Last night on Bill O'Reilly's Fox show, warming up for President Obama's speech, Karl Rove helpfully wants that he might be getting overexposed:
O'Reilly: I don't -- I don't know -- and he's gonna take most of the hour, because all the networks are gonna show him now, he's on every network -- No American Idol tonight, all you people singing and dancing, you're not gonna get it tonight! But I'm just worried he's going to lose everybody because he's just going to be saying the same thing we've heard a million times before.
Rove: Well, he does need to say something new, but it needs to be something people find credible and achievable. But you're right, he's getting -- there is a danger of getting overexposed here. I wrote a column last week in the Wall Street Journal saying that he was winging it, that they were just throwing things out there without knowing exactly how they were going to resolve them, whether it was the stimulus bill where they let Congress write it, or Guantanamo, where they said we're going to close it but we don't know what we're going to do, or nullifying all the authorities on enhanced interrogation techniques and then realizing they needed to have some such authorities. So he's gotta be careful tonight that he does not sound like he's winging it.
He's also got to be worried about overexposure. I mean, in the first month, he has traveled more than any president in history. He has been gone from Washington more days than any president in their first month in office. And he's been around the country, getting on the television, doing events to draw attention to himself -- there is a danger of being overexposed, particularly if it sounds like he is saying the same thing.
One can perhaps understand why the person whose job it was to handle George W. Bush would be sensitive about public exposure to the president. After all, his experience was that the more the public saw his charge, the less they liked him. I don't think President Obama has that problem, though.
Now, it's true that Obama needs to be surrounded by more, similarly effective voices who can do some of the heavy message lifting. It's an unfortunate fact that so far he's having to do nearly all of it himself.
But when Karl Rove offers Democrats helpful advice like this, one can't help but utter a low mordant chortle.
After all, what's killing Republicans in the polls right now is how effective Obama has been when he gets out in public. He stayed out of the public eye for the better of the week the stimulus bill was getting under way, and he paid for it by letting Republicans briefly get the upper hand on the public-relations war.
He's going to need help. But Obama is his own best weapon right now, and he'd be foolish not to use it. Karl's kindly advice notwithstanding