Fri, 01 May 2009 16:27:46 +0000 – Let there be no secret: I am in the 60+% who thinks President Obama is doing a good job for our country. When Bill Clinton left office, members of the White House Press Corps were sad. No, we were not sad because we are the "liberal press establishment;" we were sad because watching him as a politician was an amazing experience. He was very, very good at his craft. It is why I like to listen to Rush Limbaugh; I don't agree with Rush's politics but he is great at his craft. We said no one would be able to beat Bill Clinton in our lifetime. President Obama is smoother and knows his audience even better than Bill Clinton.
However, President Obama's message machine needs help. First, they need to get it right the first time. They need to make sure that they have message discipline, and the person delivering the message is the best possible person to be on camera.
Vice President Biden is smart and capable but he tends to say what he thinks. He dropped the F-bomb when talking to a former colleague, and on Thursday his press secretary had to issue a clarification so the airline industry would not take a nosedive because of his remarks about flying during the flu scare.
Then there is the messenger. People want to have someone on television that they want in their living rooms. They voted for President Obama because they were willing to share their sacred family space with him for the next four years. -- Although she is brilliant and competent, Janet Napolitano is not camera ready. She does not exude confidence. The little old ladies in Des Moines should feel safe. President Obama should have made flu updates flanked by the acting Center for Disease Control Director or the National Institutes of Health Director. No gifts needed here, just pure confidence.
The Obama administration has a good bench of support but they need seasoned, camera-ready spokespersons to get on the Sunday talk shows and respond to each and every crisis. The folks who run the White House message operation are going to have to vet who goes on television to speak for them as much care as they will be vetting who President Obama picks to go on the Supreme Court. The administration has a great team, but they need to use talking heads that people trust and want to see in their living rooms.