President Obama appeared for a lengthy interview on The Late Show with David Letterman last night, looking and sounding every inch a man in control of his own destiny. The discussion touched on several topics, ranging from the Democratic National Convention, Vice-President Joe Biden and Michelle forgetting their one-year anniversary, to how Letterman looks naked (Obama voiced his firm opposition on that).
On a more serious note, when Letterman asked President Obama about his impression of the now infamous 47% video, Obama’s statements marked the clearest, most striking differences between him and Mitt Romney.
In a presidential race that’s been bitterly fought, with tactics that have included quotes out-of-context to outright lies; Barack Obama could have been forgiven for taking the opportunity to embarrass his opponent. After all, the Romney campaign has created much more noise; with much less ammunition than that video provides. Obama had a chance, on national television, for a hanging off the rim slam-dunk in Mitt’s face. But instead, he displayed something Republicans have not managed to muster, since the beginning of the primaries:
Grace and empathy.
In a display of the kind of dignity that was once commonplace for those who aspire to the office of the presidency, Obama was gentle and rational in his criticism. He recalled the 2008 elections; where, he said, 47% of the nation voted for McCain. He also spoke about the commonality of the ‘American Dream,’ and the expectation that a president should understand he represents the entire country.
You can see those remarks here:
Obama also won style points for graciousness, when he recounted the backlash of his 2008 comments about people in rural areas whom he said, “cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them.” Even though those remarks were contextually much different, the president seemed genuine, as he expressed his understanding.
Can you recall one instance that Mitt Romney has been nearly as magnanimous, to either the president or his supporters? I cannot.
Here’s the interview in its entirety, it’s engaging, entertaining and indicative as to how a president should comport himself: