President Obama's Wanderlust?
By Ben Pershing
If he's smart, President Obama is sleeping in this morning, having touched down at 2:30 a.m. ET following a long international trip, a whirlwind visit to Iraq and a 12-hour flight home. Obama's stop in Iraq made his stay in Turkey seem like ages ago. And his frenetic schedule opens up a new line of potential criticism -- he's traveling too much.
Obama just spent a week in Europe, and soon will be headed to Mexico and then Trinidad and Tobago, the argument goes, while the recession continues at home and Americans wonder why he isn't here fixing the economy. "There's a delicacy about the optics," a former Obama campaign adviser tells the Tribune papers. First, when and why did everyone in politics start saying "optics"? Second, is there any evidence that voters really think that way? A CNN poll released Monday showed strong approval for what Obama had accomplished abroad, and that was before yesterday's footage of troops cheering their commander in chief. So there's no sign that Obama's globetrotting has caused or will cause trouble for him. Not yet, anyway.
Speaking of trouble, the Justice Department lawyers who prosecuted Ted Stevens must be lining up their own lawyers right about now. Everyone knew that Emmet Sullivan was going to dismiss Stevens's conviction yesterday, but few guessed that the judge would announce a contempt of court investigation against the prosecutors, or that he would use such strong language in doing so: "In 25 years on the bench, I've never seen anything approaching the mishandling and misconduct that I've seen in this case." Stop with the legal mumbo-jumbo, your honor, and tell us what you really think.
Posted at 7:57 AM ET on Apr 8, 2009
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