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. Jeff

    From my armchair what I am witnessing from President Obama is a refreshing change from former President Bush. I welcome his efforts to be visible, make government more transparent, and keeping us informed and in the loop. A big part of the distrust for the Bush administration was its invisible "cloak and dagger" approach to communicating their policies, as well as the no debate's what we are going to do memos. The result of this...perceived or real was a dictator like tyranny and not a democracy.

    March 26, 2009 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  2. Larry

    Unfortunately he is nothing more than a Rock Star.

    March 26, 2009 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  3. Frank In Ohio

    Keep being open and seen President Obama. The public wants discourse out in the open , not like the gulag system that the crooks from Texas established for 8 years.

    March 26, 2009 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  4. Doyle Wiley, MI

    I rather like a President that doesn't hide when times are rough.

    March 26, 2009 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  5. Jason

    when he brushed off the idea of legalizing marijuana, yes – i've seen too much of him.

    March 26, 2009 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  6. Pat CA

    While "nicey-nicey" comes out of Obama's mouth publicly - his attack dogs are busy behind the scenes with vicious ads against Republicans.

    Yes, that's our boy Obama - nothing's changed since his days in Chicago, immersed in dirty politics - you know, like brutally eliminating the "competition" on "technicalities" to get himself elected to the IL Senate.

    March 26, 2009 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  7. chris

    the msm does not get it.......

    – the people elected him, not the msm
    – the people want to see him, who cares what the msm says. You are there to provide us with that opportunity and ask the questions.
    – the people need to see him, he will continue for the next 4 years to ensure that happens and with our 24x7x365 culture that will be easy and the people will love him for it.
    – the people's country needs rebuilding (stated earlier), his agenda will ensure that happens from education, healthcare, energy to infrastructure; however most importantly financially. NEVER again and hopefully FOREVER will what has happened with our economy happen again due lack of oversight.
    – the people love capitalism and he will ensure this country restores such; only this time so many not a few prosper

    and that will be just the first 4 years................

    March 26, 2009 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  8. Had It

    Oh goody – now Schneider gets as snarky as Ed Henry.

    Click – that's me tuning out CNN people.

    March 26, 2009 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  9. Lee in TN

    Why would I believe anything the load of republican commentators you have say? CNN needs to get back to unbiased news reporting,and just for the record, Campbell Brown is anything but unbiased.

    March 26, 2009 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  10. Jan in MI

    ck: This Pres is a joke:

    Excuse me, it must be the previous Pres you are referring to.

    March 26, 2009 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  11. Simmy

    First he's too serious; then he's laughing too much. Now you ask, is he overexposed?......Is he losing his luster? And then you have the gall to say that he is needs to stop campaigning, when in fact, it was Republicans who came out with their campaign"NO" agenda, resulting in the President turning again to the people who elected him, for support. He couldn't depend on Congress. Therefore, he is not campaigning. He's dancing with the ones that brung him.

    Shout out to Donna Brazille, in her response to the unveiling of the Republican's 'Budget Ideas.' I agree that it was DOA!!!!!

    March 26, 2009 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  12. ib

    Obama is not taking this country into a higher level unless you like big brother telling us ever move to make. He needs to move from far left to center.

    March 26, 2009 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  13. got to get the momentum going

    not overexposed, just getting started

    March 26, 2009 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  14. The black Spider

    Obama is out in public because he can speak english and is highly educated.
    What about bush? hummmm i have nothing to say. I have plenty of Video

    March 26, 2009 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  15. Ernie in LA

    He is over-exposed to try to push his agenda down everyone's throat.

    March 26, 2009 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  16. Dennis Paul Hastings

    Where is Rodney King when we need him?

    If Obama can inspire public confidence in our system it can really help to improve things. And talking to people, instead of down to them, is where he really makes a difference. Positive change will come slow, and if everyone can be a little more patient as we pull ourselves free from the mindset of the last 8 years and the party that ruled us with haughty indignation about any and every progressive idea, we are going to win.

    Hear me, people? We are going to win!

    March 26, 2009 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  17. dittohead

    This guy has a the biggest ego I have ever seen. Empty suit.

    March 27, 2009 04:45 am at 4:45 am |
  18. 60's survivor

    I like the idea of the President reaching out and feeling the pulse of Americans who voted for him -or not- and responding. we are engaged. thank you!!

    March 27, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
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