One factor may be overscheduling. Mr. Obama has attended an extraordinary 195 fundraisers in the 16 months since he filed for re-election on April 4, 2011 (according to CBS News White House correspondent Mark Knoller). Many people don’t fully appreciate how much of a drain it is on a candidate—involving travel, a speech or two, private meetings with particularly energetic (or obnoxious) money bundlers, and always plenty of advice. Most fundraisers also include a long photo line where the candidate grips and grins for dozens, sometimes hundreds, of photographs.
I observed first-hand how difficult it was to wedge 86 fundraisers onto President George W. Bush’s calendar over the 14.5 months from May 16, 2003 (when he filed for re-election) through July 2004. In comparison, it is astonishing how much time Mr. Obama has spent scrabbling for cash.
That’s not all. You need to add to the fundraising calendar an early and very active campaign schedule as well. Remember last August’s three-day bus trip through the Midwest? And then there are the demands of Mr. Obama’s day job.
In short, the president may be nearly exhausted. If he is, the normal inner discipline that protects a candidate from saying too much, being too blunt, or sharing too openly may be weakening.