How important does President Obama believe his job really is? One can’t help but wonder how he feels about certain aspects of the job he swore to do. Although many people have written about the President’s passion for golf, I have never begrudged him a little rest and relaxation. The job of President is obviously stressful and he is entitled to his personal time. However, looking at the number of times Obama has played golf, since taking the oath of office, the question begs to be asked. Where do his priorities lie?
Clearly, one of the most important parts of being President is to protect our country from outside threats. Terrorism, hostile countries, etc. That being the case, one would expect any President to keep himself updated on the intelligence that his administration gathers from around the world. To wit, consider this tidbit of information. It seems President Obama doesn’t think much of his daily intelligence briefings.
(The Daily Caller) In the Washington Post Monday, opinion writer Marc Thiessen pointed to a new report by the conservative Government Accountability Institute that charged that Obama had attended fewer than half of the presidential daily briefs since taking office.
“The Government Accountability Institute, a new conservative investigative research organization, examined President Obama’s schedule from the day he took office until mid-June 2012, to see how often he attended his presidential daily brief (PDB) — the meeting at which he is briefed on the most critical intelligence threats to the country,” Thiessen, who was a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, wrote.
“During his first 1,225 days in office, Obama attended his PDB just 536 times — or 43.8 percent of the time. During 2011 and the first half of 2012, his attendance became even less frequent — falling to just over 38 percent. By contrast, Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush, almost never missed his daily intelligence meeting.”
Okay, so I’ll give President Obama the benefit of the doubt and acknowledge he does read the daily intelligence briefings and sometimes asks for further analysis. His National Security Council spokesman, Tommy Vietor, makes sure we know he does, and that he structures his day differently than his predecessor, President George W. Bush.
In an email to TheDC, Vietor said Theissen’s revelations weren’t “exactly breaking news to anyone who has covered this place for the last few years.”
“As I told Marc, the President is among the most sophisticated consumers of intelligence on the planet,” Vietor said.
“He receives and reads his PDB every day, and most days when he’s at the White House receives a briefing in person. When necessary he probes the arguments, requests more information or seeks alternate analysis. Sometimes that’s via a written assessment and other times it’s in person.”
“I’d note that these are hardly the only national security meetings he has each week,” Vietor added. “Marc basically wrote a story culled from our public schedule that shows how Marc’s old boss, President Bush, structured his day differently than President Obama. Not exactly breaking news to anyone who has covered this place for the last few years.”
With that out of the way, let me state something that is rather obvious. Every person is different in how they manage their day. It doesn’t matter if they are President, or some other government job, or if they are in the private sector, to each his own. We all manager our time differently. But can reading an intelligence briefing on paper duplicate asking questions of the analyst who wrote said briefing? I think the answer to that question is an obvious no. Given the ramifications of the threats we are facing, one would think the best way to digest all the reports that come before President Obama would be for him to discuss them in person.
That leads me to another obvious fact. Another issue that our country is facing, arguably the most important issue, is the economy. A good economy begats jobs, so with a poor economy, few jobs are available. How important does President Obama believe his job is? According to many news reports, President Obama hasn’t met with his jobs council in over six months. Back in July, Jay Carney said the President had too much on his plate to meet with them. With all the talking President Obama has done about creating jobs, why hasn’t he met with his jobs council? I think that is a fair question to ask a President who is asking for a second term, for more time to get it right.