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Obama's batting 0-7 in campaign rallies, but he's got big stats in other areas

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Some journalists are suckers for what are called "tick-tocks," minute-by-minute rundowns of who-was-doing-what-where-and-when during some dramatic moments, which can be told in a pseudo-exciting I-was-almost-there running narrative mode.

It's a big media fave. And press people for professional pols routinely keep notes just in case a "tick-tock" device is desired that -- hey, who knows? -- may coincidentally portray their boss in an authentic, favorable light without appearing to be trying to do precisely that. Otherwise, why hand out the seemingly inside but actually superficial details?

Then, suddenly, in the third paragraph, what seemed like a routine morning blog item took an unexpected and dramatic turn that would alter participants' lives for the rest of the day. Stunned Ticket readers learned that:

We are, on the other hand, patsies for stats stories, those compilations of assorted, eclectic numbers which, taken together, paint a revealing larger picture like some grand piece of pointillist art. (No, we're not; this being interactive, you can just go look it up yourself).

Anyway, thank the journalism gods today for Mark Knoller of CBS News, who among his many duties invests 365 days a year stashing this stuff away before presenting his waiting world of fans with this gift of media myrrh.

Thanks to Mark, for instance, we now know that in his first 365 days in the White House, President Obama gave 411 speeches, remarks or comments, 178 of them alongside his trusty aide, Teleprompter.

We know that Obama gave 42 news conferences, including five stand-up solos at the White House, 23 town hall meetings (it only seemed like 2,300) and more foreign trips than any other freshman president (10 journeys to 21 countries). 

The short-term senator also did an astounding 158 separate one-on-one interviews, revealing precisely what his strategists think Obama does best.

Partisanly, his first year Obama did 28 political fund-raisers, harvesting more than $27.25 million, compared to Republican George W. Bush, who reaped $48 million from six events. Hmmm, those Republicans.

Thinking his good-talking karma could rub off, Obama did seven campaign rallies for three Democrats (Jon Corzine, Creigh Deeds and Martha Coakley). All of them probably wish he hadn't; all of them lost.

When Obama took the oath of office, the United States' national debt was $10.63 trillion; today, it's $12.32 trillion.

We're only tempting you with these statistical Knoller nuggets. He's got them all over here. Well worth a look.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Jim Young / Reuters (Obama helps fellow Democrat Corzine lose the New Jersey governor's race).

 
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Only Andrew Malcolm could interpret mindnumbinglyboringmeaningless statistics into face wrinkling coffee spitting satire. Nice job!

(Thank you. Today's top comment for sure! :-D )


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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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