Rush Limbaugh ably mocked this Politico headline from State of the Union Day: “Obama struggling to get attention for the State of the Union.” White House reporter Sarah Wheaton pretended that Obama somehow wasn’t the toast of cable news or the recipient of a boatload of Today coverage on NBC live from his executive mansion.
The White House strategy also includes another round of interviews with twentysomething YouTube stars:
Even by the standards of this social media-savvy White House, aides are launching an unprecedented campaign for the attention of the next generation, the millennials. If they do it right, this generation could talk about Obama like boomers talk about Kennedy and Reagan.
They are hosting a “West Wing”-inspired online Q-and-A session with more than 50 administration officials called “#BigBlockofCheeseDay.’’ They’ll provide annotations of the speech on Genius, behind-the-scenes moments on SnapChat and Instagram, and on Friday, interviews of the president by YouTube stars Destin Sandlin, Ingrid Nilsen and sWooZie.
Sandlin is a white male science educator based in Alabama with videos titled "Smarter Every Day." Nilsen is a fashion/lifestyle personality with segments with titles like "DIY Painted Birkenstocks," and the socially conscious segment "Your Vagina Matters," about the stigma of menstruation. She also has 13 million views for declaring "I'm gay." Diversity boxes are checked.
"sWooZie" (real name: Adande Thorne) is the wild card in this deck. In a video on "Freaky/Weird Dreams," he dreams about throwing a Molotov cocktail at a policeman after "driving while black."
The cop would walk up and be like "Do you know why I pulled you over?" "Yeah, because I’m black!" and throw a Molotov at him and then, like peel off and start a police chase.
In “Sex In High School,” sWooZie opines about loose high-school girls:
Most high school relationships don’t last....A guy gets with a girl, he’s on to the next one, and then the next one, and the next one. And some of these girls come to me, and I’m like "Mmm, I don’t know where you been, girl. Show me the CarFax!”
PS: Wheaton laid it on thick about how "tough" it is for Obama to get attention from his fan club in the media:
Obama faces stiff competition for the nation’s attention. The rollicking, Trump-dominated presidential campaign has swamped airwaves and social media. That’s one reason Obama scheduled the State of the Union a week earlier than usual, to get ahead of the Republican and Democratic debates scheduled for later this week and to put some distance between his speech and the first contest of the presidential campaign season — the Feb. 1 Iowa caucuses.
With no new policies or initiatives to announce, Obama’s effort to break through is even tougher.
Wheaton reported Team Obama promises a “soaring speech”about the future, geared to Obama’s legacy.
That thematic approach is “more farewell address than State of the Union address,” said Georgia State University presidential historian Daniel P. Franklin.
“Why spend time laying out a legislative agenda which is DOA? Why not start acting like somebody who is looking towards their legacy?” said Franklin, author of Pitiful Giants: Presidents in Their Final Terms.
Maybe a "pitiful giant" could be defined as a president who does interviews with YouTube personalities while he avoids press conferences with people who are not quite as dazzled by his presence.