The best reporting on President Obama's three-day tour through the Midwest this week wasn't on CNN, or Fox or in the pages of the New York Times. Though a bit one-sided, it is in the latest West Wing Week, the weekly highlight video roll of the president, which is issued every Friday.
While the news cameras focused on Obama's speeches, and sometimes his critics, the West Wing Week camcorders bring tons of color from Obama's trip and portrays the president as the folksy and knowledgeable political leader the nation became familiar with in his 2008 presidential campaign. [Check out our editorial cartoons on President Obama.]
They followed him behind the scenes to catch the highlights, like when he was visiting with three farmers and simply sensed, accurately, that one grew corn and soy. To another, he discussed why the products of the Midwest are important to the nation while the third simply said, "You're doing a great job."
At one stop, Obama is shown shopping in a home store for his daughters. "It's always hard to shop for daughters, let me tell ya," he says. Then, while paying up, he says of the owner, "she was going to give me the military discount because I'm commander-in-chief." [See an opinion slide show of 10 wasteful stimulus projects.]
One thing that was notable was how Obama is like a lot of guys. For all three days on the bus tour, it appeared that he wore the same tan slacks. By the third day, they looked wrinkled and baggy.
Missing from much of the video was the much-ridiculed black U.S. Secret Service armored bus. But the video team wasn't afraid to sneak two quick shots of it in.