Skip to comments.Obama’s Vacation Optics – Axelrod and Co. Fail to Protect President’s Image
Posted on 01/02/2010 6:08:15 AM PST by kristinn
Richard Nixon had advertising executive H.R. Haldeman; Ronald Reagan had image master Mike Deaver; Barack Obama has public relations guru David Axelrod.
All three men understood the power of visuals in communicating the strengths of the presidents they served on the campaign trail and in the office of the presidency.
I dont know where David Axelrod has been since President Obama began his ten-day Christmas vacation in Hawaii, but it is safe to say he is goofing off as much as his boss.
(The Oval Office, December 29, 2009. Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
(AP Photo by Chris Carlson, December 31, 2009)
(Official White House photo by Pete Souza, December 31, 2009)
Since the Christmas Day terror attack on Northwest Airlines Flight 253 on approach to Detroit, Axelrod and Team Obama have failed in their most basic duty of reassuring the American public that the president is on the job. It took four days, from when the attack occurred Friday morning Hawaii time to Monday afternoon Washington time, for Obama to be seen on the job when he made a statement before the media about the terror attack.
Over that time span, the administration failed to update the White House web site with any mention of the attack.
In Obamas absence, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano were sent out on the Sunday talk shows (except for Fox) to spin the administration line that the system worked.
That PR strategy was mocked across the boards, forcing the administration to put Obama in front of the cameras for the first time since he went on vacation.
Obamas presentation Monday was emotionless in delivery and casual in its presentation. Wearing an open collar shirt, Obama looked like a man who showed up at a formal club without the required attire and was forced to don the club jacket hanging in the closet to get in.
Obama also seemed painfully uncomfortable without his TelePrompter security blanket. He struggled with the text at times and reflexively swiveled his head from side-to-side even as he stared down at the the printed remarks laid out on the podium before him.
That Obama went golfing right after he told the American people he will not rest until we find all who were involved and hold them accountable undermined whatever seriousness of purpose the administration was trying to convey.
When internal reviews by the administration started to show that the government had enough information to stop the terror attack before it happened but failed to act, Obama was hustled back before the cameras the next day to get in front of the bad newsstandard PR disaster strategy. However, Obama was hustled in front of the cameras so fast the satellite feeds werent ready so the cable networks went live with only a ghostly audio address by a ticked-off sounding Obama. Video of the speech was shown later in the day but the damage was done. Team Obama was flailing.
Worse still was the failure of Team Obama to distribute still photos of Obama taking meetings and briefings on the terror attack.
The White House told the media that Obama was getting briefed several times a day and was participating in meetings and conference calls in between gym workouts, golf, tennis and beach outings, picnicking, snorkeling, fine dining and taking over a movie theater.
However, it was only yesterdaya full week since the terror attackthat the administration released a photo of a hard(ly)-working Obama on the telephone. But the photo is not featured on the White House Web site, instead it was posted to the White Houses Flickr account.
What is on the White House Web sites front page for the third day in a row is the White House photo of the day that features an empty Oval Office save for a cleaning woman running a vacuum in front of the presidents vacated desk. A more telling image could not be presented to the public of an absent leader, yet that is the message Team Obama has conveyed to the world for the past three days.
It is a time-honored public relations technique to release photos of the president taking meetings and otherwise appearing to be focused on the nations business while on vacation or away from the White House when a crisis strikes. While Team Obama focused on keeping the prying eyes of media cameramen out of sight of Obama for most of his vacation activities, they failed to provide a countering image of Obama at work behind the scenes.
Yesterday, in addition to releasing the one photo of Obama at work, Team Obama allowed the media to photograph Obama at his movie outing and golf game.
The photos of Obama on the golf course show him playing with a passion that was sorely lacking in his initial speech to the nation about the Christmas Day terror attack.
David Axelrod used public imagery to create an air of inevitability of an Obama presidency months before the election. He created the aura of a co-presidency between Obama and President George W. Bush in the two months between Obamas election and inauguration.
The whereabouts of Axelrod and his magic touch are unknown. But in their absence Obama, who has been living like an aloof king at his $4000 per night $8.9 million Hawaiian vacation estate, is looking more and more like an emperor with no clothes.
The optics of this are not pretty.
Like I wrote, the optics of this are not pretty.
A fine article, Kristinn. I especially like this line, and its ending.
Just a little fiddling while our nation burns. What's the big deal? </sarcasm>
Heads will roll. Somebody forgot to pack TOTUS.
“However, it was only yesterdaya full week since the terror attackthat the administration released a photo of a hard(ly)-working Obama” -——— They just released another photo of a hard(ly)-working Obama, - the second one in two days. comment: “At least he’s doing his job.” http://www.flickr.com/photos/whitehouse/4235235626/
mean while, the whole world knows that Rush Limbaugh is not dead....
and he likes our current Health Care system.
Pantybomber ignored by Pantywaist President.
I see that they have hired lesbian housekeeprs in the new sharia based Whitehouse.
I think the official portrait for Obama that hangs in the WH, should be of the lady w/the vacuum.
Not sure he needs Axelrod when he has the msm. CBS Saturday Morning just spent the first few minutes discussing how this “hasn’t been much of a vacation” because of the rapidly filling plate of the boy king.
lol is he trying to join the Ministry of Silly Walks?
It really is bad when Hillary Clinton looks like a prophet with her 3:00am statement.
Excellent Kristinn, thank you.
U.S. President Barack Obama (R), Malia (L) and Sasha (C) leave after watching the movie "Avatar" at the Windward Mall in Kaneohe, Hawaii, December 31, 2009.
President Barack Obama, right, waves on Pyramid Rock beach on Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii Saturday, Dec. 26, 2009. The Obamas are in Hawaii for the holidays.
U.S. President Barack Obama walks at the Kailua Racquet Club before playing tennis in Kailua, Hawaii, December 28, 2009.
U.S. President Barack Obama leaves Alan Wong's restaurant in Honolulu while on Christmas vacation in Kailua, Hawaii, December 27, 2009.
A motorcade carrying President Barack Obama drives the coast road on the east coast of Oahu, Hawaii, Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2009.
U.S. President Barack Obama reads a list of orders for shaved ice at Island Snow Hawaii while on vacation in Kailua, Hawaii January 1, 2010.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:
The guy wanted the position for the prestige and fun and benefits that it provides. He thought that it would be enough to delegate and make gestures about getting along with everybody, including our enemies. He is ill-equipped to understand the enemy and our problems in general.
Something tells me that he’d rather be back at community organizing where he could have all the free time he wants and where he won’t be interrupted while taking care of his personal business and vacations. He had no idea that the presidency is a full time job.
Vacations for people who suck at their jobs are usually not fun.
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