March 26th, 2009
05:01 PM ET
11 years ago

Schneider: Obama as the politician-in-chief


Obama held a town hall meeting in the White House Thursday. (Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The President is not just the commander-in-chief - he's also the politician-in-chief. And lately, we're seeing President Obama more and more in that role.

Two town halls in California last week. This week, a virtual town hall. Appearances on The Tonight Show . . . 60 Minutes . . . ESPN. Two prime-time news conferences.

Then there's door-to-door canvassing by his grass-roots supporters, and a TV ad from his supporters in the Democratic Party that urges Americans to call their members of Congress and tell them to vote for the Obama budget.

Is the President risking overexposure? You hear that criticism in the press. New York Times columnist Gail Collins wrote, "Barack Obama is going to be on television every day forever. No venue is too strange."

So far, however, the public doesn't seem to mind. At 63 percent in CNN's poll of polls, the President's job approval is higher than any of his four predecessors after two months in office. After all, the President is spending time with THEM.

Is President Obama violating his promise to change the tone of American politics? Actually, the president's tone has not been particularly harsh or partisan, even when he spoke to two Democratic Party fundraisers Wednesday night - audiences eager for partisan red meat.

"And to a bunch of critics out there, I've already said, show me your budget; show me what you want to do," said Obama.

The President saved his harshest rhetoric for, um, us.

"I know it can be easy, especially in Washington, to get caught up in the day-to-day chatter of cable television, to be distracted by the petty and the trivial and to fall into the trap of keeping score about who's up and who's down," Obama said.

He's leaving the toughest talk to his critics.

"The President's budget will hurt the economy and destroy jobs in our country at the very time that our country needs help, and I think it is completely irresponsible," says House Republican leader John Boehner.

"I want his policies that I believe take us in the wrong direction to fail," adds former senator and Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson.

Meanwhile, just how mild is the president's rhetoric right now? This week, the politician-in-chief endorsed a Democratic candidate in a special election for Congress. But he did not criticize the Republican in that race, praising Democrat Scott Murphy instead.

"Scott has the right experience with a record of creating real, high-paying jobs in Upstate New York. Now, he's ready to go to Washington to continue that work alongside me and Democrats and Republicans in Congress."

Filed under: Bill Schneider
soundoff (93 Responses)
  1. Power To The People

    I think his exposure is just right. Go directly to the people about every 6 weeks.

    March 26, 2009 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  2. Cynthia - Arkansas

    I am so PROUD of President Obama. Bush would have been hiding out at Crawford by now. Obama is not afaid to go straight after what he wants. He made promises on the campaign trail, and by George he plans to do every thing he can to see it through. Americans aren't used to that! The Republicans can't stand it.

    He is truly the President of the people. The Republicans can only spout the same old socialist, communist, facist crap. They don't even know what any of that means. They howl about universal healthcare as being socialism or communism. Are they not going to accept Medicare and Social Security. It's the same exact thing! I can't believe that fairly intelligent people would fall for this stuff.

    March 26, 2009 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  3. louann couch

    Just for my two cents I agree with WakeupAmerica.....whenever President Obama is on TV or the cover of a magazine....I'm THERE! And don't think that fact is lost on the MSM....make no mistake, that's why they cover him! But we'll take it, we WANT TO BE INVOLVED NOW!

    March 26, 2009 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  4. ray ray

    @ Meka writes,

    "This is GREAT. President Obama, taking America to a HIGHER LEVEL!



    Actually it's called EGO.

    Obama isn't interested in debating policy, bipartisan efforts, or REAL work. His goal is unilateral implementation of HIS idea – HIS plan.

    Obama lacks the critical understanding of the difference between LEADERSHIP and DICTATORSHIP.

    March 26, 2009 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  5. Glennis

    Over exposed? In a word, yes. I would say no if his continual public face time resulted in anything concrete but it's just one big campaign. All fluff, no substance.

    March 26, 2009 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  6. former obama supporter,now a libertarian

    his 'flippant' answer to the marijuana question, has me doing a 180. that topic is no joke to US Marshall's and innocent victims of america's war on drugs. he can try to get support for his ideas from repubs. this 'progressive', has had ENOUGH of so-called change!

    March 26, 2009 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  7. vennessa

    Bill schiender has a Problem with the President opening the white house to the American Public. Why is that so Mr. schinieder?

    March 26, 2009 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  8. Bill in California

    I THINK HE SHOULD take another step forward and have his face plastered everywhere. On stone in the malls, in the town courts, in the parks, on the roadways, TIMES SQUARE for sure. That way all of us will feel comfy knowing that "BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU".

    March 26, 2009 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  9. Fitz in Texas

    Look, I like seeing a President as much as the next person, but this is really getting to a point where it's just plan sad.

    Wonder when he'll become our Mr. Rogers and start reading bedtime stories to us.

    Get a hold of yourself people, wake up and smell the coffee. Your love affair with this man is causing our country to take a turn for the worst.

    March 26, 2009 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  10. mike

    O-Blame-O's next appearance will be on 'Lost.'

    March 26, 2009 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  11. peeved

    I just wish he would actually say something. We need to get rid of all incumbents, Barak included. Time to make the gov't by the people, of the people and for the people again.

    March 26, 2009 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  12. Mel of Alexandria, Virginia

    The President is keeping the people in the loop. That is his strength. Divide and conquer is the way of the republicans. We will continue to hear "over exposure", "constant campaigning", "doing too much" and such terms from the right wing as attempts to make him disconnect.
    That will not happen. He is wise to your trickery and the people have caught on.

    The party of no is out of tricks, never had any good ideas.

    March 26, 2009 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  13. Heidi

    I think that keeping the American people engaged and involed in a great idea. We need to be able to communcate with our President and he with us. He needs to able to keep the pulse on the everyday people who elected him to this office.

    March 26, 2009 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  14. German,Irish American

    Is that his new Jumbotron Teleprompter in the lower center? LMAO, I wouldn't waste a shoe on this Racist Socialist in Chief.

    March 26, 2009 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  15. Steph

    Would you rather have him take an extended vacation like W did during his first 60 days?!?!

    March 26, 2009 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  16. Jay

    What an absolutely idiotic basis for a news organization to address.
    Right CNN, after eight years of total silence from our president, we, the American people, are UPSET that our president wants to involve transparency in his administration.

    Sure, CNN, we're furious. It pains us to be spoken to, not at, by our president. It really RUBS US THE WRONG WAY, when the president asks for our input, includes us in a dialogue and seeks our reactions to big policy changes.

    Are your producers so desperate for news that you've gone into the business of creating it?

    To set the record straight, my family LOVES this new approach. We hope it lasts all eight years. Why? Because we deserve it.

    And by the way -and this may shock you, CNN- there's this cool little gadget on our TV sets called the off button. If we don't like something, we turn it off. Now get over your reporter's smack-down by the president during this week's news conference, wipe yourself off, and do your job.

    March 26, 2009 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  17. Bill Gordon

    The president is on target with what he is doing, Mr presidenr we love seeing Sir , keep speaking to us. Schneider go pound sand you fool , I have often wondered how you guys got your job.

    March 26, 2009 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  18. Chris

    A mark of a great leader is being a great communicator. We haven't had one of this calibre since Reagan. It's nice to feel proud about my President, after eight years...

    March 26, 2009 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  19. annie - Palin 2012

    When does he work? Oh, that's right he has never worked.

    March 26, 2009 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  20. Edward

    Obama knows that the only way that he's going to get anything done is if the people are behind him. The Republicans are just waiting for him to fail or for some scandal to occur so that they can turn the people against him and prevent him from accomplishing anything. He should just use reconciliation and push everything through, the Republicans would do it if they had the chance and have already done so in the past.

    March 26, 2009 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  21. tess

    i am getting really tired of turning on the t.v. and seeing o'bama. he really doesn't get it that he is president – not candidate – or rock star or t.v. commentator. he needs to remember dignity comes (or should) with the office and leave the media to others.

    March 26, 2009 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  22. annie - Palin 2012

    To meka – what higher level – he has virtually bankrupt us in just a little over 60 days – sold our children to youth camps – sold his opposition to civil patrols and concentration camps. Some higher level. As for intelligence – give an A+ to the teleprompter.

    March 26, 2009 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  23. Steph

    What an insulting title! If he wasn't out talking to the American people, you would say he is hiding. Silly cable news-like babble....

    March 26, 2009 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  24. Ms. Johnson, Pearland,Texas

    Bill Schneider, You are so negative. Since Americans have choices, it stands to reason that if the people do not want to watch him or listen to him, they will turn off the TV, Internet, radio, etc. You should be happy he is "overexposed" it gives you something to complain about.

    March 26, 2009 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  25. Honest Abe

    Wow! The people love him and the media is trying to ridicule him! I'd say one of the biggest sources of racism in this country is the main stream media.

    March 26, 2009 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
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