April 18th, 2010
08:16 AM ET

Dear President Obama #454: I think we are in Kansas!

Reporter's Note: President Obama travels pretty often, as far as presidents go. But have no fear, I travel a bit too and in fact was far more widely traveled than he was when he took office. So there. Uh, but now he is catching up. Just like I hope my latest letter catches up with him.

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Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

I’m going to Kansas! Actually by the time you read this I will probably already be there. It’s the next stop on our Building Up America tour. Did you see my show on that subject over the weekend, btw? It was pretty good, I’ll admit, or as so many others like to say, “Contact the Broadcasting Hall of Fame, Tom is on the air!”

I can’t think of a single trip that I’ve made to Kansas over the years that has not been a pleasure. Oh sure, I’ve endured some bitterly cold winds from time to time while there, but that’s a small price to pay for a visit to the Great Plains. Which, by the way, I think are hugely underrated. And I’m not just kidding around.

Some city folks of my acquaintance like to make snide cracks about the middle of the country as the “flyover” states, and I must say I always cringe a bit when they do. Not merely because it is rude, but also because it tells me that they have not developed a proper appreciation for the grandeur of empty spaces, softly rolling prairies, thunderclouds to pile to the heavens, and views that stretch so far that your eyes ache to see the end.

As for me, well there are few places on the planet where I feel as happy as I do when I am driving for hours alone through the great American wilderness of the plains states. To see a pronghorn raise its head in a swale, or a pheasant explode from a stubble of corn; to watch golden oceans of wheat swelling and rippling in the wind, or an eagle sailing so high it is a speck against the limitless blue-white of the sky; to hear the radio stations fade in and out over the miles, and to pass through the driftwood of the plains…those little towns that either folded long ago or are barely hanging on, clinging to the base of a grain silo for dear life; that is life at its very finest for me. And if I can pull into an oasis at the end of the day, to have a piece of cherry pie, tell them where I’ve been and ask them where I’m going; then curl up in a hotel with a big neon deer buzzing outside just above the sign that says “vacancy;” that’s all the better.

Ah, I’m growing rhapsodic. Or Methodist. Not sure which one. Ha! Anyway, if you never get around to giving me a call, I don’t know how I’m every going to invite you along on one of these trips. It would do your heart good, I’ll tell you that. And who knows, after a long day of rolling up the road, perhaps I’d even treat you to a friendly kick in the pants through the gentlemanly sport of bowling. Ha!

Anyway, thought I’d let you know what I am going to be up to this week, what with all your volcano worries and whatnot.



Follow Tom on Twitter @tomforemancnn.

Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Akash (Mumbai, India)

    That was some seriously relaxed bit of writing Mr. Foreman. It completely overrode the disturbing image of you in Judy Garland's frock that popped up in my head when i started to read.

    April 18, 2010 at 6:48 pm |
  2. Norma Labno



    is a fabulous College Town!) Overland Park has so much
    to offer & beautiful suburbs!

    From the cliffs & forests & parks of Eastern KS to the gentle
    flint hills of Western KS, I LOVE IT ALL!

    Norma (now)fromNV

    April 18, 2010 at 5:42 pm |
  3. Robert Ray

    Why doesn't anyone talk about the "Yellow Brick Road" anymore? I'm sure it's still there.

    April 18, 2010 at 11:39 am |
  4. Sara

    What kind comments about my wonderful home state of Kansas! Glad to hear that other people can appreciate the beauty of the great plains! We really are underappreciated out here! 😉

    Enjoy your trip!

    April 18, 2010 at 11:16 am |
  5. Julie-Ann Neywick

    What a great article. Rarely is anything written or said about Kansas that is good or interesting. I have lived in the middle of Kansas my whole life. Many friends make comments about how flat it is here and that is so untrue. I live by a tall hill and am surrounded by rolling hills. Thanks for the positive comments. Today I feel pride in being a Kansas native.

    April 18, 2010 at 11:06 am |
  6. s dupere

    As a native of Kansas, I appreciate your thoughtful reflections of our state. Although I do not reside in the directly in the plains, I do not have to venture far to find exactly what you have described. More people should just put their minds in park and find somewhere to let it rest. If it is the Great Plains, then come on by, there is more to life than bright lights, traffic, and things, things, things. Kansas is not Shangri-La, but there is a sense of peacefulness being tucked into the center of the USA. Flyover because you must, drives through and stop because you can. Thanks for a lovely article.

    April 18, 2010 at 10:58 am |
  7. Holiday Mermaid

    Tom, what a beautiful way to start a Sunday morning.
    I think I might go for a drive. Have a great weekend.lm

    April 18, 2010 at 9:08 am |
  8. RR

    It threw me for a minute....the Broadcast Hall of Fame is listed under Hall of Fame: Broadcast! 🙂

    Good stuff!

    April 18, 2010 at 8:46 am |