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White House Cheat Sheet: Grading Obama's Media Blitz



President Obama has spent the last six days selling his economic plans to the country. (AP Photo by Gerald Herbert)

President Obama's prime-time press conference last night concluded a whirlwind, multimedia blitz designed to quiet criticism over executive bonuses at AIG and sell his budget proposal to a skeptical Congress.

Starting with an ESPN appearance in which he filled out his NCAA men's basketball tournament bracket last Wednesday and continuing through two town halls, one-on-one interviews on the "Tonight Show" and "60 Minutes" and into last night's prime-time back-and-forth with reporters, Obama and his senior advisers have utilized virtually every medium available to a sitting president to reach the widest possible spectrum of voters, er, Americans.

"Think of Obama as the first President in high definition," said Joel Johnson, a Democratic consultant with the Glover Park Group. "He's the state of the art, and the public wants to see him in all these formats."

The strategy is reminiscent of the "play on all fields" approach adopted by Obama during the 2008 general election campaign as he used his massive fundraising edge over Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) to stretch the playing field and reach voters that Democrats hadn't talked to in years.

Obama's advantage now is not financial, but the bully pulpit he commands as the leader of the free world. No other politician can come anywhere near approximating the free media run that Obama has put together over the past six days.

Republicans believe that Obama runs the risk of overexposure, and have criticized his decision to appear on ESPN and the "Tonight Show" at a time of grave economic uncertainty.

One senior Democratic strategist, granted anonymity to speak candidly, expressed similar concerns about Obama's media blitz. "Polls show his personal ratings have held up so far, but at the same time more people are wondering if he is spending too much time on [public relations] and not enough time on the financial crisis."

The next month should be telling when it comes to grading the effectiveness of Obama's media tour. Is Obama's ever-presence on television seen a source of comfort for Americans who want to know their president is on the job during these tough times? Or is it regarded as a distraction from the nitty-gritty behind the scenes work that people feel needs to be done to bring us out of this economic crisis?

What to Watch For:

Wednesday's Whirlwind-Reads: NOTE: We will be moving our must-reads into the "Fix Picks" section at the top left of the blog over the next few days. So check them out there!

1. Obama meets the press. Part Deux.
2. Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter (R) deals a major blow to Democrats' hopes of passing the Employee Free Choice Act.
3. Whorunsgov's Greg Sargent reports on Republicans' strategy to attack President Obama for biting off too much on the policy front. And, the Democratic response.
4. Pay-Rod becomes a radio host -- at least for a day.
5. Is New Jersey a blue or a purple state?

DNC Rakes in Cash: President Obama will headline his first party fundraiser since being elected to the White House tonight to benefit the Democratic National Committee. There will be a pre-party, large-dollar event at the Women's Museum (tickets are sold out) and then a bigger fundraiser at the Warner Theater (only a few of the 2,000 seats remain). The high dollar limit for the event was $30,400 but Obama, hoping to keep low-dollar donors in the loop insisted that one-third of all the tickets be sold for donations of between $100 and $250, according to a party source. It still should be a very big night for the DNC -- which needs it after an only so-so Febuary fundraising showing.

Obama Up, Geithner Down Sez Gallup: Wondering how much of a hit President Obama has taken over the AIG bonuses furor? Not much of one, according to a new national poll conducted by USA Today and Gallup. Fifty four percent said they were satisfied with the way Obama had handled the matter while 39 percent said they were not satisfied. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner fared less well -- 28 percent said they were satisfied with his performance while 54 percent called themselves dissatisfied. There was some solace in the numbers for Geithner, however. Just 26 percent of the sample said they were satisfied with how Congress had handled itself in the AIG bonuses matter. Congress: forever bringing up the rear.

Click It!: Congressional Quarterly has made the Fix's day -- no, week -- with their new map that documents how President Obama and Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) performed in each of the 435 congressional districts last fall. Obama won 242 districts including 34 that elected (or re-elected) a Republican Member of Congress on the same day. Bookmark this map.

Can Bloomberg Be Beaten? (Revised): Two months ago, we wrote a post wondering whether New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg could be beaten in his bid for a third term next year. Our answer? Probably not. But, a new Quinnipiac University poll shows some reason to doubt Bloomberg's impenetrable electoral appeal. Bloomberg still holds double digit leads over New York City Comptroller Bill Thompson (49 percent to 35 percent) and Rep. Anthony Weiner (46 percent to 36 percent) but voters' image of the mayor is not ideal. Bloomberg still enjoys a very healthy two-to-one favorable/unfavorable score but a majority (55 percent) describe him as "cold and businesslike" while 30 percent see him as "warm and friendly." That suggests that voters might be open to a populist "he's not one of us" message that uses Bloomberg's massive wealth and business successes against him. Howard Wolfson, communications director for Bloomberg's reelection bid said the poll numbers "reflect New Yorker's confidence in the Mayor's strong independent leadership."

The Gore-acle's Next Book: Al Gore will publish "Our Choice" -- a follow-up to his wildly successful "An Inconvenient Truth" -- on Nov. 3, 2009, his office announced Tuesday. "Our Choice" is the result of the more than two dozen "Solutions Summits" Gore has held over the past few years aimed at finding ways to solve the problem of global warming. The book will describe "how the bold choices necessary to save the earth's climate should be the foundations of policies worldwide to create new jobs and stimulate sustainable economic progress," according to the release. The proceeds from the book will go to the Alliance for Climate Protection, a non-profit organization for which Gore serves as the chairman of the board. As Mike Allen reported yesterday, the Alliance is planning to significantly ramp up its persuasion efforts over the coming months -- bringing on Steve Bouchard, who ran South Carolina for Hillary Clinton's presidential primary campaign and prior to that served as a senior political adviser for Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh, to oversee the operations.

Say What?: "So you know where he stands." -- Kentucky Sen. Jim Bunning (R), a frequent "Say What?" honoree, accuses Bluegrass State colleague Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) of taking away his campaign cash. Or something.

By Chris Cillizza  |  March 25, 2009; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Cheat Sheet Share This:  E-Mail | Technorati | Del.icio.us | Digg | Stumble Previous: Obama Prime-Time Presser: First Thoughts
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Comments

OUR PRESIDENT IS SERIOUSLY WORKING. THAT IS MORE THAN I CAN SAY FOR THE MEDIA AND CONGRESS.
THE COMPLAINTS SO FAR SOUND LIKE JELOUSY. NOT A SINGLE POSITIVE STATEMENT FROM ANY.

I NOT ONLY LIKE TO HEAR HIM TALK, HE EXPLAINS THINGS SO THAT I CAN UNDERSTAND THEM. IF I CAN UNDERSTAND THEM, I THINK OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS SHOULD BE ABLE TO UNDERSTAND. SINCE ALL THEY GIVE IS CRITIZISM, I CONSIDER THEM TO HAVE A DIFFERENT AGENDA. OBSTRUCT AND DIVIDE.

ANOTHER FACT IS THAT NO MATTER HOW MUCH THE PRESIDENT DOES, HE SEEMS CALM AND REASSURING. HE LOOKS HEALTHY. I LIKE LOOKING AT HIM MORE THAN THOSE OVERWEIGHT GUYS WITH THE COMB OVER HAIR.

IT IS SO GOOD TO HAVE A HEALTHY AND SMART PRESIDENT WITH STYLE AND CLASS.

NOW IF THE MEDIA WOULD JUST REPORT THE NEWS AND STOP ALL OF THESE UNINFORMED JACK ASS COMMENTATORS, THEN MAYBE THE PRESIDENT WOULDN'T HAVE TO BE SO VISABLE SELLING HIS OWN MESSAGE.

Posted by: sm98yth | March 26, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Terry McAuliffe, Surry, & "Clean Coal"

Terry McAuliffe supporting the new coal plant in Surry, and professing his belief in clean coal, unicorns, dragons...

http://www.youtube.com/my_videos

Posted by: SPMET | March 26, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Chris,

Obama IS working. That's the thing. He's fulfilling a requirement to explain himself and his programs to the American People. Taking questions, and providing answers.

It's not like he's going to opera, going on American Idol, or going on Deal or No Deal, like Bush did.

Yeah, Bush was "behind the scenes", but he was never available, never took questions, and never provided any meaningful answers.

"Is Obama's ever-presence on television seen a source of comfort for Americans who want to know their president is on the job during these tough times? Or is it regarded as a distraction from the nitty-gritty behind the scenes work that people feel needs to be done to bring us out of this economic crisis?"

Posted by: trhunnicutt | March 25, 2009 9:13 PM | Report abuse

dognabbit: i agree.
when i think of "being a suit".....ya know, the slang...

it's bloomberg. very professional but a bit stiff.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | March 25, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

leapin------(((big smiles)
he was on Larry King Live and I missed it AGAIN.
I missed Face the Nation a couple weeks ago because I was watching Steffyland (he's my usual after meet the press).
but i saw an excerpt.
he looks normal to me.....maybe lost a bit of weight.....
i will still take him to lunch anytime pilgrim. Ask his wife Amy if I can "borrow" him for awhile!!!!!

well....a quote from the PC (on the homeless factor)
OBAMA: Now, in the meantime, we've got to work very closely with the states to monitor and to help people who are still falling through the cracks. And, you know, the homeless problem was bad even when the economy was good.
---oh god, good luck Mr. President working with the states.
You know, in Arizona, No Child Left Behind (education) had wonderful programs and money in it for the homeless children to still--at least--get an education.
And Arizona, AT THE STATE LEVEL, never never enforced it because you know why..

because having homeless children in a school made the school look bad and they worried about the "image".

THAT IS arizona for ya folks!!

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | March 25, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

As for Bloomberg, I think he's a very effective mayor and, though I find him to be "businesslike," I don't find him to be "cold." He's a unique fellow.

My beef is that Mayor Businessman has done next-to-nothing to preserve our NYC landmarks. One by one, from CBGB's to 100-year-old stores, our landmarks are being replaced by steel and glass condos. Boring!

Posted by: dognabbit | March 25, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Going on ESPN and The Tonight Show and other popular media is a good thing. Obama is going to where the eyeballs are. Not once have I thought that Obama has slowed down his work on our financial troubles. He's doing things differently, which is not necessarily a bad thing.

Posted by: dognabbit | March 25, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

TheBabeNemo -

“And did anyone happen to see the Rahmster?
(((oh yeah baby))))”

I’ve noticed some deterioration after all that exposure to the microwaves. Have you?

Posted by: leapin | March 25, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

I serve at the pleasure of the President.

O-Nation, 300 million and growing broke...

Posted by: leapin | March 25, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Chris, I don't think the President is over exposed. What do people think he should do in the evening? Can't he visit Jay Leno while he was on the west coast holding two town hall meetings? Does he need to lock himself in a room and beat everyone up until there's a solution? Of course not!! A good executive has to be able to set the agenda and let his troops carry out his orders. He doesn't need to micro-manage their work. He needs to be visible to the American people so they know he exists. Nobody knew that George Bush existed because he was never around. As to the basketball bracket, loosen up folks!! Do the American people go home at night after a hard day at the office or shop and relax? Of course they do. Those that complain are dumb Republicans who are jealous. They can't stand the fact that the President commands such a following. He's been more visible in his first 65 days than Bush was during his 8 years. I think this President is doing a great job.

Posted by: mjyunker | March 25, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

"I'll be back later. I've got to go out and "invest" in some crack, hookers porn and cigs. In a few years, the returns will be rolling in. I'm not going to lie to you, I know about this better than anyone."

I don't think a single person on this thread would disagree with you after reading your posts the last few years, KoZ...

Posted by: kreuz_missile | March 25, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Chris: "Is Obama's ever-presence on television seen a source of comfort for Americans who want to know their president is on the job during these tough times? Or is it regarded as a distraction from the nitty-gritty behind the scenes work that people feel needs to be done to bring us out of this economic crisis?"

It's not a distraction, but rather necessary to get his policies enacted. P.R. is not an optional part of politics. If you let the other side define the issues, you lose. Of course the GOP criticizes Obama's media blitz. They're jealous they can't do the same.

After 8 years in which Bush avoided press conferences like the plague because he was such a godawful communicator, it's refreshing to see a leader who will put himself and his policies out on the line. And I say that as some one who disagrees with a number of those policies.

Posted by: zvelf | March 25, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Finally a President who actual works hard everyday and maintains contact with the voters.

I don't remember any other President who has maintained such contact with the voting and non-voting public as much as he has. Americans are so fickle and always need somethng to complain about. They complain when the President doesn't communicate and they complain when he over communicates.

He is doing the job that he was hired to do, work on the issues and keep the American public informed. If he looked tired, he probably is because he's done so much since taking office, more than any other President in the past 32 years. Fortunately he's a young and vigorous President.

Posted by: Nevadaandy | March 25, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Finally a President who actual works hard everyday and maintains contact with the voters.

I don't remember any other President who has maintained such contact with the voting and non-voting public as much as he has. Americans are so fickle and always need somethng to complain about. They complain when the President doesn't communicate and they complain when he over communicates.

He is doing the job that he was hired to do, work on the issues and keep the American public informed. If he looked tired, he probably is because he's done so much since taking office, more than any other President in the past 32 years. Fortunately he's a young and vigorous President.

Posted by: Nevadaandy | March 25, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse


hey thanks mark...

i am reading it sporadically.

one in 50 children homeless.

potential train wreck----what happens when the unemployment (if you were lucky enough to get it) runs out.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | March 25, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

TBN - you may still watch the PC at:

http://www.c-span.org/Watch/watch.aspx?MediaId=HP-R-16651

Posted by: mark_in_austin | March 25, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

the babe is lovin' this speech.

hey king, may i ask you about race?

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | March 25, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

what's with the teleprompter thing?

read my lips..
Mr. President writes a speech.
Mr. President wants to take the speech and speak TO THE PUBLIC with it.
He practices and memorizes. (gee, i think every president does this)
Instead of pages on the podium to look DOWN upon...
he looks you straight in the eye, via the camera line of sight (which is right above the teleprompter mind you)
and states his speech.

wow, that is so terrible.

now there will a quiz at noon.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | March 25, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

you just sound silly, zouk

Posted by: newageblues | March 25, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

What, no appearances from president Paris today. I predict the market will rise. And tmz will be cancelled.

Maybe he is busy working on the white house dog choice. I am so glad he is busy making hard decisions. Like whether peloony or spineless is running things today. Can't vote present from the Leno set.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | March 25, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Looks like we can conclusively state that the effectiveness of any particular Barack speech is directly related to the functioning of the TelePrompTer.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | March 25, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

I'll be back later. I've got to go out and "invest" in some crack, hookers porn and cigs. In a few years, the returns will be rolling in. I'm not going to lie to you, I know about this better than anyone.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | March 25, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

thanks broadway...
i guess his speech was a success, no?

don't hear the usual suspects......

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | March 25, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Where's leapin? I was waiting for one of his posts explaining how daily stock market performance is directly related to the president's performance. He's been very quiet this week. Strange.

Posted by: nodebris | March 25, 2009 11:06 AM | Report abuse

I serve at the pleasure of the President.

O-Nation, 300 million and growing...

Posted by: broadwayjoe | March 25, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: broadwayjoe | March 25, 2009 10:58 AM | Report abuse

I do not see last nights PC on whitehouse.gov

where's the transcript?

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | March 25, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

THE PREMIER INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER OF OUR TIME DROPS A BOMBSHELL AND THE WH PRESS CORPS SLEEPS


Why does the WH press corps ask the same question sixteen different ways and expect a different answer?

When will someone break new ground and ask POTUS about civil liberties and human rights issues...

...starting with Seymour Hersh's claim that U.S. military/intel operatives continue to run black ops against American citizens here at home...

...and that Cheney ran an "executive assassination ring" out of the VP's office?

What does the Obama administration know about this? Are such "ops" continuing?

How about Wednesday at the Gibbs briefing? Will one of you people prove that you know how to advance a story?

How about you, Chris? Show them how it's done, please.

***


THE 'EXTRAJUDICIAL PUNISHMENT NETWORK' IS STILL HARMING AMERICANS AND VIOLATING THEIR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS.

PRESIDENT OBAMA, THIS IS NOT LOOKING BACK.

http://www.nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-terrorizes-america

http://www.nowpublic.com/world/domestic-torture-radiation-weaponry-americas-horrific-shame

OR (if links are corrupted):

http://My.NowPublic.com/scrivener

Posted by: scrivener50 | March 25, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Pres. Obama has learned from the mistakes he made when the stimulus package was proposed -- at that time, he did not do media blitz to sell the package and show the American people why the stimulus was crucial to creating jobs. As a consequence, he let the Republicans get out front on the issue and argue that there was too much pork in the bill; he played catch up all the way until the final vote was cast in the Senate.

This time, it is Obama leading the charge on his budget proposal and pointing out that the Republicans do not have their own proposal. The Republicans' only argument, Overexposure, is laughable. What the American people see is their President working extremely hard to govern on the issues that the American people elected him to address.


Posted by: jrosco3 | March 25, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse


love the blitz but admit i did not watch the PC. Did not ask about Iraq or Afghanistan I heard.

I feel that with all the "appearances" on the plate, a real human is in the presidential office. At least I don't hear the "way off base" idealistic talk of republicans.
Biting off more than he can chew? nah, it's covering all the bases that were left uncovered for years. jealous?

mad at specter - you are a public servant for the common man---who needs to work under just and fair conditions. but i guess the EFCA doesn't have "anything in it for you".

I am so very happy with the nickname of the Goracle for Al Jr. It's perfect.

And did anyone happen to see the Rahmster?
(((oh yeah baby))))

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | March 25, 2009 9:49 AM | Report abuse

One thing the map you link to makes clear is how badly gerrymandered the congressional districs (or are the gerrymandered very well...who knows)

This type of redistricting simply supports corruption and polarization, as the congressmen only have to appeal to the primary voters and special interests, not the general public.

Posted by: ChicagoIndependant | March 25, 2009 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Last night was a steady defense of Obama's political capital that was markedly better than his first primetime presser. The American people will embrace patience after this.

http://www.political-buzz.com/

Posted by: parkerfl1 | March 25, 2009 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Grade: A Plus, with a star.

From Tom Shales today in the Washington Post:
"So it was that even though Obama did look tired, and had to wrestle with a seemingly faulty prompting device, and wasn't quite as energetic as in many of his other TV appearances, he still came out victorious -- not just President Wonderful but President Feel-Good as well."

BHO took on all comers: Leno, a snarling Kroft, Chucky T, Ann Compton, Ebony Magazine, Stars and Stripes, a broken teleprompter, etc., and...won. Then he boosted the Dow by 500 points.

Overexposed? No. That's just MSM pablum. 44 is talking to the People intelligently and often, just what our President is supposed to do.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | March 25, 2009 8:39 AM | Report abuse

A more fundamental question is what difference it makes if a prez is "over-exposed"?

Assume the Prez made a public appearance every single day. Assume he left DC once a week to visit a corner of the USA.

Assume the entire country agreed that he should make fewer public appearances, according to every poll.

I think the single result would be that he might then lighten his schedule of public appearances, until the public clamored for more.

This "subject" sounds to me like swinging at gnats with baseball bats. It has nothing to do with the fundamentals of policy or politics, IMO.

GWB proved that a Prez could make gaffe after gaffe and speak with actual marbles in his mouth and not have that affect a single fundamental of policy or politics, and he remained "likeable" while his closeted VP was feared. If GWB had been a smooth communicator he still would have engaged in the same policies with the same results.

I could go on. But all I will say is that, like beauty, overexposure is in the eye of the beholder and is only skin deep.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | March 25, 2009 7:48 AM | Report abuse

A little bit of time spent inside the beltway with political wonks can make anyone boring and disconnected from reality - even the Baraqstar.

Posted by: newbeeboy | March 25, 2009 7:44 AM | Report abuse

After eight years of an unengaged ideologue it is great to see the President engaged and thinking about our nation’s problems. I really do not see how we can see too much of our president. Chris, curious minds want to know. What is it:

1. Y You really think Obama can be over exposed.
2. You have to give your Republican friends time for their talking points even if they are ridiculous (the fairness doctrine)
3. Bloggers and other media types like you do not have enough to comment about because Obama speaks clearly for himself.

Posted by: bradcpa | March 25, 2009 6:59 AM | Report abuse

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