Jackie Gingrich Cushman

The latest midterm presidential campaign tactic is for President Barack Obama to meet ordinary Americans in their backyards and dens to discuss the happenings of our country.

Yesterday's stops included Albuquerque, N.M. Today's include Des Moines, Iowa, and Richmond, Va. The intent is to humanize the president, often viewed as coolly cerebral, for Obama to connect on a personal level with voters. The last Democratic president was Bill Clinton, who was and is still known for his intense charisma and his ability to empathize, to feel the pain, of ordinary Americans.

While Clinton received his law degree from Yale, his formative years were spent in Hot Springs, Ark., where he attended Hot Springs High School. Obama, in contrast, spent his formative years primarily in Honolulu, graduating from the Punahou Academy, a private school, before attending Columbia University and Harvard Law School.

Obama can't hold a candle to Clinton in his ability to connect with ordinary people. And Obama's struggle to connect, to empathize, is not helping his popularity.

The attempt to humanize Obama coincides with a drop in his polling numbers (49 percent disapprove, 46 percent approve), according to a Gallup Poll released on Sept. 28. The economists may have declared the recession ended, but with a 9.6 percent unemployment rate, ordinary Americans are hurting, and they want their president to understand their pain.

If only Hillary Clinton were president, her husband could be the consoler in chief.

Instead, we have Obama chastising his base to "shake off -- buck up -- step up."

The closing tone of Obama's interview with Jann Wenner for the Oct. 15 issue of Rolling Stone magazine, titled "Obama Fights Back," is feisty all right, but not at the Republicans, as one would have expected. Instead, he is all but wagging his finger and shaking his head at his Democratic base during his 364-word closing rail.

Wenner noted that Obama had left the room at the close of the interview, but returned for a closing remark, delivering it "with intensity and passion, repeatedly stabbing the air with his finger."

Obama was not quite finished delivering his message.

"One closing remark that I want to make: It is inexcusable for any Democrat or progressive right now to stand on the sidelines in this midterm election," Obama said.


Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Jackie Gingrich Cushman is a speaker, syndicated columnist, socialpreneur, and author of "The Essential American: 25 Documents and Speeches Every American Should Own," and co-author of “The 5 Principles for a Successful Life: From Our Family to Yours”.