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.