Thursday, April 02, 2009

Is the facade crumbling?

While no single event or mistake heralds a shift in emphasis or indicates decline but something is astray with Obama's communication after taking office. He makes gaffes, jokes about special Olympics, seems at times at sea during press conferences (see his response to the BBC's Nick Robinson yesterday) - it was not what he said it was the way he looked and spoke, maybe it was jetlag or maybe he is better at the scripted event. And then there is the presidential twitter feed, what do these mean. Are there links that are supposed to be there but have been forgotten? 'The Cost of Inaction' well we can guess but not too sure, 'Another Leg in the Stool', I think the only response to that is WTF unless i missed something. Now either it has been hacked into, and if so why has no-one noticed? Or someone is operating it that has no idea what they are doing. What ever the case it strikes me, as an objective observer, that Obama is not quite as good as a President as he was as a candidate and perhaps it is the fact that he doesn't have the same quality communication advisors and strategists around him. It was one thing to propel a candidate to the White House but, it seems, it is different to adapt that style to one of a president.


Anonymous said...

Obama really did talk about "another leg in the stool" of his economic recovery plan. Looks like story headlines were piped into the feed by mistake.

Darren G Lilleker said...

I had to google 'another leg in the stool: here is the quote:

"As I've said before, there are a number of legs in the stool in the economic recovery. Step one is making sure that we had a stimulus package that was robust enough to fill the huge gap in demand that was created by the recession. Step two was making sure that we had a effective homeowners' plan to try to keep people in their homes and to stabilize the housing market"

Should this be stool, or is it a ladder with steps or what? Are these metaphors just confusing, and please tell me who is writing this rubbish.

Matt Hurst said...

Err shouldn't he be more about substance and less about style.

If the world wanted a vague dangerous but man of the people, we would have been in America canvassing for a change in the constitution allowing for Bush to have a 3rd term.

His communications have been poor but I still find what he's done so far mostly positive.

Darren G Lilleker said...

Well they did tweet an apology for erroneous feeds!

Yes it should be substance that matters but if we consider performance as a reflection of ability (and some do) and he under performs when not scripted, he may be assumed to be nothing more than a front man who can perform when the words are provided but unable to ad lib and think on the hoof, which may in turn be seen as an indication of him not being the one who is responsible for the positive developments.

Not saying he is rubbish, yes performance should be secondary but remember the effect that his inability to communicate had on the credibility of Bush.

Cristina said...

I agree on Obama looking a bit lost and nervous at press conferences. He is not comfortable dealing with unscripted events. I must say however that, apart from some initial waffle, he did not do too badly at yesterday's event.

On the Twitter feeds: I was investigating the messages in the picture you provide. The official ObamaNews ( never posted them! I suspect (well, I am quite sure...) what you have in the picture is a spoof: I simply can't find any trace of those postings on Twitter.

What the person who produced them is making fun of, however, is very real: weird metaphors (leg in the stool?!) and overcomplicated messages. The spoof tweet "Wrapping up open for questions" makes fun, but actually sounds better, than Obama's original "Open for Questions Wraps Up" (

Despite the hype about the Obama's use of youtube or the fancy features of the White House website, his whole communication strategy looks to me a bit stiff. Obama's real feeds, in fact, are the most boring ever.

Number 10, instead, seems to have caught up and well surpassed its American counterpart.Yesterday I was watching live on the preparations to the G20 talks. Downing Street (an admin staff called Ian apparently) was tweeting like a machine gun with a mixture of "serious" information, small "human" details, and links to informal-looking pictures about the event ( Well done to Number 10!

Having said that I think there could be a better match between what Gordon Brown says and his facial expressions...

Praguetory said...

"maybe he is better at the scripted event" No shit, Sherlock. ;-)