Monthly Archives: March 2009

Who is this guy?

The unwritten rule among speechwriters is that we are heard, but rarely heard from. But what about when they’re heard from, without actually ever being heard.  Such is the strange case of Jacob Rigg, who has been making a name for himself in the UK claiming to be an Obama speechwriter. And give him credit […]

Did I Ever Tell You About the Time I …

Politico‘s Carol E. Lee, who evidently spends more time listening to and analyzing President Obama’s speeches than any other human, wrote today about the president’s habit of injecting personal anecdotes into his speeches: Listen carefully to Obama’s speeches, and there is almost always something personal. It might be a reference to a family member — […]

Obama at the Wheel

President Obama delivered solid remarks on the auto industry this morning, informing us that neither GM’s nor Chrysler’s government-mandated restructuring plan “goes far enough to warrant the substantial new [taxpayer] investments that these companies are requesting” and laying the groundwork for a gut-wrenching period of concessions ahead. I thought he was particularly effective on a couple of […]

Yes, with a reservation

Let me second what Vinca says about Mr. Obama and the TelePrompter.  More than with any other office — well, almost any, chair of the Fed being the exception — presidential communications is about discipline.  Some of this is that, as president, your words become policy.  If you care so little about them that others […]

Show Me the Money

A $787 billion stimulus bill.  Hundreds of billions — even trillions — on the war in Iraq.  Trillions of dollars of lost shareholder value.  Trillions of dollars more in toxic assets. Big numbers are simultaneously scary and antiseptic — too abstract to comprehend.  Thanks to fellow blogger and friend Ian Griffin for alerting me to […]

“Good Writing has an Authenticity of Its Own”

Nice piece from former Bush 43 speechwriter turned Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson on “What the Teleprompter Teaches“: …it is a mistake to argue that the uncrafted is somehow more authentic.  Those writers and commentators who prefer the unscripted, who use “rhetoric” as an epithet, who see the teleprompter as a linguistic push-up bra, do […]

Fore! GOP Shanks Budget Drive

Apparently Republicans spoke too soon — on purpose. Politico‘s Glenn Thrush reports on GOP infighting over today’s press conference to release a budget blueprint that … seems incomplete. Thrush tells us that Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor have had a more thorough alternative budget in the works for weeks but were strong-armed into today’s announcement […]

Yo Dawg, Don’t Phreak

For this year’s White House Easter Egg Roll, the social office apparently contracted with a company called Front Gate Tickets to handle ticket distribution. Front Gate handles tickets for a lot of concert venues and is therefore accustomed to a more colloquial way of doing business. Which produced this screen if you logged on for […]

Cantor: Yes We Do!

Turns out all those people who suggested that Republicans lack a coherent plan to counter President Obama’s proposals are wrong. As Politico reports: House Republicans have begun unveiling detailed alternatives to President Barack Obama’s policies — a concerted effort to push back against Democratic efforts to label them “the Party of No.” On Wednesday, it […]

The Trash Aquatic

The Wall Street Journal’s “Numbers Guy,” Carl Bialik, has an intriguing story in today’s edition. Bialik’s piece includes a complex environmental problem and a communications challenge. The environmental problem: There’s a big batch of plastic floating in a concentrated area of the Pacific Ocean (pieces of it pictured at right). It may be the size […]

Obama Presser: No Reported Injuries

Not an especially scintillating presidential press conference last night, but few are. Hopefully, some teenagers planning to tune in to American Idol were unwittingly served up a lesson in American democracy instead. Two quick thoughts on a couple of hobby horses. ABC’s George Stephanopoulos reported on his blog (“George’s Bottom Line”): “The president had a […]

White House Feed To Remain Wide Open

Politico‘s Jonathan Martin writes today about President Obama’s efforts to communicate his message via non-WH press corps messengers: The highest-profile moments in the new approach have been well-noted, such as the president giving an interview to progressive radio host Ed Schultz and Obama calling on a reporter from the liberal-leaning Huffington Post at his first […]

Obama/Geithner Win With Investors

Team Obama hit a much-needed home run today with its plan for Public-Private Investment Partnerships to buy up troubled bank loans and inject liquidity into the securitization market. As of this moment, the Dow is up about 5.5%, and most of the talking heads on TV seem to be (a) breathing more comfortably and (b) […]

Biden the Gridiron Champ

Reviews are in from this weekend’s Gridiron Dinner, and despite some grumbling (too long, too predictable, the president shoulda been there), it sounds like there were plenty of laughs served up — especially from Vice President Joe Biden, who began: “Axelrod really wanted me to do this on teleprompter — but I told him I’m […]

The Great Uncommunicator?

You know things are getting dicey in Obamaland when the highly regarded Politico runs a full page Friday story titled, “Lesson: Communications Is More Than Eloquence — Obama’s campaign messaging skills not translating to office.” Politico says the problem has many sources.  Messages go from gloomy talk to happy talk and back to gloomy in […]