Friday, June 11, 2010

VERITAS: TOUCHDOWN - OBAMA READY TO "KICK ASS"

This week's perspective from Bob Reid:

Barack Obama knows all too well how precarious a position it can be for the President of the United States when a disaster strikes his country. He watched George W. Bush drop the ball entirely during Hurricane Katrina, and has been trying very hard to straddle the line between leadership and liability in the Gulf of Mexico. Take too much profile and you can end up owning the calamity – keep too much distance and you’re Dubya. And despite his best efforts, an ABC News/Washington Post poll this week found 69% of Americans feel Obama has done either a “poor” or “not so good” job at best on the spill. So it was strategic communications in action when he appeared on NBC’s Today Show this week, emphasizing that he has been on the case and on the scene in the Gulf long before the “talking heads” started focusing intensively on the crisis. The capper – and headline-maker – was his comment that he’s looking to find out “who’s ass to kick.” And front and centre is BP CEO Tony Hayward – now dubbed by some as “the most hated man in America.” Obama was asked if, hypothetically, if he would fire Hayward were he an Obama employee, given the gaffes he has made in the media. Normally, we counsel our media coaching clients never to bite on a hypothetical scenario – unless, of course, it presents a strategic communications opportunity. “He wouldn’t be working for me,” Obama pronounced. Well played, Mr. President.

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