On Pirates, Puppies and the Presidency
By Ben Pershing
In the last 48 hours, the crucial story of President Obama's new puppy finally broke wide. The first family's choice of which church to attend, for Easter services and beyond, received breathless attention. Today, the Obamas and 30,000 of their closest friends (including Fergie and Ziggy Marley!) will attend the annual White House Easter Egg Roll.
But in between all those pressing matters, the president authorized a military operation to rescue the American captain being held hostage by Somali pirates. He called for a global effort to fight challenges like the financial crisis and nuclear proliferation. And after this morning's egg roll, Obama will spend the afternoon getting his daily briefing on the state of the economy and meeting with the Defense secretary.
Every president plays these two roles -- celebrity and commander-in-chief -- and finding the right balance between the two will be key to Obama's long-term success. lf Obama's administration so far were a magazine, it would be half People, half The Economist, and it would sell really well (because Obama would always be on the cover). Obama has already exhibited a deft touch with the symbolic part of his job, and his advisers are keen to ensure he appears just as comfortable ordering a military strike as he does picking a puppy or filling out his NCAA bracket. That's why the White House released a detailed tick-tock of the hours and days leading up to yesterday's successful rescue operation, showing Obama to be heavily engaged in managing the crisis.
Posted at 8:24 AM ET on Apr 13, 2009
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