Obama Returns to Bully Pulpit

Obama hammered again for being too visible and wearing out his welcome with the public.

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President Obama is getting hammered again for being too visible and wearing out his welcome with the public.

After Obama gave his public statement on the economy at about 2 p.m. yesterday, the stock market plunged an additional 200 points and closed down nearly 635 points, or 5.5 percent, two hours later. Steven Law, CEO of the conservative PAC American Crossroads, noted that, "If anything, President Obama's saber-rattling on raising taxes and even more debt-financed spending drove the market down even further. If Obama can just cut out the vanity pressers for a while, that would be a positive step toward pulling out of this nosedive."

A cheap shot? Obama has faced this kind of criticism before, as critics have argued that he sometimes seems to seek public attention too much and his ubiquity reduces his positive impact. But White House officials say the president is the best advocate of his ideas and doesn't over-use the bully pulpit. In any case, they argue, the country deserved to hear words of reassurance from the president yesterday in the aftermath of the downgrade of the government's credit rating Friday and during a stock-market rout. [See who to blame for the debt fiasco]

But Obama's visibility persists as an issue. Under the headline, "The ever-present President (and why it's not working)," Chris Cillizza wrote in his Washington Post blog yesterday. "Over the last month, he has conducted a flurry of press conferences, speeches, and statements aimed at bringing about compromise on the debt ceiling and, in his remarks today, attempting to assuage economic fears following the downgrade of America's credit rating by Standard and Poor's. And yet, even as he has taken on a more and more public persona, Obama's poll numbers—particularly in swing states like Pennsylvania and Florida—have taken a tumble." Cillizza goes on to say there's no single reason that explains "the current inverse relationship between Obama's high public profile and his declining poll numbers." [Read here to see how S&P downgrade is unlikely to end partisan gridlock.]

My theory is that people have gotten tired of rhetoric, promises, and pleas for patience from Obama, however articulately they are presented. Americans want results. Until Obama delivers on the economy and especially on job creation, his public standing will suffer and his re-election will be in jeopardy.

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