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Coming to a stage near you, the well-oiled Obama Road Show

Democratic president Barack Obama at a town hall meeting in Costa Mesa California 3-18-09 by Luis Sinco Los Angeles Times

For all the two very long years and $750 million worth of talk about real change to believe in, Barack Obama is showing day-by-day that he is precisely the same as every other smart president when it comes to Washington trouble and dominating the news:

Get out of Dodge.

Nothing but an unexplained and possible terrorist attack -- not even the senseless death of actress Natasha Richardson -- can dominate the American news the way a president of any party can in the capitol for sure. But especially when he travels outside the politically charged, yabbering environs of Washington, which may very well be the largest single man-made cause of global warming.

And when a president is as extraordinarily skilled as a public communicator as Obama, there's every reason to get out and about. If your style of governing in the nation's capitol looks kinda clumsy -- even inept at times -- get outside and do the easier work, what you and Bill Clinton so love to do: campaign.

Just as the president has done frequently and is doing again today with the second West Coast town hall meeting in as many days and a taping with Jay Leno of the "Tonight Show"  to become only the second sitting president on late-night TV, in case that matters somehow.

While Obama is likely asleep in his soundproofed bedroom with the electric blinds and actual shower on board Air Force One en route back to the White House this evening, about 5 million....

Then Senator Barack Obama on NBC's Tonight Show

... Americans, themselves about to hit the sack, will see him with Jay the Jaw.

The commander in chief will no doubt be charming, casual and ready to drop the B and E words (Budget and Economy) at a moment's notice. And he'll have a self-deprecating joke ready, also likely a friendly comment for Kev in the band.

Yes, some bloggers have wondered aloud if Obama will bring along the comforting teleprompter that's ubiquitous at his appearances and so unobtrusively fed him lines during his first White House news conference. But no worry. The discussion topics between Jay and the president have already been negotiated by staff and mutually agreed on. Even the spontaneous jokes have been cleared in advance.

Obama's speaking style and rhythm are familiar and smooth. As we pointed out Wednesday, he still sets up his own straw men and not surprisingly strikes them down. As a stand-up guy, he takes full responsibility for the embarrassing AIG bonus mess, while in the very next sentence making it exquisitely clear that his administration is not responsible for those outrageous contracts.

Chances are good no one will ask Obama today about the T.G. words (Timothy Geithner). And if they do, the president can repeat his support of the embattled Treasury secretary, who may or may not have screwed up on the AIG bonus issue, and the president will quickly change the subject away from those petty partisan concerns and back to his own grand agenda for the nation's good.

Who wants to witness Edward Liddy, who was summoned from retirement only in September as the federal financial paramedic of AIG for the outrageous annual salary of $1, bludgeoned mercilessly for the cameras by the overpowering, hyperbolic hypocrisy of congressmen and women who awarded themselves $4,700 raises in this winter of economic duress?  Those raises, making their annual salaries $174,000, will cost taxpayers an extra $2.5 million this year; call it "a bonus."

Better these days to be the fresh new president somewhere else. Which is what these trips are all about -- to Denver and Phoenix and Elkhart and Columbus and Ottawa and this week Southern California.

And next Tuesday evening's newly scheduled primetime news conference and Mexico and Europe at month's end and on and on.

You don't need to read the entire town hall transcript from Wednesday (although as usual on The Ticket you can right here) to get a sense of the confidence and calmness Obama conveys. BTW, we'll be live-blogging today's town hall right here again.

Viewed in Washington, Obama looks about the same as little Harry Reid or Rahm Emanuel. But with much of the country undecided or still wanting to like him, Obama comes across out here as taller than 6-2 on the local stage. Virtually anywhere is his home field. And the liberal liberal fears fade in person or seen through local media.

No team with a word-weapon as sharp as Obama would not wield it out in the country, where the rookie president remains popular (59%-62%) and still largely gets the benefit of the doubt among anxious Americans. He's much bigger news out here in the real world than he is back in D.C. with the legislative Lilliputians bickering bitterly like, well, the old radio Bickersons.

As a country, we're likely to see a whole lot more of the Obama Road Show that today plays in L.A. and Burbank. 

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photos: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times; NBC (2008).

 
Comments () | Archives (11)

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Hello Mr.President,keep up the good work Sir,you will be great as ever.You have 8 years of defining moment,as you've said and we believe in YOU.Love you Mr.President from all of us here in The Netherlands.We hope and pray that you'll visit us one day here in The Netherlands.Hurray to President BAM!!!!

Just one big long party and one very long campaign. We the People are suppose to tighten our belts while he wastes jet fuel and throws parties. This Leno trip is for his benefit, not the American people. I'd like to see what this is costing us!

Basketball picks, Leno, it's nice to see he has extra time to waste. He must have found a cure for cancer already.

Political hack story machine...

--If Obama stays in Washington: Obama has lost touch with the people!

--If Obama leaves Washington and competently organizes his public appearances: Obama is on a permanent campaign!

It's really, really hard to bemoan the death of the newspaper when it means less exposure for this kind of lazy thinking and writing.

What's with the weird Clinton reference in the fourth paragraph? I don't know about you, but there's one president that springs immediately to mind when talking about being on a constant campaign, and it ain't Clinton.

Why not break some convention and find some areas of similarity between Obama and Bush? It would be the first time I'd read anything like that, and I think the subject is ripe.

Oh, wait, that's right, the Bush years are over so therefore they never happened.

If we could just get the well oiled Washington Show now....

"But with much of the country undecided or still wanting to like him, Obama comes across out here as taller than 6-2 on the local stage. Virtually anywhere is his home field. And the liberal fears fade in person or seen through local media."

This is so true, but maybe not because the crisis makes him taller. Instead perhaps it's because he's the only voice in or out of Washington who is always working toward a solution instead of the perfect partisan soundbite.

It's a very good thing to have him "out here". Otherwise, we regular people would despair of any help for our nation at all.

Giving billions to AIG, is just part of the economic problem, when it comes to the Stimulus/ Omnibus spending carousel. Money is siphoned away to support 40 million foreign nationals, who have overstayed their welcome.

If our so-called honest politicians are not going to enforce the laws of illegal immigration enforcement-- we must do it ourselves. This month they commit such anti-sovereignty deeds such as killing E-Verify, so they have ignored THE PEOPLES wishes. These Senators have a secret agenda, to suddenly pounce on the unsuspecting US population with a reformatted AMNESTY? They have Rep. Gutierrez on emancipation touring the country, looking for sympathetic votes for a new path to citizenship for lawbreakers. Sen.Harry Reid doesn't care, nor does Nancy Pelosi or Dianne Feinstein.or most Democrats. Nor does a number of Republicans. These lawmakers have no conception of the magnitude of how many Americans are jobless. SO it will be up to the public citizen at large to contribute to federal enforcement? Our eyes should be on watching other workers on building sites, large construction projects like bridges, highways. Carefully scrutinize who is hired by contractors, factories, business, with activity that doesn't seem correct. Have a friend who is employed in landscaping. Take good notes of what he has to tell you about other individuals working at the job site. Each month without public notice nearly 200.000 immigrants are settled into America, along with an unknown number of illegal immigrants the taxpayer has to house, feed, educate, arrange health services and of course a conveyor belt of prison inmates.

Hundreds of billions of your dollars are spent in favor of unpatriotic corporate welfare. YOUR DOLLARS? Every year--day in--day out--your being unknowing seduced by a the k street lobbyists. They have undermined the capitol halls with pockets full of cash. They have seduced, greedy disloyal lawmakers who just want to be a re-elected. Who wouldn't when they receive massive pay raises every year--benefits that the people can only dream of--unparalleled health care--and for Pelosi, whose arrogant demand to fly private jets with family to wherever? Think of how much of your dollars would be saved--without Washington waste. Yet we keep voting for the same old crowd.

Have you any idea the costs to the US population if they force through another Immigration reform package. It's another name for AMNESTY. Countless illegal/legal people will have more or less "Carte Blanche" to your tax money? IT will be a massive chain migration, as the extended families will be sponsored--the old, infirm and mentally handicapped services would be 'extracted' from your wage packet.

We think the traffic on our highways is bad now? It will be hardly any movement at all in big cities. The suburbs will spread so fast outwards, that wild creatures will be living in your back yard. Small farms will be non-existent taking over by mass produced food supplies. Our cities garbage already have issues finding new landfills.

Only the newcomers who jumped the fence are soliciting for work outside Home Depot. Illegal immigrants who have been here for some years, have borrowed their legal cousins social security card and was hired, by some unscrupulous manager who ignores the E-Verify application. He's no longer digging trenches where illegal aliens work or a chicken processing plant. WASHINGTON, March 19 (UPI) -- Wages and employment increased for legal workers after raids on six Swift & Co. meat-packing plants in several U.S. states in 2006, a study indicated. These laborers are not just painting walls, but laying carpet and framing homes. In California they have state jobs, such as road maintenance and running electric cable. They have infiltrated everywhere, even to drafting house plans, computer programming or started their own business and hiring others without papers. Then by cutting costs able to starve out, American tradesman who can no longer make a profit. That's why you should have the--ICE-- 1-866-DHS-2-ICE (1-866-347-2423) number on hand--in your cellphone directory. Call them--leave a message. http://www.ice.gov/about/contact.htm Remember with businesses demanding more cheap labor, it might be your job next--NO MATTER WHAT YOUR TRADE, SKILL OR PROFESSION?

Hey Obama! Don't you have work to do in Washington?
I know it feels good to be on the road!!!!!

Really? You still think Obama is "extraordinarily skilled as a public communicator"? Really? The man who needs a teleprompter to speak at WH parties? Really? The man who, when he is not using one (and that is rarely), stumbles on words like a high school junior during a debate. Wow. You really do have your bar set low. This man can read a prepared text well. He is no better than a newscaster. But get him speaking unscripted and you get "umms" and "you know" out the wazoo. You get him poking fun at Special Olpympics. Yea, there is your extraordinary communicator.

How many hours per day does Hugo Chavez speak = hours and hours except until recently when he lost his voice. So goes Hugo Barry Obama and the road show. Constantly running for office and I guess believes his voice is the only thing that keeeps the nation going. He is really the laugh of the nation. When maximum leader really takes over - like Hugo there will be nothing and no one else but him to watch.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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