Obama Over-Exposure?

Sep 16, 2009 8:33am

This Sunday, President Obama will be interviewed on five shows – ABC News’ “This Week With George Stephanopoulos,” CNN’s “State of the Nation”, CBS’s “Face the Nation”, NBC’s “Meet the Press” and Univision’s “Al Punto with Jorge Ramos."

It's a rare feat called "the Full Ginsburg." In modern media lore, the first time someone pulled a five-show feat was 11 years ago, in 1998, when Monica Lewinsky’s attorney William Ginsburg made the rounds to defend his client. Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, did a Full Ginsburg in 2007 after launching her presidential bid.

For both Ginsburg and Clinton, Fox News Sunday made the cut, and Univision didn’t. Such is not the case for President Obama; Democrats say the Fox News Sunday audience is largely entrenched in their opposition to the president, essentially unconvincible, and thus submitting to an interview might not be the best use of President Obama's time.

Polls indicate that Americans say the more they hear about the president’s proposed overhaul, the less they like it. An ABC News/Washington Poll last week showed 54 percent of Americans feel that way. White House officials say that’s because Americans are hearing false attacks on Obama’s plan, not reality — hence the PR blitz.

Republican strategist Kevin Madden says it’s too much.

“I think the worry is it’s gone beyond over exposure and now we have what I would call the ‘Obama omnipresence.’ You almost can’t escape this president,” Madden said on ABC News’ “Top Line.” “It goes beyond just cable news and it goes into whether or not you’re flipping on ESPN and you’re seeing him talk about basketball or you turn on the Lifetime channel and you hear what Michelle Obama is wearing this week. And I think that begins to wear on a lot of people.”

But there are others who feel the president could step it up even more to avail the opportunity he has to get his message across to the American people.

“I don’t think he’s overexposed at all. In fact, I think in some ways he’s underexposed,” said Public Strategist Mark McKinnon, media consultant to former president George Bush and presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. “I think he’s one of the most gifted presidential communicators that we’ve seen in political history and telling President Obama to stay off the media is like telling Frank Sinatra to stay away from the microphone.”

White House deputy communications director Dan Pfeiffer says the idea of “overexposure” is “an anachronistic view of how people consume news in this day and age.”

With the audience splitting over hundreds of channels the president could appear on all the Sunday shows, morning shows, evening news programs and late night, and yet, not even reach half of the country.

McKinnon says the administration needs to make up for time it lost in August, when the president’s critics filled the airwaves to rally Americans.

“In politics there’s really no such thing as over communicating, because if you are not communicating, your opponents will be,” McKinnon told ABC News. “If the president stops talking, that means his opponents will start talking. We live in 24-hour news cycles now and if the president isn’t filling the vacuum, his opponents will be.”

You can read more on this HERE

– jpt

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