They say you only get one chance to make a first impression.
Actually, that is not true.
Presidents get lots of chances.
Many have changed the public's impression of them in a single speech.
Bill Clinton went from big-spending liberal to a tamed and "end-welfare-as-we-know-it" new Democrat in one memorable post-mid-term address.
And Ronald Reagan journeyed from "old-man" to "man-oh-man," taking Washington by storm, only weeks after taking a bullet.
So first impressions can change.
But that means the guy leaving that impression has to change.
And that's the question for one Barack Obama tonight.
Will he change?
And will voters' impression of him change?
So far, the indications are not good.
More spending for jobs programs that haven't exactly created a lot of jobs.
And talk of a follow-up speech to address how we're going to pay for that spending that hasn't inspired a lot of confidence.
Now maybe that's by design.
...that he is actually tricking us. All of us.
And planning something surprising.
Something that will defy his liberal impression we have of him.
Maybe something big.
Maybe some big tax cuts.
What I know is that history is defined not by leaders who do the expected...but the un-expected...
Richard Nixon going to China.
Nikita Khrushchev suddenly blinking with JFK.
Ronald Reagan talking to the evil empire
They changed the game, first by changing the speech.
Now it does not work for all.
But for this president it doesn't hurt to try.
After all, he could do worse.
Look around...the impression is pretty clear.
He already has.