Obama under fire for golfing minutes after Foley statement

Optics problem turning into a real problem?


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," August 21, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

STUART VARNEY, GUEST HOST: Did you see the cover of The New York Daily News? It's teeing off on the president for teeing off minutes after his ISIS statement.

Crisis management guru Shep Hyken says, these are some of the worst optics he has seen.

You're a crisis manager. Was it a major blunder?

SHEP HYKEN, FOUNDER, SHEPARD PRESENTATIONS, LLC: It's more than a major blunder.

He's on the golf course. And the golf course on your first shot, you get a mulligan, which is basically a do-over. Well, the -- the United States president does not get a mulligan. And he hit this shot so far out of bounds.

He showed insensitivity. And, if anything, he showed a cavalier, almost an overly confident attitude that I think is actually causing a less-than- confident perception of what's going on right now.

VARNEY: OK. Now, that's perception. That's image. That's PR. That's optics.

Does this bad optics have an actual, real impact on future actions?

HYKEN: Well, I think it shows that -- I think the actions may not be as severe for the people that we're dealing with right now, but, in the future, I think you're going to take a look at other world leaders and take a look at how we have handled things. And, frankly, it's embarrassing.

VARNEY: Embarrassing? Really?

HYKEN: Well, embarrassing to the fact that, I mean, he -- again, this is a leader who is supposed to exude confidence. He's supposed to make confident decisions.

And yet what he's looking like is somebody that, hey, you know what? I'm playing golf. OK, interrupt me, and let's go deal with the war. Let's go deal with terrorism. And, OK, we are done now. I'm back to the golf course.

What kind of a message does that send, not only to the U.S. citizens, but to the world leaders, as we all try to band together to deal with all the problems?

VARNEY: When the executioner of James Foley was found to have a British accent, Britain's prime minister, David Cameron, he came home from vacation, went straight back to 10 Downing Street.

HYKEN: That...

VARNEY: Do you think that President Obama should have done the same thing?

HYKEN: I think that's exactly what he should have done.

He should have gone back to the White House, back to the Situation Room, or at a minimum stepped away and gone somewhere. And if -- it's all about vacation for him. He's entitled to take vacation, but the world doesn't stop when the president of the United States goes on vacation.

You can do business back at your vacation home. That's OK. But when you step out on the golf course, and you're seen high-fiving athletes and money managers, I think it really takes -- you know, it -- we use the word optics. It doesn't really look bad. It actually is bad.

VARNEY: Shep Hyken, crisis management consultant, thanks for joining us, Shep.

HYKEN: Thank you for having me, Stuart.

Content and Programming Copyright 2014 Fox News Network, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2014 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.