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

Does Obama have a message problem?


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. Karen Conroy

    Could it be that the country is so accustomed to messages from our political leaders being "dumbed down" so that voters and the average Joe the Plumber can understand that we have lost the concept that intelligence and above 8th grade level phrasing should be the norm and should be easily understood by the voters who make the decisions on who is in the White House and legislature. Why is it that this President's "messaging" is a problem? Could it be that we became so used to Bush's slaying of the language?

    August 17, 2010 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  2. sharon

    YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Afraid oi take a stand can't be President succesfully and be afraid to make a staement and stand by it. One thing I worried about when you announced you were running is that you did not have enough experience especially with venomus attacks and the evils of the far right nut jobs. But choosing between inexperience and Sarah Palin and McCain was an easy choice. But you were not ready for prime time and it shows. Would we have been better off iwth McCain – good grief no!! We would be deep into a depression and another war. But we would have been better off if you had stood up and led instead of wasting your time trying to find bipartisanship in the qugmire which exist in DC. Congress is owned and directed by special interest and now with the help of the supreme court it is just going to get worse. Mixed messages are going to ruin your career!!!!!!

    August 17, 2010 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  3. Seth

    Not a messaging problem, Obama has a Media problem, the Media is afraid of the Republican propaganda machine so when they get the GOP "Talking-Points" FAXES the just read it as is on the air.
    If you look at even this CNN Ticker you will notice that it's all GOP/FoxNews "Talking-Point" bing used as headlines. It's a pitiful state the Media has fallen into.
    What's even more sad is that CNN is unable to see that they begun to lose audiences/viewers during the George Bush period when they begun reading GOP talking-points on the air as if it were news.

    Don't believe me look at CNN topics and then go to Drudge or Heritage site – same difference, same wording.

    August 17, 2010 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  4. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    "Simpler is better, and rising above these issues and leading by controlling the dialogue is what the presidency is all about.

    I am going to agree with this. The President needs to keep the message simple; after all, recent opinions and events (birhters going to trial; Tea Party) have proven that his message is getting lost amongst the 'eduactionally-challenged".

    You have to KISS your message Mr. President. I can understand how the CONSTANT berating and your every action microscopically analyzed can make you falter and try to 'change up' your game. My unsolicited advise is DON'T. Keep doing what worked for you during the campaign. There are a great number of us that see what you're trying to accomplish and are ready to embrace it.

    Be who you are Mr. President: intelligent yet down-to-earth. You have NEVER fitted the "stereotype" of the scary Black man, that's why you reach across all color lines. Don't let them box you in sir. Be YOU.

    August 17, 2010 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  5. sandy

    I don't think he has a problem with message, I think the media has a problem with spinning what he says. This guy could recite Bible passages directly from the Bible, and the media and Republicans would spin it to their liking. I vote for who I think can best lead this country and I don't see anyone else to vote for, I don't want some of the nuts I see on TV running this country.

    August 17, 2010 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  6. America Shrugged

    Not at all...It's refreshing to see common sense at the podium. Of course we could always put a cowboy hat n boots on him, have him slouched over the podium bellering " Bring it on " ..

    August 17, 2010 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  7. Chrissy, TX

    Yes! He's like the boy who cried wolf too many times! All talk and no action! Enough. This idiot really must think that the American people are really stupid! Well idiot (Obama) we are not! We need a new leader to lead this country, can't wait for 2012! God Bless and America and New York City (ground zero).

    August 17, 2010 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  8. frank

    no message problem
    he has a values, principles, belief, character problem

    August 17, 2010 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  9. Ben

    Obama has all kinds of problems. The message is only one of them.

    August 17, 2010 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  10. Capt. Snarky

    Message problem? No. Policy problem? Yes. The people don't want his policies, yet in his arrogance he's gonna shove em down their throats irregardless.

    August 17, 2010 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  11. No new Ds

    Message problem. Policy problem. Brain problem.

    Yes, Obama has problems. The only thing that works on the man is his mouth.... which tends to lie, blame and exaggerate constantly.

    August 17, 2010 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  12. Gymo

    Yes he and Democrats have a messaging problem.
    Republicans have no ideas but good messaging.
    Democrats have lots of ideas but no messaging.

    The news media people are not doing their job of providing real news and facts, instead they are just reporting "Death Panel" propaganda as if it were facts, the media has failed the American people..

    August 17, 2010 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  13. Ron in california

    No message no problem.

    August 17, 2010 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  14. Marie MD

    No, he doesn't have a message problem. He speaks clearly and intelligently. The problem is that most of the US seems to have the education of third graders so it's hard for them understand someone who speaks well as opposed to the president we had before who was so cutesy and folksy and just couldn't speak at all.
    I guess we are not used to anyone smart since President Clinton speaking to us.

    August 17, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  15. bertina

    No CNN has a message problem. CNN loves to spout polls that are meaningless except to the pundits who CNN chooses to use it for a particular party's political gain.

    August 17, 2010 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  16. Son of CSM.Wiggins

    No the problem is some people don't like to listen to info that he giving because he is black l. They take every thing he says out of context. He didn't say they should build a mosque there but only that he support there right to do so. But when you are black with a high intellect you are deemed arrogant. There is a misconception that he is cocky because he is confident. Some people though not racist have a problem with a black man being the most powerful man on earth. That's his problem what he is Not who he is.

    August 17, 2010 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  17. w l jones

    I thought the president spoke the ( ENGLISH) language very well!

    August 17, 2010 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  18. suzanne

    I get it. I do. A mixed message is sometimes closer to the truth than an easy answer. Re Ground zero mosque. What is insensitive or "in your face" is not the same as what is a religious right.

    America has to stay true to its deepest values even in the face of a cuuning ruthless enemy. And that is religious freedom and separation of church and state.

    Obama is intelligent enough to separate his personal feelings of distaste of a plan from what is enduring truth. Folks don't get it. Ands the GOP uses that to their political advantage.

    August 17, 2010 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  19. doug

    When you are hateful and look to destroy and hurt rather than fix and help, ah yeah you can have a message problem. Obama has at times let out who he really is and that makes the White House scramble in damage control mode.

    When Wright, Ayers, Salinsky, and Daily are the people who have shaped who you are, well, there just is no good left in the soul.

    August 17, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  20. brian in denver

    Obama simply stated that the Muslim community has the same rights as any other religious group in America. The proposed site of the new mosque is a few blocks from actual "ground zero" – is all of Lower Manhattan now off limits to Muslims? & to have any success against Al Queda & other terrorists, we must have the support of the Muslims.

    Ignorance, hate & bigotry will never die but we must speak out against it when given the opportunity.

    August 17, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
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