New WH press strategy: More "change" blather, even cooler backdrops for speeches

Karl dubs it the “more cowbell!” approach. The good news? Sounds like we might be looking at only six to eight hours of The One on TV every day going forward instead of the usual 10 to 12. (“The threshold for things he will go out and talk about is higher.”)

The bad news: He’s going to turn up as part of the Super Bowl halftime show sometime before 2012, isn’t he?

“It was clear that too often we didn’t have the ball — Congress had the ball in terms of driving the message,” communications director Dan Pfeiffer said. “In 2010, the president will constantly be doing high-profile things to be the person driving the narrative.”…

First, they said, is a return to the disciplined messaging that was a hallmark of the 2008 campaign, in which unhelpful themes were filtered out in favor of topics that advanced the candidate’s goals. In the White House, they said, that will mean a tighter focus on Obama’s commitment to the economy and jobs for average Americans. “The threshold for things he will go out and talk about is higher,” one senior aide said.

Second, White House advisers promise a quicker, more aggressive response to GOP attacks on the president and his policies. They noted that Obama and his top White House advisers have pushed back hard against Republican accusations that the FBI mishandled the interrogation of the man accused of trying to bomb an airliner on Christmas Day — and as Biden did on Sunday…

A third change is a return to the backdrops for Obama that aides considered so effective during the presidential bid. The image of Obama standing in the Diplomatic Room surrounded by men in dark suits will be replaced, as often as possible, by scenes of a more relaxed president in crowds. The goal is to have Obama travel outside of Washington — what they call “the bubble” — at least once a week, advisers said.

The fourth change planned? Talking more about Change. (Really.) This smells to me like Obama’s way of dealing cosmetically with the left’s more substantive critique that he hasn’t done enough to muscle Congress on health care. If he gets up on the podium and tries to sound presidential, maybe they’ll think he’s being presidential. In fairness, cosmetics may be all he has left: His political capital’s been sapped by Massachusetts et al., to the point where some Dems are now running away, so the best he can do to “lead” is to fire up the TOTUS and try to charisma his way back to some reasonable level of public support for his agenda. The perpetual campaign in action, like DrewM says. It worked like a charm for health care, didn’t it?

As for the “rapid response” to the GOP — which, per Tom Maguire, is at least the third time they’ve announced something like that — is Republican messaging really Obama’s problem? The GOP has done well lately with making an issue of Abdulmutallab’s handling, but apart from the occasional viral Palin soundbite, on most domestic issues they’re a non-factor. If a thousand speeches on ObamaCare wasn’t enough to kill the conservative message, a rapid response “truth squad” or whatever won’t matter a bit.

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