Tavis Smiley of PBS: 'We're All Working For Barack Obama'

January 9th, 2009 10:38 AM

Chris Matthews won't be working alone.  Back in November, the Hardball host said it was his job to make Barack Obama's presidency a success.  Today, another TV journalist expressed a similar sentiment. Tavis Smiley has declared that "we're all working for Barack Obama" and that "we have to help make Obama a great president." [H/t reader dronetek.]

The host of Tavis Smiley on PBS was a guest on Morning Joe.  Reacting to Harry Reid's claim last week that he doesn't work for Barack Obama, Smiley said Reid should "put down the crack pipe."  Smiley added "we're all working for Barack Obama." It soon became clear that was no passing quip, but a literal description of how he sees his role.

View video here.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: [Reid] says he doesn't work for Barack Obama. I think he's wrong.

TAVIS SMILEY: Harry Reid, put down the crack pipe. You don't work for Barack Obama?  We're all working for Barack Obama.

SCARBOROUGH: What are your thoughts? You're going to be on Meet The Press next week, next Sunday before the inauguration. What are your thoughts as we now move closer and closer to Barack Obama being sworn in?

SMILEY: These are exciting times. When I was last year, the day after, November 5th, the day after the election, really I was excited then about what had happened and transpired the night before. As an African-american male I revel in this moment. I revel in his humanity, I revel in this victory. I love all the talk about hope and change. Here's what I fundamentally believe, and there have been a number of examples since the election, Joe, that underscore this for me. I want Barack Obama to be a great president. I want him to be a great president. I believe that he can be a great president. But only if we help make him a great president. It is not left to his own devices, it's not going to happen. We have to help make him a great president. And that's not casting aspersion on him. No president who was ever great wasn't helped in that process. There is no Abraham Lincoln without Frederick Douglas. And we could do this all day long. Every great president had people pushing them, had people helping them and encouraging them, empowering them to become great presidents. So I believe Obama can be. I want him to be. But we have to help make this guy a great president.

And a bit later . . .

SMILEY: There's so much hype. So much hope. So much expectation. I don't want him to falter in stepping into his moment because the challenges--to your point--are so great. And that's not just a black thing. That's an American thing, and I'm concerned, and I'm not the only one obviously who feels this way, I'm concerned about the people around him about what the people allow him, all these Clintonites. There's a difference between being visionary and being revisionist. And what I'm sensing is, that we got a lot of folk that want to take us back to where we were, that's revisionist. Can we be visionary? Can we really step into what this moment is? And that's why I say I want him to be a great president.  But we got to help. We can't abandon him now. We can't abandon our posts. What are we going to do to help make him a great president?

I'm sure Smiley, Matthews and many others in the liberal media will find plenty to do to help make Barack Obama a great president--at least in the way he's portrayed in the MSM.