August 17th, 2010
08:07 AM ET
4 years ago

Does Obama have a message problem?

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Obama may gave a messaging problem in the wake of his mosque comments. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Washington (CNN) - President Obama's comments on a plan to build a mosque in the shadow of ground zero are not only giving opponents an opportunity to attack him but also reveal a messaging problem from the White House, a communications expert said.

"The danger here is an incoherent presidency," said David Morey, vice chairman of the Core Strategy Group, who provided communications advice to Obama's 2008 campaign. "Simpler is better, and rising above these issues and leading by controlling the dialogue is what the presidency is all about. So I think that's the job they have to do more effectively as they have in the past [in the campaign]."

Obama has faced a torrent of criticism for what was called mixed messages on the controversial plan. On Friday, Obama said Muslims "have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country ... That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in Lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances."

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Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (70 Responses)
  1. jpmichigan

    As a so called Professor of Constitutional Law, Obama uses the constitution and what it stands for only for his own benefit. Where constitution when developing and promoting his agenda on Health Care? Obama has totally dismissed the American people . Sure, we are Religiously tolerant nation, promote freedom of choice. Respect for the lives lost at Ground Zero changed American lives through out are nation. More than just New York City, suffered great loss. Sad to said our our President does not share in the values or need of Americans to keep this site as a scarred remembrance to lives lost.. It would be comforting to place a Church of all nomination near the site so all can be comforted.

    August 17, 2010 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  2. Pragmatic

    No, the President does not have a "message problem." American core beliefs allow freedom of religion and the right to do what you want with your private property.

    Anyone willing to give up these rights? Didn't think so!

    Real problem is that insensitive people, those who are selling the land and those who are building there and just that ... using their (and your) rights to make an "in your face" statement. Like those who use "freedom of speech" to protect very extreme (in my opinion) types of "speech"...

    You must agree with the "righst" if not with the outcome ... which is what the President did.

    August 17, 2010 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  3. michael

    I get really tired of the pundits (in reporters clothes) telling me what someone else has said. Guess what? I hear just fine and don't need them to interpret for me. I understand the president just fine and if the pundits don'ts, perhaps its because they are more concerned with "making up" a news story for the day.

    A day without the media and their incessant polls and opinions would truly be a day made in heaven!

    August 17, 2010 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  4. hypocricnnation

    Good Ed Hornick, You're Just Like The Rest Of The Cowards In The Media Who Take What A Person Says, Debate It Out Of Context (Create Your Own Meaning Of What Was Actually Said), And Then Point Fingers At The Person Who Said Something Rather Than Say Nothing. The Media These Days Fail In Taking Responsibility For What It Presents To Their Audience, And Then Dares To Make A Suggestion That It's Everybody Else's Fault But Their Own. That's Why CNN (HypocriCNN!) Is The Biggest Joke In News!

    August 17, 2010 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  5. Huh?

    Umm... that's not mixed messages... that's the law that governs this country. And yes, I do want my President to respect the law.

    August 17, 2010 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  6. kyle from ohio

    No; He does not have a message problem with the 53% that voted for him, just the Repub party that continue to say no, even when the change is for the good of the American public or American security, And the Main stream media, (NBC, ABC, CBS , FOX) that has proven not to be good vetter's of new sources and content: and then repeat the stories over and over again as if they are the absolute Truth. Like this artical a one sided opinion of a so called expert, other experts have said the speech was clear and to the point of the issue.

    Go Figuare.

    August 17, 2010 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  7. Dis-gusted

    Obama sure is not the worst president in history as opiniated Pip-squeak Quayle spouts. His predecessor is. The statement Obama made regarding the mosque is a true statement. The problem is with the owner of the property who sold it to the Muslums. I'm sure they knew what their plans were, and there was no sensitivity towards the 911 victims' families. The wound is still raw and will be for a very long time. But take into consideration there are Muslums in our military fighting in our wars. Someone should ask Colin Powell what he thinks.

    August 17, 2010 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  8. Chad from Tampa

    Obama is the problem!

    August 17, 2010 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  9. me

    People need to quit overanalyzing everything the President says. If he says that apple is a red apple then that's all there is. Quit trying to decide if there's a worm in the apple.

    August 17, 2010 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  10. aproudmemberoftheunpatrioticmob

    Not really a problem. He just lies every time he says something and all but the most doped up of his believers realize it. He is inept, corrupt and a union toady.

    August 17, 2010 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  11. Michael Armstrong Sr.

    It seems the rock stars fame has lived its course along with the peoples tolerance to his blind sided feelings towards the majority of the American peoples wishes .

    August 17, 2010 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  12. USN

    We here his message loud and clear ,, and don't like it ! Question is why doesn't he hear ours.

    August 17, 2010 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  13. David

    No, the problem is the 24/7/365 media cycle that peddles controversy like it's going out of style!

    Since when was it controversial to uphold our citizens 1st Amendment rights?

    Do tell...

    August 17, 2010 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  14. jane

    It's amazing to me that given the huge problems from the Bush administration still lingering over us - and will be for generations - how long the news media will dwell on lesser issues.

    August 17, 2010 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  15. Jill American

    Yes, Obama does have a message prolem. He speaks to subject then the next day has to speak to it again to clarify what he meant. Not good. He needs some new speech writers.

    August 17, 2010 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  16. Norma Vessels

    I don't see how President Obama could've been any more clear. As he stated – anyone has a right to build any religious building anywhere in the U.S – if they own the land - because of our religious freedom.

    President Obama did not state any personal opinion – he said that he would NOT comment on the wisdom of their decision. In other words, he is keeping his own personal opinion to himself.

    August 17, 2010 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  17. Nelson, Colorado Springs Co

    The President Of The United States is right ,Muslims "have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country ... That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in Lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances."and the AMERICA CONSITUTION If anybody is mad be PISS AT NEW YORK CITY LOCAL GOVERNMENT FOR APPROVING THE SITE TO BUILD THE ISLAMIC CENTER NOT PRESIDENT OBAMA. It a election year.

    August 17, 2010 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  18. Jess C

    Guess they're right, "simple is better" when you address who, simpletons? Most of us have the capacity to understand Obama's message. I believe he said that Muslims have the "right" to build on private property, but he also said something to the effect of withholding comments about the wisdom of doing so. Sorry, don't see anything scary there. Can we move on now? We had a "simple" man in the White House already and he got us into a big mess, remember? Sad that we've become a "sound bite only" culture.

    August 17, 2010 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  19. Larry

    only if your a republican

    August 17, 2010 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  20. New Age Independant

    A "messaging problem"? More like a leadership problem. This is what happens when you elect a president without adequate qualifications.

    August 17, 2010 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  21. noztnac

    I oppose the mosque plan but it's none of my business. It's not my property so my opinion is just that... my opinion.

    August 17, 2010 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  22. Fair is Fair

    Yeah, he has a messaging problem – his message is being rejected by Americans more and more each day. Amateur hour has outstayed it's welcome. Time to let the professionals back on stage.

    August 17, 2010 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  23. ConstitutionalPatriot

    Yes he has a message problem! His message is all BS and reiteration of failed policies destined to the scrap bin of history! Let us not forget freedom is a relatively new idea to the annals of history. Give freedom a chance, vote for libertarian leaning candidates who will uphold and defend our Constitution!

    August 17, 2010 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  24. jules sand-perkins

    The President's real desires are always clear to persons of awareness and discernment, even though he may strive to be vague.
    Confusion regarding his exact position on such issues as DADT and the WTC mosque is a result of his employment of his professed skill at politicking.

    August 17, 2010 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  25. Lucullus

    Yes he does have a message problem. It's called the corporate owned media. There isn't a lie, half truth or innuendo from the right wing echo machine that the media won't repeat over and over again. Yet they refuse to report of the good things done by the administration.

    Admittedly, Mr. Obama is a disappointment in many ways but he isn't as clueless or as incompetent as George W. Bush. The media had no problem sucking up the the Court Appointed Boy President. The presented their questions to him in advance and then played along to make it look spontaneous. They accepted money to write articles approving the Bush administration's corrupt and incompetent governance. They were his hand maiden when it came to selling the lies that started the Iraq war. But they'd never, NEVER, give Mr. Obama one tenth or one percent the lea way they gave the punks of the previous administration.

    I'm so old I remember when we had a free press in this country.

    August 17, 2010 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
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