POLITICS
04/17/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Obama's Fireside Chats: Regular Television Addresses

Slate reports that President Obama is considering a series of short televised addresses to respond to economic issues -- taking a cue from Franklin D. Roosevelt's fireside chats. Unlike Obama's weekly YouTube videos, these appearances will be saved for crucial moments.

As Warren Buffett put it so pointedly last week, how a president communicates his policies can be as important as the policies themselves. Since winning the presidency, Obama has been trying to accurately describe the dire economic conditions, and his solutions for them, without sounding too grim or too optimistic. [...]

Obama's aides know that if they are to go forward with these short presidential addresses, they have to be doled out carefully. The president asked the networks for airtime on the weekend of Presidents Day in mid-February so that he could address the country after signing the stimulus bill but ultimately decided against the plan. Aides said he wanted to save the opportunity for a more crucial moment. Describing the network addresses, an administration aide compared them to the president's town hall meetings, which Obama has asked his staff to schedule infrequently so that they still seem special enough to get coverage and add extra punch to the message.

Politico says to expect another prime-time Obama press conference soon as well.

At a Democratic National Committee thank you event for donors and supporters Monday night, Vice President Joe Biden compared Obama's task to FDR's -- and found Obama's more challenging.

"This president has inherited the most difficult first 100 days of any president I would argue including Franklin Roosevelt -- let me explain what I mean by that. It was clear the problem Roosevelt inherited. This is a more complicated economic [problem]," Biden said. "We've never ever been here before -- here or in the world. Never ever been here before."

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