August 29, 2008
From: Sen. Barack Obama, Denver
To: Chris Matthews, Brian Williams, George Stephanopoulos, Peggy Noonan, David Brooks, James Carville, Joe Scarborough . . . [86 others]
I want to say I really appreciate all the advice you’ve given me over the last few months. It’s been very stimulating for me and my campaign to hear your opinions day after day about being tougher/softer, to focus on foreign policy/the economy, to choose/not choose Hillary, to play to blue-collar workers/soccer moms, to bowl/shoot baskets—wow, I mean you guys have been busy these last 18 months or so. I don’t know how you do it—so many topics, so little air-time. I feel you, believe me.
Anyway, I took all that into account for my acceptance speech last night in Denver. I won’t say I accommodated all of your advice because, well, frankly it doesn’t always coincide, despite the heat you put behind it on your shows. But in all big families like ours, there will be some dissension and a variety of points of view.
Like last night, for example: some of you guys decided I needed to come out and whip up the crowd to a frenzy once again, the way I did in the primaries, sort of a mega-stump-speech that would leave the young girls fainting and carried out on stretchers. One of those Big Stadium Events like the Beatles early ‘60s tour. Some of you were eager to see that happen and comment on it live, that I-am-here-right-now-where-history-is-being-made thing you do so well in war zones and standing in front of choppy seas and whatnot.
I decided against that, though, since you also thought John McCain had a point when he compared me to Britney Spears—all flash, no substance. Because after the exciting, historical-moment thing, you guys calm right down and remind viewers that we all need a steady hand at the helm and the big emotional rallies, while entertaining (yeah, for you, too, c’mon guys, admit it!), don’t really translate into sober policy. And you analysts are very serious about candidates showing their ‘policy chops’.
So no, I went another route—sorry Brooks, I know you were disappointed! I decided to pare down the rhetoric and get to the question of who I am and who John McCain is and to lay out the different routes we can take as a country in pretty specific (OK, Stephanopoulos, a little boring!) terms. It probably didn’t make for the oo-wow moment you guys were gunning for, but my team was actually thinking more about the viewers who weren’t commenting on the speech but just listening to it.
There’s one thing I found out on this campaign so far: turns out the voters are the ones who decide who wins. I love you guys, don’t get me wrong. But they do, you don’t.
So far, we’ve done okay, don’t you think? Hey, there’s a topic for your Sunday shows—go for it, guys!
Poker game next Friday?