November 7, 2009


Obama's Frightening Insensitivity Following Shooting (ROBERT A. GEORGE, Nov 6, 2009, NBC Chicago)

At about 5 p.m., cable stations went to the president. The situation called for not only his trademark eloquence, but also grace and perspective.

But instead of a somber chief executive offering reassuring words and expressions of sympathy and compassion, viewers saw a wildly disconnected and inappropriately light president making introductory remarks. At the event, a Tribal Nations Conference hosted by the Department of Interior's Bureau of Indian affairs, the president thanked various staffers and offered a "shout-out" to "Dr. Joe Medicine Crow -- that Congressional Medal of Honor winner." Three minutes in, the president spoke about the shooting, in measured and appropriate terms. Who is advising him?

Anyone at home aware of the major news story of the previous hours had to have been stunned. An incident like this requires a scrapping of the early light banter. The president should apologize for the tone of his remarks, explain what has happened, express sympathy for those slain and appeal for calm and patience until all the facts are in. That's the least that should occur.

Indeed, an argument could be made that Obama should have canceled the Indian event, out of respect for people having been murdered at an Army post a few hours before. That would have prevented any sort of jarring emotional switch at the event.

Did the president's team not realize what sort of image they were presenting to the country at this moment? The disconnect between what Americans at home knew had been going on -- and the initial words coming out of their president's mouth was jolting, if not disturbing.

...all it requires is that we alter our behavior in reaction to it. He ought to be able to continue his normal functions as president after such a one off event, just do so with appropriate acknowledgment of the losses. That Bill Clinton fake somberness is much worse.

And, let's face it, not only is the UR not eloquent but he's Tom Hagen, not Vito Corleane.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 7, 2009 8:03 AM
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