A Presidential Miscue

Hard to know what’s worse: A president pre-empting afternoon soap operas in the final months before they’re canceled or trying to encourage Wall Street with empty rhetoric before the market closes.

Either way the White House put President Obama in a lose-lose situation on Monday by rolling him out for an economic pep talk at a time when viewers could simultaneously watch the news channel graphics showing the market falling as he spoke. It reminded me of one time when President George H.W. Bush tried to be upbeat while on the split screen viewers could see military caskets arriving at Dover Air Force Base.

The result of Obama’s public relations fiasco was that the Dow dropped another 200 points after the president’s “pep” talk, ending with the worst sell-off in three years. Whether or not he deserves blame, it’s a no-brainer that having him speak after the market closed would have easily avoided giving that impression.

Had the president offered anything new or substantive, other than the sound of his voice – again – perhaps it would have done some good.

To paraphrase an old adage for this case, “If you don’t have anything new to say, Mr. President, don’t say anything at all.” Especially when you’re interrupting the final days of our soap operas during summer vacation.

73 thoughts on “A Presidential Miscue”

  1. Being the newbie, I gotta ask: Are we supposed to say Woo-Hoo or something if we’re the first to comment. OK, that sound you hear is me doing just that.

    I think Obama shoulda made his speech while simultaneously working on his laptop and taking part in some day-trading, maybe selling off bank stocks. And there coulda been a third graphic on the screen showing his personal losses, or gains. That way he could at least give the appearance of being truly engaged about something…

  2. Sometimes I wonder who is advising him and if they are a paid mole. Yet what he said turned out to be absolutely, 100% correct. They flocked to Treasury Bills when stocks plunged. Not Euros, not Rupees, not Yen. Yankee Greenbacks. As “CEO” of the US, the President said US securities were AAA, and the market responded by buying them.

    The market was responding to Europe, AIG suing BofA (they dropped 20% yesterday) and other market forces.
    The markets plunged not because of his speech, but because there was nothing from anyone in Congress, who showed it’s willingness to crush the economy for their whack base.Compared to the entire Republican field he delivered the Gettysburg Address”. Problem is, all but the fringe and the cable news networks think these people are complete vacuum heads. The right wing talking point parrots are pounding Red Bulls and hitting every morning talk show now!

    The President is clearly frustrated. Only 13 pieces of legislation have left the House since the new congress sat, and they did absolutely nothing for the economy — especially the last one. He’s got an opposition party that is most certainly not benevolent — more like malevolent. They don’t want to defeat the President, they want to destroy him completely and with extreme prejudice. Should Obama do more? Yes. First thing, get some good advice. Second thing, get rid of Axelrod — every time he gets on TV the President’s approval rating drops 5 points. Ahhhh… Ehhhhh….Uhhhhh….. Can’t this guy get some therapy or lessons?

    So what is his move? He can call for Congress to come back from vacation, but if they don’t, sit on the sidelines and throw pot shots on top, what does he gain? His bully pulpit is like a pistol with a silencer on it since one of the major networks only covers him with right-wing pundits in the room, and nobody actually does the investigative journalism needed to expose the real problems — partially because they don’t have a budget, and partially because such a large part of the American public doesn’t care about the problem unless “their side” scores the political victory.

    What you’re seeing in Britain is a preview of the third Tuesday in November if there’s a Republican win and more austerity is on the menu.

  3. BTW, I love the “should Christie run” ad on your site. Of course he should run. He should start walking first, though, and probably get on a doctor-prescribed balanced diet. By November of 2012 he might be able to get more than 100lbs off.

    That’s what you mean, right?

  4. Can you imagine the kind of “pep talk” Christie would’ve given? Nash, where are you?

    Craig, Were you a House or Senate page?

  5. BTW, I love the “should Christie run” ad on your site. Of course he should run. He should start walking first, though, and probably get on a doctor-prescribed balanced diet. By November of 2012 he might be able to get more than 100lbs off.

    100 pounds???

    I was glad to see some coverage by the mass media of the
    various failures of S&P and also of maroonettes like Bachmann
    saying this was all the president’s fault when the specific reason given was the antics of the tea party idiots….t

  6. Bob Morris

    Welcome to the Trail. Yes the “Woo Hoo” belongs to the first person in the right place at the right time when there happens to be a subject change.

  7. Craig

    It was not so much the timing of the comments as it was the content. By Obama demonstrating his cluelessness, we got day two of the crash out of the way. If he had waited until after the market closed we would be facing another round this morning.
    Spending cuts will help unemployment, wtf was he thinking.


  8. Did Newsweek choose Michele Bachmann cover photo to make her ‘look crazy’? from the SFGATE homepage

    Since she is crazy I would have to say NOT –It would have been dishonest for Newsweek to select a photo that showed her any other way

  9. if the brits go really crazy and start calling for the queen and the government to step down will we support the people?

  10. I’m eagerly awaiting my print copy of Newsweek–it’s a better read than it’s been in a few years. I hope the cover is suitable for framing.

  11. “Spending cuts will help unemployment, wtf was he thinking.”


    The above links to a deeply researched study in Pennsylvania that showed every 10% cut in spending resulted in 79,000 fewer private sector jobs.

    What shall we cut?

    Defense? That money goes to workers.
    Health care? Ditto
    Social Security/Entitlements? Those old people don’t need to eat — and all those workers at Village Inn, with their “early bird specials” all lose their jobs.
    How about we just cut cops firemen and teachers? How about the FAA?

    We gotta find ways to pay for what we need, not give it up because somebody needs a good deal on their jet.

    What cuts create jobs? Cuts, with the current tax structure, just put more money in the deepest pockets. If spending cuts and tax cuts created jobs, we’d pay no taxes and have two jobs.

    What you’re seeing right now is a very dry branch with a lot of weight on it. The further to the right you are, the further out on the limb you’re sitting.

  12. In Korea:
    The emergency cabinet is meeting almost constantly looking at ways to guide their country through the current economic mess caused by our Republicans.

    Virtually all their ‘cash’ strategic reserves are in dollar denominated instruments. So far, they haven’t found any better alternative. Indeed, since the current crisis started, the dollar has strengthened vice the Korean won to the tune of about 5-pct.

    I think right now their current focus will be on protecting their markets, both import and export by touting the viability of the dollar as the currency du jour.

    All of this comes as the most incredibly bad weather that has characterized this year is now being capped by a typhoon. So far our family is safe.

  13. Good one, Danilo!
    Danilo says:
    August 9, 2011 at 6:55 am
    BTW, I love the “should Christie run” ad on your site. Of course he should run. He should start walking first, though, and probably get on a doctor-prescribed balanced diet. By November of 2012 he might be able to get more than 100lbs off.

  14. michele bachman obviously POSED for that newsweek picture on the cover…..she was probably attempting to look “presidential”.

    Didn’t Work.

  15. Good post, Craig. Why did Obama even bother? Inspiring confidence? Connecting with the little guy? Where is the excitement, Barry? Obama needs to seduce us again…put on some Barry White and get down with your country! Give us a big warm hug after the bad money men stole from us again! Make us feel loved and worthy of another stimulus. You are a cold man…we need warmth. We need some money, too, just stick a few bills in our hand whilst hugging us! C’mon Barry!

  16. Blonde Wino,

    Barry’s wondering why what he did in law school doesn’t work and work and work and work and work and work forever.

    My goodness. Aren’t we all still doing JUST what we did everyday when we were 23?

  17. sturgeone,

    Ever wonder how Marcus Bachmann believes he’s attempting to look?

  18. CLL

    I always assume Marcus has just left the polyester heaven of the Wednesday afternoon golf course.

    BW, What is the CLL? Keep trying to read it as a Roman numeral which doesn’t work at all no matter how I configure it.

  19. Speaking of Mr. Bachmann’s attire, Ol’ Tom Jefferson had something to say on the subject:

    In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock, Thomas Jefferson.

  20. cultureshock, a belated but sincere welcome aboard even if we do disagree on that magnificent wall separating church and state built by the founding fathers.
    as eprof hinted at last thread, i bet you’ll be glad that wall is there the first time a charismatic mullah running for office makes tv waves and raves. or when the snakehandling evangelist lets loose his wares at your townhall meeting. or two clean-cut, tie-wearing young men insist on parking their bikes on your front lawn handing out book of morman or nation of islam literature all day. or hare krishnas dancing in the airport make you late catching a flight.
    your arguments seemed to be centered around freedom for only one religion not all religions.

  21. danilo, you’re so right about the s&p ploy that
    “There’s more at work here — follow the money. It’s either politics or market manipulation…”

  22. bw, that photo in the npr piece cries out for a well-placed mustache and hair across her forehead. her eyes are reminicent of you-know-who.

  23. Jamie,

    It’s chronic lymphocetic leukemia. Except that’s just a brand name: it’s an incurable lymphoma, often untreatable — at least until Dr. Richard Furman created PCI-32765, a btk inhibitor without side effects which so far has done astonishing work of killing and containing the cancer cells. While the clinical trial is limited to around 200 patients with severely refractory CLL, it has worked just as well with multiple myeloma and all other b-cell cancers — not just blood based ones.

  24. “michele bachman obviously POSED for that newsweek picture on the cover…..she was probably attempting to look ‘presidential’.”

    No, that was the “face” of a Bachmann Presidency. That would be her look when the people end up in the streets like the Wisconsin Incident on steroids… with burning tires… and cars….

  25. I don’t know if anyone else can feel it, but the US of A has jumped the shark! Things should get very interesting now and stay that way for a very long time. The housing market took 19 years to recover from The Great Depression. We are in an ‘electronic recession’ which may be worse than the old typewritten and analog economic depressions and recessions of old. This new economy may be with us a lot longer than we could have ever imagined. We have lived in the best of times…and the future is not promising or being won by the US of A.

  26. Craig,

    If I were Obama, now would be the time that I would hold speeches…about jobs in front of the unemployment offices around the country, (or some one that could stay on message in each state, but I would give one every day ) but would not fly to any in order to avoid attacks about it.

    I would give one speech, and one type of speech only…about how I plan to start getting jobs for the American people, wear only a shirt and pants ( leave the arugula home)……after a few visits…I would ram another stimulus thru that would go to each state, with very strict strings attached (follow the $, no one could use it for any-other reason.!) …that would go to only small businesses and small contractors….that would create jobs, giving them a tax credit for each job created…and the winter is coming up…what ever happened to the project of insulating existing homes?

    If he did this…..as he should have on the very first day that he took office…..he would get everyone that he lost back..(it’s not too late)…and other indies like myself….

    When he was elected….I cried while live blogging here at TM…..I wrote that as I Minority…I was proud that a blk man was elected…..I lost that pride a long time ago…so did many others.


    ….was going to pick out one of your post today that I liked the most….I like them all…thanks

    One more ( i hope ) to add to the last thread:

    All the way back to Adam and Eve… and to the question: Did they exist: did all of humanity descend from that single pair?

    According to the Bible (Genesis 2:7), this is how humanity began: “The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” God then called the man Adam, and later created Eve from Adam’s rib.

    But now some conservative scholars are saying publicly that they can no longer believe the Genesis account. Asked how likely it is that we all descended from Adam and Eve, Dennis Venema, a biologist at Trinity Western University, replies: “That would be against all the genomic evidence that we’ve assembled over the last 20 years, so not likely at all.”

    Researching The Human Genome……yeah thats the thing that can’t be denied….you can time travel all the way back to the real exodus (via the genome, Dr. Spencer Wells did with proof to back it up)….from Africa…and the real Adam and Eve…

    What we need to counter -act the Ignorance that the Religious want for us….is to educate the young….but with real education…some of the things taught today is worthless to them in real life…the better schools do it….

    I would take and practice what is claimed that Moses, and Jesus said ( even tho he was a war time messiah)…..and throw the rest of the bible out the window….shows nothing but a very mean and vengeful way of life…just like the god in it….

  27. Pat,

    I like all of your post also…all of the time….later going for a swim and sauna, helps me start the week off right ….

  28. Flatus’ comment about the Newsweek cover being suitable for framing reminds me of something from my youth. I was 7 or 8 years-old and went to a neighbor’s house after school. Their son was three years older than me, but we lived in a rural area and there weren’t a lot of other kids around, so he was stuck with me as the nearest person to have a catch with, at least until one of our fathers got home from work.

    Anyway, I went into the house and saw that a small newspaper photo of Joseph Stalin was taped over the center of their dartboard. I can’t pretend that I knew anything about world politics at that age, but I was smart enough to know that any guy who got his picture stuck over the bulls-eye had to be a pretty bad dude.

    One of the other things I always remember about that household was that my father was NOT a fan of the kid’s mother. It’s almost sixty years later, and I can still hear my dad’s voice making this comment, “If brains were dynamite, she couldn’t blow her nose.”

    I’m too kind to ever say that about anyone, but I have to admit, I love quoting it.

  29. Dexter…Mark Hatfield was a very good man. There is a documentary, “Racism in Oregon” that chronicles his liberal fight for an equal accomodations law in the 50’s while he was in the legislature.

    As I remember it, while Hatfield was personally opposed to abortion, he opposed government intervention to prohibit it. One of the reasons he didn’t run for a 6th term was opposition from the right.

    I saw Hatfield many times aroind the state. Once he spoke at my college and I had him sign a book he had written. Somehow, over the years, the book has disappeared.

    For me, Hatfield’s greatest moment was when he was the deciding vote to kill the balanced budget amendment. A new member of the Senate, Rick Santorum, called for Hatfield to lose his committee chairmanship. I can only imagine what Hatfield thought of someone like Santorum and the other nutcases who inhabit our Congress..

  30. BW the normative economists told us that each nation must be allowed to achieve its natural comparative advantage that would be measured by the cost of their exports on the world market.

    This hokum was extended by the liberals amongst us to give these countries most favored nation status and free trade agreements that extended in only one direction and said, in effect, ‘take our jobs, take our know how, take our markets where ever they might be. And when we want (y)our products for our consumption, we’ll pay whatever you ask.’

    I think it’s time to become self-sufficient as a nation. Viva la crystal-set!

  31. The Strauss-Howe theory of generations posits that the Boomers would face economic dislocation in their old age. At this point we are supposedly entering a “Fourth Turning”. The last one began with the Stock Market Crash in 1929 and ended with the end of WW II in 1945. If they are right, this will definitely qualify as the Chinese curse of “May you live in interesting times.”


  32. Mark Hatfield should be a role model for Republicans instead they’ve picked a bastardized version of Ronald Raygun

  33. “If Bachmann is a Dominionist as put forth in that article, she is even crazier than the eyes would have it.”

    jamie, you the professional editor, i can’t believe you wrote that! my dear, it’s spelled ~~dominatrix~~

  34. So many crunchy leaves on the ground, it sounds like autumn. This is as much of a drought as I have ever seen.
    Use your money to stockpile canned goods & bottled water.


    I wonder what it would take for people to take it to the streets here? They are going to have to do something about the job market here, but that seems as likely as being able to control the weather, at this point.

    “…as the latest unrest spread, some pointed to rising social tensions in Britain as the government slashes 80 billion pounds ($130 billion) from public spending by 2015 to reduce the huge deficit…”


  35. Oh, wow.

    “The official BlackBerry blog appears to have been hacked after Research In Motion, the maker of the popular smartphone line, announced its intentions to cooperate with police and assist in the aftermath of the London riots.”

    “…if you do assist the police by giving them chat logs, gps locations, customer information & access to peoples BlackBerryMessengers you will regret it, we have access to your database which includes your employees information; e.g – Addresses, Names, Phone Numbers etc. – now if u assist the police, we _WILL— make this information public and pass it onto rioters…”


  36. Hmmm. Since we don’t know where they are, let’s make up something good.

    It’s hot in Lubbock, so C’bob…

  37. Solar, this music is to go along with your swim to relax today. Twenty laps for me each week day does wonders. Enjoy!


  38. blue,

    it’s so hot in lubbock, that cbob’s maria telkes solar oven is now considered an air conditioner

  39. CBob is locked up inside the Buddy Holly Museum and can’t get out until he learns five Buddy Holly songs by heart.

  40. eprof, in case you’re in a hurry doing those 20 laps with solar


  41. Patd

    I can see that smile at a 1000 paces. So she is a Dominionist Dominatrix, which implies orders from God to beat up on Marcus. 😉

    Seriously, the Dominion business is why she said that the pastor told her and Marcus to get married and then her husband told her to become a lawyer. It is the ultimate in “barefoot and pregnant” as a philosophy – From God to Man to Wife to Children. Downright scary.

  42. PatD. Thanks for the John Williams duet with de Falla. Great stuff AFTER swimming.

  43. Dow is up almost 300pts. S&P is purely short-term. I’m betting at this point that within 6 months, if nobody else gets on the downgrade wagon, they’ll fire a few people and we’ll go back to AAA.

    I think they were trying to start a pile-on for their own selfish reasons — but nobody else did. Now they look like the tuba player marching in the wrong direction at half-time.

    S&P might want to be careful, because stuff like this could get them tied at the hip to the Mullahs of Teabagistan, and I don’t think that’s a long-term winner.

  44. Dylan Ratigan is on fire today! I’d love to believe all our politicians…from the President on down…had their butts parked in front of their TVs, listening (and HEARING!!!) what he’s saying.

  45. WOW, that was fun, the Dow gained 610pts in 75 minutes.

    hang on to your hats the ride is getting wild.


  46. One of the things that Keynesians thought about was negative bank interest rates. How could they be achieved, and what would their effect be? Now, in practical terms, we are about to discover the answer to those questions.

    I think it will be fascinating and I think we will be happily surprised. Thank you FRB for your stance on interest rates.

  47. The 10 yr treasury is yielding 2 % damn near free money. The government needs to borrow some of that free money and put it to work.


  48. btw didn’t somebody diss the US Treasury bond?

    S&P parent company McGraw-Hill’s stock dropped today

  49. well… after having a great opening weekend, things have ground to a halt. Our attendance is way down… and I’m not surprised. 4 days down… 5 more to go.

    I don’t know about CBob… but Nash usually disappears for the summer and returns in Sept when he returns to teaching. Hope his vacation is going well.

  50. Scorched Earth is Nothing New for Obama
    by Taylor Marsh

    It’s panic at 1600. The daily Gallup is depressing by itself, but amidst the economic carnage and America losing our AAA status under Obama’s watch, which will make for a snappy negative GOP ad, everyone is girding their loins for the battle.

    But really, folks, have people forgotten Alice Palmer? Remember Obama hinting Hillary was “Bush-Cheney lite”? ..and who can forget that South Carolina memo? If it takes scorched earth that’s what Obama will deliver, because he’s done it many times before.

    Did people really believe Obama could get by this time on hope and change, the sequel?

    I can’t believe people are shocked by the latest news, which comes in a politically titillating article at Politico:

  51. Eprof,

    Glug, glug, glug; you left me drowning over here….Im not in the best swimming shape yet; not for 20 laps; you saw me go down for the 5th time and swam right past me, I could only do 11 laps.

    I started back up b/c of a nice lady named Jan over at the Swamp, she inspired me to start swimming again, after nursing a bad knee, im going to swim more often, tomorrow if im not to sore, its the bow-flex for me….thanks, and Pat thanks also for the music…it was relaxing…

    Eprof….that music vid was nice….but that he looks like he is playing in a Sauna room just like the one that i was in…..he had a suit on in the sauna. I hate people that don’t perspire..

  52. Newsweek’s Bachmann photo isn’t sexist
    It captures the GOP candidate in all her self-righteous extremism — and men get the crazy camera treatment, too

    There’s a funny female media war going on today. Even some liberal feminists are accusing Newsweek/Daily Beast editor Tina Brown of sexism in choosing a magazine cover shot that makes Michele Bachmann look like a crazed zealot. Arianna Huffington herself hasn’t weighed in, but her website did, suggesting that Huffington’s close friend Brown’s photo choice “crosses a line” and diminishes Bachmann. National Organization for Women president Terry O’Neill flat out called it “sexist,” suggesting we use Gloria Steinem’s sexism test — would a man be treated this way? — and concluding, “Surely this has never been done to a man.”

Comments are closed.