President Obama conceded to a certain degree this morning that heading to the golf course on Martha’s Vineyard within minutes after delivering a speech on August 20 about the terrorist beheading of James Foley may have been a mistake.
Obama was responding to questioning from new Meet the Press host Chuck Todd, who took over for moderator David Gregory after he was dumped by NBC in part because of low ratings.
Said Obama to Todd in a somewhat rambling, self-serving response about his tee time after denouncing on television the Foley murder by ISIS:
You know, it is always a challenge when you’re supposed to be on vacation. Because you’re followed everywhere. And part of what I’d love is a vacation from the press… Because the possibility of a jarring contrast given the world’s news, is always — there’s always going to be some tough news somewhere is going to be there. But there’s no doubt that after having talked to the families, where it was hard for me to hold back tears listening to the pain that they were going through, after the statement that I made, I should have anticipated the optics. That’s part of the job. I think everybody who knows me, including the press, understands that you take this stuff in. But part of this job is also the theater. It’s not something that always comes naturally to me. But it matters, and I’m mindful of that…”
Ironically, many people would likely agree that the 2008 Obama presidential campaign was, if anything, all about theater and less about substantive content. Left-wing intellectual and MIT professor Noam Chomsky even dismissed the hope-and-change movement as “smoke and mirrors.”
Obama was already on the golf course that day while James Foley’s devastated parents spoke about their loss in a televised press conference.
The president is closing in on 200 rounds of golf since he took office along with at least 400 political fundraisers with one-percenters. As a candidate in 2008, Obama vowed that he would never take a vacation.
As a digression, would anyone be surprised if “optics” winds up on this year’s list of most annoying words?
When pressed by Todd on the Meet the Press broadcast, Obama also denied postponing executive action on immigration until after the November election to help vulnerable red-state Democrat Senators win reelection, a claim by the president that virtually no one across the political spectrum from left to right buys.
In addition to addressing matters other than the playing golf immediately after addressing the nation about the Foley murder, the president also told Todd that he plains to give a speech about the ISIS threat on Wednesday.