"This president, who is new and young, comes along and says, "Oh, that's not the issue. The issue is health care." It seems not like a program, but a non sequitur," Noonan said.
Obama admitted in a Sunday interview with ABC News that he needs to do a better job of communicating his vision for health care reform and said the popular uproar had been "humbling."
"I think there have been times where I have said I've got to step up my game in terms of talking to the American people about issues like health care," he told ABC's George Stephanopoulos, who asked if the president had "lost control" of the debate.
"Well, not so much lost control, but where I've said to myself, somehow I'm not breaking through," Obama responded.
Noonan said most modern presidents overdo it on the media circuit.
"They get their face in your face every day, all the time," she said. "It's boorish, and it makes people not lean towards you, but lean away from you, no matter what the merits of the issue."
But Reich, her co-panelist on the ABC round table, disagreed, saying that "the face that we see is one of dignity and gravitas and utter reasonableness.
"He is taking the initiative," said Reich. "He knows that if there's any lull right now, his opponents are going to jump into that lull. And it's very important that he educate the public about what's going on."
What's going on is enough to cause the most experienced politician presidential stress.
Though the president said in his Sunday interviews he was confident he would sign a health care bill into law, and welcomed Republicans to the effort, he added, "I don't count on them."
On the defense front, Obama girded for criticism over scuttling a plan under President George W. Bush to deploy 10 missile interceptors in Poland and a related radar installation in the Czech Republic. He told CBS's "Face the Nation," "My task here was not to negotiate with the Russians. The Russians don't make determinations about what our defense posture is."
On Afghanistan, now being called "Obama's War," the president told ABC he is "skeptical" about sending in more troops.
On CNN's "State of the Union" with John King, he said he didn't want to be rushed to commit to a new strategy until General Stanley McChrystal, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, makes an assessment of the recent addition of 21,000 troops.
Other crises out of the president's control have also weighed heavily on his agenda.
Obama has pledged to check the global spread of swine flu by making 10 per cent of the H1N1 vaccine supply available to other countries through the World Health Organization.
And as the United States enters the fall flu season and infections rise, Americans are waiting for the October delivery of the swine flu vaccine.
Obama was asked if he wanted his own family vaccinated. He told CNN the vaccine will go to high-risk groups first.
"We want to get vaccinated," he said of his own family. "We think it's the right thing to do. We will stand in line like everybody else and when folks say it's our turn, that's when we'll get it."
And though Obama admits he hasn't followed the case of the activist group ACORN closely, he said there should be an investigation into the hidden-camera video involving ACORN employees and a couple posing as a prostitute and her pimp.