No kidding. While Egypt seems as unclear as Barack Obama on the status of our relationship, the President wasn’t in New York working out those issues with Mohamed Morsi or other world leaders. Instead, he was hashing out his own problems with the hosts of The View on ABC, which CNN found “just a little … weird.” In fact, the conclusion was that Obama made himself look foolish by abandoning his duties and having Hillary Clinton fill in for him instead:
Dana Milbank agrees, although he couches it in one of his a-pox-on-both-houses columns:
As heads of government arrived in New York on Monday to attend the opening of the United Nations General Assembly, President Obama also made his way to Manhattan but to see a different group of world leaders: Barbara, Elisabeth, Joy, Sherri and Whoopi.
It bordered on scandalous that Obama, joined by the first lady, would make time to sit down with the women of “The View” even as he declined foreign leaders’ requests to meet with him one on one in New York this week. (He left that menial task to his secretary of state.) But Mitt Romney isn’t in an ideal position to press Obama on his priorities.
This is because the Republican presidential nominee and his wife, Ann, just spent some quality time on the set of “Live! With Kelly and Michael,” where they discussed, among other things, Snooki, peanut butter and chocolate milk, their toothpaste-squeezing techniques, Romney’s singing of western tunes while on horseback and what the candidate wears to bed. Then there’s Ann Romney’s scheduled appearance on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” on Tuesday — the same day Obama’s appearance on “The View” airs.
Well, I won’t argue the silliness of the low-information-voter outreach, but there is one key difference — or actually two. The first is that Mrs. Romney isn’t running for anything, and the role of the spouses has traditionally been to do these soft-focus appearances. The other is that Mitt Romney isn’t the President of the United States. He doesn’t have a responsibility to take his duties seriously except to run for office, which has been his day job for the last several months. Barack Obama is supposed to be doing the job he got four years ago, which entails meeting with heads of state — especially when they come to the US.
That’s not just his job, either. It’s also good politics. Obama at one point wanted to run on his foreign-policy experience (as CNN noted in the clip). An incumbent President has a huge prestige advantage when conducting global affairs over a challenger, especially one without formal foreign-policy experience. The fact that Obama ran away from that opportunity isn’t just an abandonment of his post; it’s a concession that he doesn’t look especially good when matched up with other heads of state.