Will the President Share His Most Recent Personal “Letter” with Voters?
posted at 11:22 am on August 5, 2011 by Howard Portnoy
In the first week of his presidency, Barack Obama announced that each day he would read ten of the thousands of letters he received at the White House. The goal, in the words of then-Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, was “to help get him outside of the bubble, to get more than just the information you get as an elected official.”
Obama even read some of these letters aloud at town halls and other highly publicized meetings. Apart from being good PR for a man who ran as an über-populist, the gesture helped him sell his more contentious policies. For example, in February of 2010, at the height of the health care reform debate, the president read a letter from an Ohio woman who was frustrated with the rising cost of health care.
It is hard to know if the president still has time to read ten letters a day, but one can only hope he does. As former senior adviser and current campaign manager David Axelrod told the press in February of 2009,
[Obama’s] greatest concern is getting isolated in the White House, away from the experiences of the American people … The letters impact him greatly.
At the very least, let us hope he received the missive on Tuesday from an ordinary Joe, a working stiff. Granted the message didn’t reach the president via the White House Correspondence Office and it wasn’t in writing, but its arrival was such that the president could hardly have missed it.
A man by the name of James Dirk Crudup jumped the White House fence because he can’t find a job in the current economy. According to 9NewsNow, a DC station, Crudup hoped he would be shot by police because he feels like a deadbeat dad:
Any real man would want to provide for their children and in today’s economy it is so hard that especially when you have labors you cannot make those achievements and the ridicule that I received and feel, you can’t imagine.
The White House was locked down for nearly two hours after Crudup scaled the north side fence around at 7:35 p.m. He was taken into custody and his backpack scrutinized for explosives. None were found.
The 41-year-old Crudup has been living with a friend while he looks for a job. He says he is a handyman and went to a technical school to learn about electrical work. He also has a real estate license.
His story is very much the story of America after two and a half years of an Obama presidency. Crudup, moreover, is the ideal candidate for one of the president’s gut-wrenching anecdotes. He is a member of the working class and feels his country has turned its back on him. He is also black. Why has the president not taken time off from his weeklong birthday celebration to share James Crudup’s story?
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