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Get out, Mr. President!

If tradition holds, during his State of the Union address, President Obama will point to people seated with the first lady who put a human face on the policies he's trying to rally the public around. But I want him to go one better in the weeks and months after tomorrow night's speech. In addition to reading the 10 letters from real people he has requested be given to him daily, I want him to get out of Washington to go see some of them.

The House chamber shout-out is a great bit of drama started by President Reagan in his first State of the Union address in 1982. He singled out Lenny Skutnik for his heroism after Air Florida flight 90 crashed into the Potomac 13 days earlier. That was a feel-good moment at a time of great economic distress. Well, you can't get much more economically stressed out than we are today.

And this has Obama fighting to regain the confidence of the American people and searching for ways to "make a visceral connection with voters suffering in the aftermath of the worst economic downturn since the Depression." His salvation was supposed to be among those 10 letters. They are supposed "to help get him outside of the bubble," as press secretary Robert Gibbs said last year.

The president is at his feistiest -- and at his best -- when he escapes the confines of the White House. Rather than mail a handwritten response to some of the letter writers (as he is wont to do), Obama should gas up the jet and hand deliver it personally. It not only would keep him energized, but it could go a long way to cementing a relationship with the American people that has slipped his grasp since the campaign.

By Jonathan Capehart  | January 26, 2010; 11:48 AM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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Respectfully Mr. Capehart, this is a terrible idea.

First, Fox news will report the trip, including how much it costs to gas up Air Force One, and how much it costs to pay for the crew and the security. Then Republicans on Capitol Hill will decry the waste of taxpayer dollars, and demand a stop to all legislative business until we can get to the bottom of this bondoggle. Next, Obama will apologize to his dear Republican friends, in the spirit of bipartisanship of course.

Posted by: ram_lopez | January 26, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Capehart,

Now that the election results are in, when will the GOP begin to assist the DEMS in governing this country vice concerning themselves with job security. Anyone can say no all the time, but they and their counterparts are being paid to govern and make the hard decisions that we elected them for. Please remember, DEMS are not the only ones up for re-election in November 2010. The GOP leadership had better take note that Independents have no party loyalty. No solutions equals no vote in my book.

Posted by: classicskins | January 26, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Obama can do a lot more for ordinary Americans than gassing up the jet to hand-deliver letters. We have far too many gimmicks and nowhere near enough substance and leadership.

Posted by: Itzajob | January 26, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse


The president is at his feistiest -- and at his best -- when he escapes the confines of the White House.
No offense, but neither letter-reading nor "feisty" is what we need right now. We need him to go hands on into the Congress and do something about health care, just for starters.

I could go on, but you see the point.

Posted by: Farnaz1Mansouri1 | January 26, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Get out? He's never there! He's either giving a speech somewhere or on vacation.

Posted by: RoseKelly | January 26, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

fr RoseKelly:

>Get out? He's never there! He's either giving a speech somewhere or on vacation.<

Wrong. PRESIDENT Obama has taken precisely ONE vacation since he was inaugurated. You're thinking of DUMBYA.

Posted by: Alex511 | January 26, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

I was amazed at how much President obama has ACTUALLY accomplished in his first year. I knew that the allegedly liberal media was mid=ssing most of what is actually happening, but you would swaer that President Obama was as lazy as a conservative during the first year of his presidency. According to a statistical analysis the story is a bit diferent than that...

Posted by: John1263 | January 26, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Great advice. Hey Obama, take it. Get out and stay out...and take your Cabinet and the Democratic Congress with you.

Posted by: JoeDon | January 26, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

How about a well-deserved "shout down" at the Supreme Court for its tone-deaf ruling on corporations = persons. Maybe we need moral thundering from the pulpit a whole lot more than another soft 'n squishy feel-good story tailored for Good Morning America.

Posted by: corbinb | January 26, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

This article is stupid and pointless.

Posted by: MUPPET | January 26, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Amazing - Here we go again. Obama bless u. Obama make the light shine upon you. Go in peace and serve Obama. I venture to say that if Obama wasn't president, that's right if he was to resign now, that within 6 months we would have unemployment lowered to 4%. As it stands, if you are middle class American you don't want his help, look how he has helped out the unemployment rate; it's doubled in a year, gas is up over a $1 a gallon since he took office, the country is worst shape now that a year ago. Are you in better off today than a year ago, NO. In fact, under Obama the economy is so bad that people are taking pay cuts just to have a job, happening all over, WHY because of Obama. He has one thought one action destroy America.
For OBAMA - do America a favor, RESIGN. DO IT NOW. RESIGN OBAMA NOW.
If Obama was so smart, he could talk without a teleprompter. If he were as smart as they let on, then he would impress with original thoughts and original people. As it is, he is not smart and very very stupid. As an employee I would have to fire him; he actually should return a portion of his salary because he has not corrected what he said he would. If he were a contractor, you would find him in violation of contract. Resign OBAMA do yourself a favor and we the America people, just RESIGN. DO IT NOW.

Posted by: jfbyers | January 26, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

maybe we can just bring in one of the bodies of the 40,000 uninsured americans
who die every year from lack of healtcare
coverage. and a yeti, and an alien, and a
young child of an american who is fearful
of the future, of terrorists, who are protected by Thomas Jefferson's Constitution, who are afforded the basic rights many in america are still struggling to realize.
how about we bring in an america
to give the speech?

Posted by: simonsays1 | January 26, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

While Obama is out, I trust he will visit areas of his home town, a city controlled by liberal Democrats since forever, whose schools, under the control of teacher unions, do not teach and where, despite the absolutist rule of Democrats, life is as bad as it ever was. Now liberals want to do for the US what they did to Chicago. No thanks.

Posted by: mhr614 | January 26, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Gas up the jet? Send the receipt straight to Mr. Capehart! Apparently he thinks tax money grows on trees.

Posted by: forgetthis | January 26, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

The problem both parties have is they are working night and day to reignite a failed economy. The old economy isn't coming back. An economy fueled with 70% consumer spending is over until we create 10M new jobs.

What we actually need is to realize globalism didn't work. We lost 1.5M private sector jobs in the last decade and wages are down.

To create 10M new jobs we need to declare jobs and energy as national security issues. Carbon and green as hard as we can go to provide our own energy. That's a $500B per year cash flow going the wrong way. Build 100 nuclear power plants. Clean Coal, natural gas, wind, solar, bio, fusion. Pay for it with a 50 cent gas tax that will create conservation.

Second, products that have a final labor content of 15% or less can be made in the US cheaper than China. Bring in Walmart/Home Depot/Target etc. and make them understand that having less expensive products with no one to buy them won't work. That's $250B going the wrong way.

Third, with energy independence we can leave the middle east to our economic trading partners. We are 47% of the world's military expenditures. Let them spend their GDP to defend themselves from whatever threat they perceive or not. We can't afford to be the world's super power.

Bring our trade into balance and our economy improves. Ignore it and we perish.

Posted by: dpack1 | January 26, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Im with "JoeDon"

Get out and stay our and take all the Progressives in Congress and the White House with you! Oh, and don't forget Benanke - he should go to.

Posted by: aaniko | January 26, 2010 6:04 PM | Report abuse

fr aaniko:

>Im with "JoeDon"

Get out and stay our and take all the Progressives in Congress and the White House with you! Oh, and don't forget Benanke - he should go to.<

So you'd rather have DUMBYA back, or worse yet, the ice queen as VP? Not me. PRESIDENT Obama has done a credible job in cleaning up the disaster that DUMBYA and his cronies left after eight LONG years.

Posted by: Alex511 | January 26, 2010 8:21 PM | Report abuse

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