelous late birthday dinner made by our daughters, opened some presents, and as I write this, I still can’t believe the Saints pulled it off.

I said the Saints did everything wrong, but in retrospect, that is not actually true. They did one thing that is terribly right: They did not give up. I know that I have written about this before, but it’s always a lesson worth remembering. Whether a person is the president or a pauper, the only assurance of hope comes from relentlessly and optimistically pushing forward, despite all the setbacks we face, and believing good things can come.

In honor of my birthday, that’s it for tonight. I shall bask in the glow of my team’s good fortune, wish my wife (my birthday partner) a good night, and catch the late train to Snoozeville. I’m fifty. I’ve been alive for approximately twenty-percent of our nation’s history. And yet, I feel reborn. Ha! Now that’s a birthday.



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Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Hope

    Dear Tom~ Everymorning I get up for one reason ~ your inspiring letter to the President. Happy Birthday sir ~ it's kind of ironic the person that was bringing the hope is now receiving the hope. That's the great thing about my name my mom said everyone needs a little hope from time to time! Hope you have a wonderful holiday!
    Mr. President, please listen to this man he is older than you!

    December 7, 2009 at 12:03 pm |
  2. Joanne P

    Don't give up? What about the promise of troop reduction in the Middle East? Do you consider sending 30,000+ giving up? ...or giving in?

    December 7, 2009 at 11:32 am |
  3. Tim Gibson

    Welcome to the 25 percenter club Mr. and Mrs. Foreman, personally I feel it to be a great club.

    Unfortunately, the Redskins on the hill have missed that critical field goal and I fear the Obama administration, although not giving up, will not be able to go into overtime in this "game" they are playing with the people.

    When you take your eyes off the ball, even for one second, it can cost you and your team, a game point missed by a fumble is hard to overcome in reaching the Super Bowl on all levels.

    December 7, 2009 at 10:40 am |
  4. Norma Labno

    Happy Birthday Tom!

    Congrats to The New Orleans Saints for continuing their
    perfect record! One of the most delightful things that
    happened during the football games on Sunday!

    They DID NOT GIVE UP & IT PAID OFF! (Always good advice –
    Don't Give Up!)

    Best Wishes,
    norma from nv

    December 7, 2009 at 9:47 am |
  5. Conserve' for USA

    Tom, are you relating to the president doing everything wrong, but not to give up and relentlessly and optimistically push forward? Even though what he is doing is wrong, but as long as he belives good things will come, it's okay?

    December 7, 2009 at 8:41 am |
  6. CherylK

    Excellent article. So please, Mr. President, whatever they throw at you, just don't give up. You can do this.

    December 7, 2009 at 8:15 am |
  7. Lori

    Happy Birthday to the Foremans!

    December 7, 2009 at 8:13 am |