Move over Ronald Reagan.
President Barack Obama is the best communicator in the history of the American presidency.
He is a storyteller and speaks from his heart. Going on Leno was the best communications strategy possible during a week of bloodletting over AIG bonuses and the chord it has struck.
AIG is the tipping point that has boiled the blood of the American public. The economic breakdown and distrust Americans feel for their government was the energy that provided Obama the margin of victory that he needed to become president. But his ability to show his human side to the American people is what allows him to lead. His ability to make an emotional connection with the public through speaking have allowed him to win the nomination, the presidency, and move large spending bills through Congress despite their size and Republican opposition.
In going on Leno, Obama and his aides are revealing that they know they have the best communicator to come along in the oval office. He has and will take his message directly to viewers, going over the heads of all of us political analysts and media pundits, so the audience can hear HIM explain what is going on.
Only Obama can warm parents up like he can, talking about Sasha's Starburst moment on Marine One. Only Obama could explain the subprime mortgage crisis in a minute. Only Obama could defend Geithner and put that story to bed on a Thursday night.
He is on the record with his position, and took his case straight to the public. In choosing this media strategy, Obama bypassed the news media establishment. Ironically, the Leno show provided Obama a venue that was as close to C-SPAN style as you can get: live to tape, unedited, and gavel to gavel.
"The climate's nicer. So's the conversation, sometimes," Obama told a town hall meeting earlier in the day in California. He could just as well have been talking about Leno.