What does the president’s recent dinner run say about his common touch?
On his trip to the West Coast, President Obama’s plate has been filled with plenty of fundraising, policy promoting and even a hearty portion of chicken. He caused a stir when he made a stop by L.A. hot spot and tourist favorite Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles Monday night.
He ordered the No. 9, which includes three wings with choice of waffle, potato salad or French fries. Greeting onlookers as he departed, he took time to stop at the table of a young African-American boys for more handshaking and small talk.
At first glance, there’s nothing particularly unusual about the president’s evening dash. Maybe he just had a taste for some chicken, after all. But this president’s habit for being methodical and strategic with every move he makes, especially when cameras are involved, is reason to give it further exploration. Was it just a spontaneous stop or was it something more?
Rep. Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) was with Obama during the outing. She said, “People were excited that he came to the community and when he walked into the restaurant, people were just in shock. He spoke to every single person in the restaurant.”
The up-close-and personal method may be just what the president needs after taking hits for continuing the Bush-era tax breaks for the rich and bailing out the bank industry while middle class Americans struggle.
“We could make the argument that he did it for marketing purposes, but he’s always demonstrated that he’s relatable," said Latoya Foster, a Fox News contributor.
Bass said she remembers Obama’s concerns early on about losing touch with the public. “I recall talking to him about that early on in his presidency. He said: ‘I like the job but I sure don’t like this bubble’ and I’ll never forget that conversation,” she said.
The isolation of the White House and constant presence of advisers and politicos can create an invisible barrier that separates Pennsylvania Avenue from Main Street.
“This is the president of the United States of America. Of course he’s going to be in a certain bubble but he does a good job of trying to present a sense of normalcy. Does that mean he can’t relate to the challenges of the everyday American? Certainly he can. He’s been there,” Foster said.
Bass added, “After a little while at Roscoe’s, people started cheering ‘Four more years!'"
And I have a feeling that’s exactly what the Obama campaign is hoping for.
(Photo: Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)