Is the man running to be president . . . or Saint Barack of Chicago? Hard to tell after GMA's hagiography this morning. The segment was a run-up to Obama's planned announcement tomorrow of his presidential intentions.
Obama's own advertising consultants might have balked at the presentation as too over-the-top in its worshipful tone and substance. Here's what we got:
Robin Roberts introduced the segment by saying that while Barack is a presidential front-runner, "he may also be the least well known." Was that Robin's way of disputing HIllary's claim to being "the most famous person you don't know"?
Claire Shipman narrated the segment and began by describing Obama as "calm and charismatic." Explaining that despite all the media attention, "there are some things about Barack Obama you might not know," Shipman began the elucidation with a clip of Obama bagging groceries, as he explained "I used to work as a bagger in a grocery store." Hmm. George H.W. Bush: supposedly unfamiliar with checkout scannners. Barack: worked as a bagger. Check.
Next, Shipman assured us that "he's a listener." To drive home the point, a sash appeared in the corner of the screen flatly stating, yes, "Listener." After mentioning that "he's renowned for his compelling oratory" and treating us to a short sample thereof, Shipman added "insiders say his real talent is hearing people." Not only does he listen, he hears.
Could that be another shot at Hillary -- she of the 'listening tours'? You might suspect so, particularly after we heard from Harvard Law classmate Brad Berenson: "unlike some people who make a show of listening, and announce their own opinion, he always struck me as a person who really was trying to listen, and not just listen, but understand." Got that, Hillary?
As another corner sash, reading "Inspiration," appeared, Shipman informed us that "he found his political inspiration in Chicago. Just out of college, Obama spent three years as a community organizer." As Shipman strolled in front of a boarded-up building, she continued "it was here on the city's troubled South Side that friends say Obama first began to understand the bleak lives of the underprivileged -- and began to ruminate on how he might make a difference." As Shipman explained that he would preach "empowerment even to panhandlers," a community organizer was brought in to tell us of how Obama "would look at the person and say, 'now young man, is this really what you want to be about? I think you're better than that.'"
The next sash read "Family." Cut to Kennedyesque footage of the photogenic Obama family gamboling in a park. And how's this for a tidbit that might endear Barack to women voters?: "here's something you might not now about Obama: he married his boss!" Not afraid of strong women, that Barack! Shipman explained that Michelle, the woman he eventually married, had been his mentor at a Chicago law firm.
Shipman assured us: "she's got plenty of power in that relationship. She was the final sign-off in his decision to run." Cue the family friend: "if she said no, he wouldn't be doing it. There's no doubt in my mind about that."
I suppose every saint should have an endearing fault. Shipman closed by disclosing that Obama is "a stealth smoker." But not to worry: Claire let us know he's quitting cold turkey. Guess that will make him . . . perfect.
Aside: While the segment's purported purpose was to tell us about "the least known candidate," note that it was entirely content-free when it came to Obama's political views. That would have required letting us know that Obama is a doctrinaire liberal with ratings to the left of Hillary, and might have spoiled the saint-of-all-the-people image ABC was working so assiduously to portray.
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Update 11:49 by Matthew Sheffield. Check out this funny fictional interview that "24"'s Jack Bauer has with the MSM over their Obama coverage.