October 14th, 2009
02:30 PM ET
9 years ago

Obama: Candidate vs. President

President Obama's term in office so far is relatively on message, a Democratic strategist said.

President Obama's term in office so far is relatively on message, a Democratic strategist said.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - During the 2008 presidential campaign, analysts noted that then-Sen. Barack Obama ran a relatively tight ship - complete with a near lock-step message strategy and a loyal political team.

But since Obama has become president, some say his administration is failing to reflect the tight-knit campaign that helped lead the Illinois Democrat to victory.

One reason: Size matters.

That is, the vast size of the federal government, bureaucratic red tape and the scale of his top advisers' egos, according to an influential political observer.

"When you're running the country, it's a whole different ball game," said Stuart Rothenberg of the Rothenberg Political Report. "Not only is the number of people exponentially larger in terms of the number of people involved, but you have bigger personalities; you have egos; you have people of accomplishment who are accustomed to speaking their mind."

A second reason: Frustration.

Several Democratic Party members are frustrated by the president's lack of progress on big issues. Liberal Democrats are frustrated for his not forcefully pushing the government-sponsored public option idea for health care reform.

Activists also are worried about the president's inaction on repealing the military's "don't ask, don't tell' policy, which effectively bars openly gay people from serving in the military.

But a former top Obama campaign aide said gay Americans have every right to be impatient and continue to pressure the president and Congress.

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Filed under: Democrats • President Obama
soundoff (63 Responses)
  1. Dennis

    He's a lot better at campaigning than he is at presiding. The lack of coherency from this administration has been the most surprising thing to me. I knew he wasn't a good fit, but he has been wrong in ways that I never would have imagined. You're going to spin like a pinata when you try to govern by polls.

    October 14, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  2. single mom

    Reality bites, doesn't it?
    Campaigning for the job is very different from actually doing it.

    October 14, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  3. Hugo

    One reason: Size matters.

    That is, the vast size of the federal government, bureaucratic red tape and the scale of his top advisers' egos, according to an influential political observer

    Please take note my fellow Americans, size matters! A quick lesson should be learned from this that an oversized Government is an ineffective Government.

    State Rights, remember that in our Constitution?

    Liberals, there is nothing that would change your ideological views from that of the herd. All I can say is that ignorance is bliss, so go have a blissful day and enjoy while you can!

    October 14, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  4. Tony

    Obama talked a big game. A REALLY big game, the huge expectations are his own doing.

    Many people knew he was full of it. Many people knew he wouldn't get to all of it but still supported him. And the rest were gullible enough to think he'd actually get to everything he said he'd do.

    October 14, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  5. Melissa

    The only reason the President hasn't been able to make progress on big issues is because the Democrats have been too busy fighting among themselves to get anything done. If they stopped acting like children and actually worked together to pass a DEMOCRAT bill without worrying about the Republicans and Conservatism. , it would get done.

    October 14, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  6. We Won Get Over It

    When he was running against Hillary he one thing going for him...she was a woman...and the woman haters jumped on his ship....he also had people in large crowds worked up and sending them out to gather more people.....now he doesn't have either one.

    What he ought to do is push back at the republicans, Fox News and the so called Tea Parties. The heck with the people around him, especially Rahm E....who is just out to make a name for HIMSELF.

    He should ask one question...and keep sticking to it.....WHAT COUNTRY ARE THE SO CALLED TEA BAGGERS TRYING TO TAKE B ACK.

    The one bush ruined or the one the Democrats and Obama are on the path to bring back to being the best darn country in the world. If it isn't that one and is the one bush ruined then ship their butts to a desert island along with bush and make it work...they can't. Cause they need the true blue Americans to make it work and they are just a bunch of flat butt washed out BAGS PERIOD.

    October 14, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  7. Sea.gem

    His message has been and still is "Blame Bush"...he'll use it in 2012 also...even though his policies are slowing down the recovery...if the media used the "read my lips" reports against Obama as they did against Bush the Elder, Obama's approval would be even lower than what it is now...

    October 14, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  8. Tammy

    A third reason: Incompetent

    October 14, 2009 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  9. File under "Sarcasm"

    As they old saying goes, "the chickens are coming home to roost." The real issue is that Candidate Obama made sweeping campaign statements so that each constituent group (liberals, gays, moderates, unions, businesses, healthcare providers, seniors, etc.) believed they were promised the actions they wanted on their major issues. Now, no matter what he does, he displeases some part of his base because of his apparent conflicting promises. He makes it worse by taking no action which displeases everyone as highlighted in the Saturday Night Live skit.

    The comparision the Carter Administration's failure grows more apt with each succeeding day. Two candidates who knew how to get elected based on hope and promised change but who didn't have a clue as to how to accomplish their flowery promises in the real world.

    October 14, 2009 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  10. Mark

    That is all he is a campaign candidate. He never followed through with anything he said he would.

    The Noble even makes it worse!

    October 14, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  11. Cindy

    Multi-tasking has it's limits. When you've got the biggest Economic crisis since the Great Depression going on, while at the same time, trying to ratchet down 2 wars from the previous administration, while at the same time, trying to ratchet down nuclear threats from other rogue nations across both oceans, while trying to pass Healthcare reform...

    I think the guy's done remarkably well, IMHO. Not bad for a Jr. Senator turned President...

    October 14, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  12. Doug, New Jersey

    First president to be able to just label anyone who wants to offer an opposing view a racist, and not address the issues and debate them, as we Americans were doing for 200 or so odd years before last January.

    It is a disgrace to all those who died in the struggle for civil rights for all Americans to have this happen. Racism used to be a serious charge, an evil that needed to addressed and eradicated. Today, one is called a racist if they say they don't like Obama's tie. A former Klans man Democrat is free to use the N word on TV without a single person in the media or so called civil rights advocates like Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton even mentioning it, yet saying that you don't like Obama's plans for Nationaized healthcare makes you a racist, extremist, and a terrorist according to the Department of HomeLand Security.

    October 14, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  13. Regressive Party Refugee (former republican)

    Yeah I can see how people are frustrated he hasn't already accomplished everything he talked about on the campaign trail. I mean, he has been in office, what, 38 whole weeks? And he still hasn't made good on every promise? What the heck has he been doing?

    Contrast this with republican campaign LIES: "Compassionate Conservatism", "reaching across the aisle", "We keep you safe..." (4200+ US dead in Iraq through 1/20/09 thanks to Bush/Cheney – that's 50% more than died in the TOTALLY UNRELATED 9/11 attack), or "I'll double the number of workers receiving job training"...all outright lies.

    At best, Obama is guilty of sincerely promising a lot and being overly burdened cleaning up eight years of absolutely abject republican failure.

    October 14, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  14. G2

    Candidates make promises, leaders make decisions. President Obama is very very good at making promises, he appears to be pretty bad at decision making....this is not the change that we asked for! He is bankrupting our country.

    October 14, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  15. Debbie

    For EVERY President there has been a Candidate vs President issue. Unless the candidate is seeking a second term they will not have first hand knowledge of depth of degree of the various issues facing the country.

    Key to watch is the general direction the candidate offered and was elected on is on track after 12-18 months in office. It needs to be remembered that many of the reforms any President wants to make must go through our checks and balance system via Congress. And we all know that Congress moves at a snails pace.

    October 14, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |

    I understand the Gay and Lesbian want their rights, and I am all for that but seriously the President has bigger fish to fry and being that President Obama is a middle of the road kind of guy he is trying to be President to all people not just one side of the party its a rough job.

    October 14, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  17. Death Panel moderator

    I knew this guy was full of hot air the moment I heard him. He's following Bush's playbook to the T.

    October 14, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  18. Stella

    Obama accomplished a lot in only several months and everybody gets impatient.

    What about Bush / Cheney disaster era , torture, wars, lies and lies, nothing for the people, eight years of "NOTHING" that took us where
    we were when Obama came to power – why you, narrow minded Republicans, didn't complain? Didn't get impatient?

    History knows better the truth that the Media relentlessly tries to hide.

    October 14, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  19. mark

    with a democratic house and senate has he kept any campaign promise? no....

    October 14, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  20. Johnny DC

    Obama the campaigner was exactly like every other politician. He said what he needed to say and promised what he needed to promise to win the election.

    Now that he's in office.... Who needs the gays? Who needs transparency? Who needs to end the wars? Who needs to keep lobbyists and special interests (ACORN, labor unions, big wall street donators) out of the decision-making process? Who needs to keep the middle-class safe from oppressive taxes?

    Certainly not Barack.

    October 14, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  21. Glennis

    Not to mention the fact that he's in over his head and hasn't a clue what he's doing. No wonder he dithers.

    October 14, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  22. seebofubar

    This guy was a failure here in Illinois and is a failure in Washington. But that's no surprise.

    October 14, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  23. Karen

    He could stay in DC and work on problems instead of continuing to campaign.

    October 14, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  24. PC

    could this be from the party of NASTY that has been in his way at every turn? shame on america for putting up with the obstruction that the republican party has been for the last 9 months. i feel sorry for president obama and at the same time i support him for continuing his never ending plite doing all he can with what he's got.
    americans of both parties should rally together behind this man and together all things are possible. we have forgotten that we are one nation under GOD.

    October 14, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  25. JCP

    President Obama in my opinion has been extremely diligent and efficient in pursuing his campaign promises. What he has been able to accomplish in a short nine months is unprecedented. But at the same time the the economic crisis he inherited is much more massive compared to the problem any president in recent history has ever dealth with. Considering President Bush successfully drove my 401K down to 101K and thanks to Mr. Obama it is back to being a 401K, already shows that he has created optimism once again.

    October 14, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
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