A year ago, I wrote about President Obama being thin-skinned about criticism from the media and having a not so barely suppressed contempt for the press.
And I caught holy heck from some readers and far too many of my colleagues who were still deep in a post-election swoon with this man they kept referring to as so “elegant and cool.” Read that column titled “Time for Press to quit being used by Obama” here. It is the first of several columns and posts that I wrote on that theme.
Well, the president took thin skinned to a new level Tuesday morning in his interview with Matt Lauer on NBC’s “Today” show. I do not know what the president and his advisers were trying to accomplish with this conversation that took place in Michigan before Obama spoke to a high school graduation in Kalamazoo. But I have never seen Obama look and sound more petty, petulant and tinny.
Obama’s big problem isn’t that he can’t act decisively, can’t emote on cue for the cameras, trusts experts too much or that he defers excessively to CEOs. His problem — and it is starting to look like a genuine fatal flaw — is that he can’t take criticism, particularly from the press, which he seems to have an unnatural and Nixon-like hostility toward. And this interview with Lauer showed that all too clearly.
Confession time: When I first heard of the “Today” interview Monday, I thought, “Sure where else would a slumping Obama go when he needs some softballs that he can hit out of the park and try to get his stroke back except “Today,” the place that offers safe harbor to the likes of reality TV’s Kate Gosselin.