“Forward,” the slogan Obama rocked proudly during his 2008 re-election transformed in 24 hours into a dizzying “Rewind” as our commander-in-chief’s party took a major hit losing much clout to Republicans. Obama did his best to share good tidings yesterday during his press conference by chalking up the Republican win to “A good day for Republicans” and by claiming it meant “Americans want their lawmakers to work as hard as they do.”
So what can we derive from this spin? First, it wasn’t just a “good” day. It was a historic day. Republicans not only took the Senate but they expanded their seats in Congress to numbers not seen since1930. Secondly, saying Americans want their lawmakers to work as hard as they do infers that our POTUS and his party failed to rise to the occasion. In other words, Obama just admitted all the campaigning he did while the Middle East burned, Ebola spread, and the Islamic state spread its umbilical cord through Iraq and Syria backfired.
No surprise there.
Obama Likes Hugs
What caught my eye most during his speech (and either seemed touching or oddball depending on how you look at it) was the part where he shared that he likes meeting “average” people and getting hugs. For years, media has skewered Obama for overt flirting and has even suggested Michelle Obama is feverishly jealous of his roving eye and his overtures continue to cause rifts and make tabloid fodder.
Most recently, Obama was in the 24×7 news cycle for giving unrequited, impromptu hugs and kisses that resulted in wide eyes and Cheshire smiles apparently stunning the hottie (or victim) he hugged or kissed.
Whether you believe spin from traditional media like this ABC account reframing his actions as “easing fears of Ebola” is your business. Yet as an AMA award winning writer, journalist an author who holds a MA in PR and even interned in Houston’s ABC’s KTRK-TV’s newsroom (who at the time was the 10th largest market in the nation) I can confidently say this hype is the same issues management topic I did my masters thesis on.
Public Relations as Negotiation
In public relations, we categorize Obama’s recent hugging and kissing spree as public relations as negotiation, which includes framing and reframing of why he did it. For example, media has heavily criticized Obama for his unrequited hugging and kissing that their cameras have captured so when public fear is high over an emerging stateside epidemic, his handlers seize this opportunity to reframe his actions as being a “role model” vs. a serial flirt.
Now that Republicans had a historic day and Obama admitted challenges lie ahead to effectively deal with national security issues Ebola and ISIS, one question remains: Do his handlers still think voters are stupid? Do they think the public at large interprets Obama’s hugs and kisses as anything other than flirting? I don’t know anyone in the Secret Service or the Administration that would schedule a presidential meet-n-greet with anyone Ebola-positive much less allow Obama to extend a hug or kiss.