Friday, January 29, 2010

Taking Questions From GOP Benefits Obama

I think President Obama benefitted from publicly answering questions from House Republicans at their retreat in Baltimore today.

This isn't to say I agree with the substance of Obama's remarks. Methinks he protests too much when he claims, "I am not an ideologue." I also think Obama spoke in his usual condescending, dismissive, snarky manner. Yet regardless of the substance of what he actually said the reason he benefits from this exchange is because he entered the lion's den and answered tough questions. When you walk into a room with the knowledge you will be on the receiving end of slings and arrows, take your lumps and walk out tall you will gain grudging respect from your adversaries. There is also a chance to regain support amongst those who might be wavering.

As a Canadian, I am used to the head of government answering questions from the opposition. But for many Americans today was a novel exposition. Will this be a one time experiment? Or will this become a regular event whether on an annual or quarterly basis? If it's the former it will likely be forgotten (unless a portion of it becomes a part of a campaign ad.) If it's the latter it could work to President Obama's advantage. Especially if he continues to tell the nation, "I'm having fun."

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