Of all the historic number of tweets generated by Wednesday's presidential debate, something like 10.3 million in 90 minutes, one stood out to me. It was by CNN political analyst David Gergen. He wrote:
"I didn't think (the president) was rusty. I just don't think anyone has ever spoken to him like that," referring to the dress down by Mitt Romney.
Gergen implied Obama has had a lot of 'yes' men/women around him, coddling him, telling him he's always right, terrific and fabulous. Do you? As the boss of a newsroom, I admit I'm not always tactful. So I am grateful I have someone who calls me out when I misbehave or are unfair. "Don't be rude to the intern just because they don't get it yet." "You were too rough on that reporter."
It may sting, but I am grateful when I am called out. I see 'suck up' too much in the news biz. Everyone tells the high-profile anchors how wonderful and talented they are. But who really has their back? I do, but it's not always easy to be honest. Gergen implied Obama has a lot of handlers telling him how terrific he is, but no one daring to point out his weaknesses and flaws.
While monitoring the debates at my radio station and listening to callers' reactions, our host John McGinness, the former Sheriff of Sacramento County, said he had one or two people call him aside behind closed doors during his 25-year law enforcement career to tell him when he may have been wrong. McGinness said as much as he didn't like to hear it, he was grateful for the honesty. And the caring.
I don't know if Obama has a support team who tells him what he wants to hear because he's president. I don't know if he has that trusted confidante like I do who will be brutally honest with me. But I think all of us would rather hear the harsh truth of our human flaws then be falsely led to believe we are perfect creatures without faults and weaknesses. If no one tells us of our errors, how can we correct them?
I think Barack Obama got his wake up call Wednesday night.