On Economy, Obama is Salesman in Chief
By Ben Pershing
Twelve hours from now, President Obama will walk to the podium in the East Room of the White House for his second prime-time press conference, assuming the role he has been playing with increasing frequency -- salesman in chief.
Monday's economic narrative, good as it was for Team Obama, served as a stark reminder that the administration has yet to find an effective pitchman for the president's policy proposals other than the president himself. The White House rolled out its plan for buying up bad assets from banks, and the markets responded happily, with the Dow climbing nearly 500 points. On Wall Street, reviews of the proposal were largely positive, and it may just be that -- regardless of its real merits -- the plan will work because everyone thinks the plan will work. But, notably, there was no public face for the blueprint. Tim Geithner laid out the details in an off-camera briefing and an op-ed piece, after the administration leaked key tidbits on background over the weekend.
The Los Angeles Times frames it nicely this morning: "In assembling his economic team, the president gave first priority to technical skill and intellectual achievement. So far, none of his senior advisors has shown the extra ability to inspire as well -- both on Wall Street and Main Street." As a result, when there is on-camera selling to be done, it will be up to Obama to sell it. That may be a fine problem to have. Though it has dipped, Obama's overall approval rating is still around 60 percent, as is his approval rating for handling the economy.
But how often can the White House go to that well?
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