Cool Hand Barack


CHIP REID (chief White House correspondent for CBS News):
Thank you, Mr. President. You said that everybody in the room is willing to do what they have to do, wants to get something done by August 2nd. But isn’t the problem the people who aren’t in the room, and in particular Republican presidential candidates and Republican Tea Partiers on the Hill, and the American public? The latest CBS News poll showed that only 24 percent of Americans said you should raise the debt limit to avoid an economic catastrophe. There are still 69 percent who oppose raising the debt limit. So isn’t the problem that you and others have failed to convince the American people that we have a crisis here, and how are you going to change that?
Well, let me distinguish between professional politicians and the public at large. The public is not paying close attention to the ins and outs of how a Treasury option goes. They shouldn’t. They're worrying about their family; they're worrying about their jobs; they're worrying about their neighborhood. They've got a lot of other things on their plate. We're paid to worry about it. 
I think, depending on how you phrase the question, if you said to the American people, is it a good idea for the United States not to pay its bills and potentially create another recession that could throw millions of more people out of work, I feel pretty confident I can get a majority on my side on that one. 

Excellent points, Mr. President. But you never answered the question.

What we got here is failure to communicate. Jay Carney is great and everything, but sorry--your average American doesn't know who he is, let alone listens to him. Rarely do you hear Jay Carney's sound bites in the mainstream news. You know whose sound bites they play? Yours. Why aren't you coming out and explaining directly to the American people what the debt ceiling is? You could even have a little chalkboard like Glenn Beck. It'd be cute.

I know you're not the Educator in Chief, but this is serious stuff. The American public needs to be informed on it and--if the CBS poll is any sort of a reliable indicator--that's obviously not happening. I think you could stand to take a page out of FDR's playbook and start some fireside chats of your own.

Don't be afraid to interrupt our "Modern Family" reruns. Give a twenty-minute primetime speech and lay everything out there. Then, if we're still ignorant, it's own own damn fault. I love the idea of you giving answers instead of taking questions. The American public needs them right now. Not just for the information--they need to feel connected to you. They want you to talk to them--not to journalists.

Anyway, I'm no James Carville. This is just an idea. It pains me to see you have to slog through this muck of ignorance when you have the power to clear it away. Only 24% of Americans want the debt limit raised? Is this a joke?? Sadly, it's not. So let's start talking.


  1. Kristi, do you have some good links explaining the need to raise the debt ceiling? my husband and I thought that if it didn't get raised, then spending would have to be cut, which we think is a good thing as the government is in ridiculous amounts of debt.

  2. Also, I agree, if the American Public doesn't truly understand the issue, who better to clear it up than the President.

  3. Check out the link that "what the debt ceiling is?" leads you to :) That's a great one to start with.

  4. Kristi, I'm new to your blog (my brother is about to do an internship in D.C. so I got curious) and I must say, I absolutely love your blog! I have always been so intimidated by politics and this post inspired me to go out and do a little research of my own. It feels like a good start. I think you are a fabulous writer, and you couldn't have hit this more on the head. I completely agree, America just needs to know what's going on.

  5. I'm completely with you, Kristi. I have always admired FDR because of his fireside chats and his ability and desire to reach out to and communicate with all American citizens. We want a leader to lead us, with us--to talk plain to us. To explain things that perhaps aren't "our responsibility to worry about," because we do worry and we actually should.

  6. Such a good point that he needs to explain it (not just take questions) if the public doesn't get it! That'd be great actually, because I'm tired of hearing people's opinions on things they don't actually understand.


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