February 28th, 2011
03:50 PM ET

Letters to the President: #770 'And the Oscar goes to …'

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Reporter's Note: President Obama and I have several things in common. We are about the same age. We both have two daughters. We both have to deal with these letters every day. And neither one of us has won an Academy Award.

Dear Mr. President,

The fact that I am writing to you today is evidence enough that once again I was passed over by Oscar. Trust me, if I ever score one of those shiny little gold guys for the mantle I won’t be showing up for work on Monday. Ha!

I watched a fair portion of the awards show. Some of it left me cold because I just don’t see as many films now as I once did. My wife and younger daughter were helpful, periodically telling me which nominees I should cheer on and which ones I should pan. Not that it mattered. I suppose if I were a voting member of the Academy…or a member at all…

Speaking of awards, I noticed that one of your potential Republican challengers bestowed one on you. Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour called you one of the best politicians of all time.

Now, for starters, considering the current mood of the nation, I’m not sure that is a compliment. But even if it is, being the old film critic that I am, let me offer you this bit of advice: Don’t believe it for a minute. If you have big dreams, big ambitions, and want to have a big impact on the world, there are few things as dangerous as a compliment. It is an invitation to relax, to let down your guard, and to set yourself up for defeat.

And I would bet my house that this is fundamentally the intent of any challenger to any throne when he starts lobbing such words around; he wants to lull the incumbent into a sense of false safety, and he wants to paint himself as the hopeless underdog. “Hey Hare, have you met Tortoise? He’s a big fan of yours.”

You are going to be hearing a lot more of this kind of talk in the coming months, especially as people start getting serious about the election next year. And you should probably do what I do when I go to a movie and people start talking - turn around quickly and say “Shhhh. I’m trying to watch the big picture!”

Rainy Monday here in D.C., but wasn’t that a nice weekend? I went on my 20-mile training run and, not bragging, but I can assure you that there is no way on God’s green Earth that you could have kept up. Ha! Give me a call if you want the details.


Follow Tom on Twitter @tomforemancnn.

Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

soundoff (One Response)
  1. Jennifer Lockwood

    I agree with Tom's assessment of caution regarding receiving compliments. It's very possible the compliment is a set up for a defeat mingled with ill will.

    March 1, 2011 at 11:03 am |

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