Obama Should Channel Eisenhower, Jimmy Carter

President can learn from his forebears for his speech tonight
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 15, 2010 2:43 PM CDT

(Newser) – Expectations are running high for President Obama's Oval Office speech tonight. James Fallows of the Atlantic proposes three presidential examples with which to evaluate it:

  • Himself: Obama has proven he knows how to use a big speech to "shift political momentum" and introduce long-term thinking about a policy problem. "If the day after the speech we're saying, 'OK, I see where he's headed,' that will be a sign of success.'"

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  • Ike: Dwight Eisenhower used the Sputnik launch in 1957 to show Americans how years of mistakes had caught up with them. Obama can use the spill to finally get us thinking realistically about ending our dependence on oil.
  • Jimmy Carter: The "malaise" speech, while not remembered as successful, was actually effective at first. "Carter talked tough about energy policy and government gridlock and was well received for a while. His speechwriters should at least pore over that incident."
(Read more Gulf oil spill stories.)

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