July 6th, 2011
09:00 AM ET

Letters to the President: #898 'How to host a debt ceiling party!'

Reporter's Note: President Obama once asked for advice on how the run the country. Not from me, personally, but from all of us in general. Still, I’m doing my part with a letter every single day to the White House.

Dear Mr. President,

So you’ve invited the congressional crowd over to the White House to talk about the whole debt ceiling impasse? Good luck with that. I must say they don’t sound like they are in much of an agreeable mood, so I imagine you’ll have your work cut out for you.
But here are some things that I think may help.

Related: Obama invites congressional leaders to White House for debt talks

First: Make sure you start about mid-morning. Any earlier and you’ll get people complaining about the traffic, the lack of parking, how they missed breakfast, and yadda yadda yadda. Nobody needs all those headaches. Give them a solid 10:30 a.m. start time and you’ll avoid the morning grumpiness, yet also be able to call it done before afternoon naps.

Second: Good snacks. Forget those lame fruit-filled Danishes. I’d go for a big plate of Krispy Kremes and maybe a hot waffle bar. Keep a few bran muffins around for the health food nuts, but put them near the back…or better still on a separate table.

Third: Keep it short. Look, you’re either going to sense movement toward a deal in an hour or so or not. If not, surprise everyone by suddenly standing up and saying, “Ok, thanks. This was fun. See you in national bankruptcy!” That may be just the thing to make them get serious; after all, nobody likes to make the host angry in his own home.

Four: Offer door prizes. Everyone likes something for free. Maybe your can offer a free appearance at a fundraising dinner, which oddly enough, I think either a Democratic or a Republican campaigner could make hay out of.

Five: Don’t get your hopes up for any hand holding, Kumbaya moments. To be honest, the Republicans are playing hardball on this one, and they don’t seem even slightly inclined to back down. So if you can’t get an agreement, you better be ready to throw some hard punches.

Hope that helps. I’ll be watching to see how it goes. And if you want me to swing by just to loosen up the crowd, give me a shout.


Follow Tom on Twitter @tomforemancnn.

Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

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