FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
One of the jobs of American presidents, whether they realize it or not, is to make us laugh.
You need look no farther than George W. Bush. But if you want to look farther, there's a gold mine of yucks. Whether it's Bill Clinton with his blue dresses and cigars, Al Gore with his robotic seriousness, Ronald Reagan sleeping through cabinet meetings, or Dan Quayle trying to spell potato. And of course, President Bush's dad meeting a grocery store scanner for the first time was priceless – as was President Carter's tale of being attacked in a rowboat by a rabbit.
But what about Barack Obama? The writers for the late night television shows admit they're having a tough time coming up with jokes about the presidential front-runner. Letterman and Leno lampoon John McCain on a regular basis, but not Barack.
Maureen Dowd wonders in her column in the New York Times this morning why not. When the New Yorker magazine cover came out, people didn't laugh. Even though it was a cartoon, they got mad. Dowd suggests with the rather dark mood of the country these days it wouldn't hurt Barack Obama to lighten up a little, because if he does, the rest of us will feel freer to have a giggle at his expense. And that's good for everyone.
Here’s my question to you: Is Barack Obama in danger of taking himself too seriously?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Carl from Philadelphia writes:
I don't think Barack Obama takes himself too seriously, but he does take the role of being president very seriously, which is refreshing after the last eight years. At least he isn't known for having a vicious temper like his rival John McCain, which in my view is far more indicative of taking oneself too seriously.
This question might actually be the "mental recession" Phil Gramm was "whining" about. It's this kind of Dowd tabloidism - much of it without merit, and most without any relevancy toward what it takes to run this country for the benefit of its people - that is the malignancy within the mainstream media. When will the 4th estate finally clear the weeds so they can see the true landscape?
I am not in a laughing mood. I feel the country is exhausted and worn down, ready to give the new guy a chance. After Bush, you can keep the funny crap. This job is no laughing matter. He can tickle my ribs when he gets in the White House and provides a path to affordable insurance for everyone and gets our children out of Iraq. I don't need jokes-I need to see change.
I don't believe this has anything to do with Obama taking himself seriously. My guess would be that because he is African-American, everyone is scared to crack a joke about him.
Marie from Canada writes:
Clowns have their place in the world but the White House shouldn't be one of them. The plain truth of the matter is if the news media played up McCain's blunders and senior moments to the degree they play up anything they feel might have an adverse effect on Obama, McCain would be at about 10% in the polls today.
Are you saying Obama has to make an *** of himself so the comedians can make jokes at his expense for us to vote for him? This is the dumbest question you have ever come up with. Besides, if I want a laugh I just watch your show. I think you are hysterical, without even trying.
Jack, with a Bush in the White House and a McBush seeking the White House, Obama best take himself seriously as we have serious problems. With Iraq/Afganistan, housing forclosures, bank failings, environmental crisis causing floods, fires, exploding volcano's earthquakes, $5.00 gas where I live and general misery for the vast folks like me who work for a living someone needs to take themselves seriously. For McBush it's "economy is basically OK". "Iraq for 100 years". Drill our coasts and create more climate change, keep taxes low for the rich and to heck with those of us middle class folks who's money can't stretch anymore. I pray every day that Obama wins in November as he really is the only choice those of us who work have a shot at a decent life!
After 8 years of a President who joked, made smirky faces, and has single handily ruined this country. I am ready to embrace Obama due to his intelligence his sharp wit and solid judgment. If he takes his image and rep serious he will take Americas!!
FOR SURE JACK !!!!! He is believing his own fairy tales...
or can he really change the way the government has been run for too many years. can he turn the tide and instead of making legislative desions that only impact wall street, now pass legislation that will honestly help main street americans. will we even get a chance to see??? my crystal ball does not work in the heat! ,
How can anyone who has followed the primaries and general election think that Obama is taking himself to seriously. He is ahead in the polls He is loved overseas, He has shown that He is a Leader and will be the next President of the United States. Has America lost so much as a world leader, that the next President of the USA, is thought to be taking himself to serious.
almost as much as I am , which is really bad.
Huh?? How can a flip flopper ever be taken seriously. eh?
He better take himself seriously, I certainly do not. Why would I want to vote for a one term Illinois State Senator, a one term US Senator from Illinois? I have never seen any one with such a thin resume apply for a job for which he does not qualify. Then again, look at who he's running against. I see November as the worst of two choices.
I would hope that a person running for President would take himself seriously!!
Jack: Senator Obama knows what is at stake this coming November. If the same old policies of George W. Bush are allowed to continue the Iraq War will continue and the economy will get worse. These are very serious times we live in today. Young American men and women are in a war which cost 6 to 7 deaths a week, and Afghanstan is where the real war is and has been since 2001. For the
economy I give you a few words: IndyMac; Freddie Mac; Fannie Mac, and Country Wide. You bet its serious!!!
So whats wrong with taking oneself seriously ? Obama is honest and tells it like it is, and his goals are for the American people, so if theres something wrong with this, then your whole values should be overturned.
William N.B. Canada.
I think Obama better take himself very seriously, as should we all. Evidently Bush and McSame take him seriously. They are both beginning to validate his ideas by embracing them also. They made light of his idea to talk to Iran and his idea to increase troops in Afghanistan. Now, it seems they were not so naive after all. Maybe the inexperienced and naive candidate could give the Republicans a few ideas on the economy. Gosh knows they could use a few.
Jack, please define 'serious'. One president gets close to being impeached for an affair that now seems to be 'none of our business' (Chelsea Clinton) and the other keeps getting away with bringing half the world up to it's knees in misery. Has that White House turned into a casino? Obama seems to be the only one with a clear head, and will be the US's last and only chance to remain amongst the upcoming superpowers. An Obama/Cafferty ticket sure sounds good to me! Go on Jack, give him a call...
Let's see. We're in 2 wars, our deficit is larger than at any time in history. jobs are tanking, energy costs are beyond the means of many and the economy is creating images not seen since the Great Depression. This is what 8 years of a former party boy, frat house prankster has created. "O" can be just as serious as he wants.
No, it's time America give smart a chance.
Democrats should win 2 to 1, but Obama is flirting with losing by being himself.
According to the latest polls, he better be taking himself seriously. Many voters are not.
First of all Jack, what Harvard Law grad doesn't take themselves too seriously? Obama often uses humor in when he speaks publicly, which is more than I can say for the other candidates. He may be somewhat arrogant for constantly using the phrase "when I am president", but honestly, I don't think John McCain really stands much of a chance.
Yes, but I wouldn't call that a danger. The man's been called everything from a secret Muslim to the antichrist. Seeing that neatly packaged on a magazine cover, satire or not, is not something you can take too seriously. It wasn't a political cartoon on the editorial page nor was it tucked away in the corner or used as a story illustration. This cover is on every newsstand in America and you'd be within your rights to think it's in bad taste. If Obama lets this slide what else does he need to let people say about him in the name of satire?
Thats what I love about Obama. I have never seen a Presidential candidate so serious about turning the page and moving into the future. Obama has a great vision for this country and if he isn't taking himslef seriously then who will?
Jack: I don't think so. There is no danger is being too serious. The danger is when you are not serious enough, then people think you are ignorant and it is impossible to get elected. Of course my statement maybe an oxymorn......we have had ignorance for the last eight years.
He seems to be very good at turning the argument back to the core issue...With the NY cover, it was a scare tactic aimed at the muslim of our country and 9/11. I have subscribed to New Yorker for many years and can tell that the editorial decision was only part 'satire'. Real satire brings the topic into the article/cartoon. This just played to the baser instincts of those who will look at the cover but NEVER read the content–if the content was intended to illuminate in this case- which is in question!
He has joked his way through some pretty tacky attacks in the primary about him personally..It is a shame the ammunition is so thin that the MSM/opponents or just the sneaky ones use this tactic but what does one expect...division/slights/slurs and anything to create a story!!!!
Being President is a serious job. Our current President didn't appear to take things too seriously and on the matters he was serious about, he wasn't open to discussion. Look where that got us.
Obama is lucky. He has a family that will deflate his ego if need be. I have no such disadvantage and my ego extends from wall to wall.
Yes, but I wouldn’t call that a danger. The man’s been called everything from a secret Muslim to the antichrist. Seeing that neatly packaged on a magazine cover, satire or not, is not something you can take too seriously. It wasn’t a political cartoon on the editorial page nor was it tucked away in the corner or used as a story illustration. This cover is on every newsstand in America and you’d be within your rights to think it’s in bad taste. If Obama lets this slide what else does he need to let people say about him in the name of satire?
Mr. Cafferty, Anyone who has read Obama's books or listened to his speeches know that he is a humble man, a smart, well-spoken one, but still humble. When most would grow a bigger ego, he thanks those who help him get there. If he took himself too seriously, he'd be just another politician.
Obama is taking himself too seriously, no, l think he is doing what he has to do to get where he is going. If he had not taken himself and his stances seriously he would be with the rest of the also rans ................ in the dust and positioning for a job in someone elses administration.
St. Augustine, Fl
Given the seriousness of the times, I would hope to have someone who thinks responsibly and takes things seriously over someone who openly jokes about bombing Iran.
Let him take himself seriously...Someone in this country has to and take the at home issues seriously before they take on everyone elses' issues......he'll set the example and then maybe, just maybe people will follow...things will change....and the bad taste of being lost out in the bush for the last 8 years will disappear.
His wife and kids keep him humble despite his extraordinary talents and habit of consistently making the right moves and decisions.
Ofcourse not ! Have you seen the latest 'New Yorker' cover ?
He's not a rock star...he's the Democratic nominee for President. America has some serious problems and we need serious solutions. Bush's buffoonery is what got us into the mess we're in now.
Uh, shouldn't the next President of the United States take himself seriously rather than be seen as a punchline on Letterman, or Leno, or better yet, the Daily Show? This country has some serious issues to deal with that should be handled by a serious President.
Sure Barack Obama takes himself seriously, this is a country with serious issues and it will take a serious individual to solve them. Barack Obama is the real deal.
How can he take himself too seriously when his wife reveals that he doesn't put his socks in the laundry?
After 8 years of GWBush a president who fairly consistently embarrassed not only himself but, more importantly, the United States and it's fine citizens – I welcome a president that perhaps takes himself too seriously. I'm finished with President Pee Wee and ready to move on to a smarter more impressive model.
Jack, I'm looking for serious, after 7-1/2 years of silly, selfish, and stupid, thank you!
The danger lies with those who don't take him seriously. Add Hillary & Bill to that list and perhaps McCain as well.
Obama should take himself seriously. No doubt that he is the one to to be the next President of the United States.
I've got a better one!
Is Jack seriously asking this question?!!!
Maybe it's just me Jack, but every time he says he'll bring about change I crack up.
Watch out if Caffy doesn't like what you say he'll take down your message. He has no problem, however, with vulgar messages from Obama supporters, cnn is full of them. There was a piece about why comedians (more like clowns) on late night shows won't (read can't) make fun of Obama, look at the heat the New Yorker took. The excuse was that they're afraid of insulting african-americans, afraid the key word. Case in point Caffy will take down this message although there's nothing inappropriate about it. That's why Caffy can ask well is Obama taking himself too seriously!! Is this a serious question Caffy?! Do you seriously think you have what it takes to be a serious journalist?! Are you seriously still working for cnn?!
I find that someone running for president who takes everything he does seriously is a refreshing change. Better than having a court jester fill in as king, while all his constituents lie, cheat, and steal. Lets ask McCain about the S&L bailouts, his Lincoln Savings connectionsand the links to the first failed economic presidency of reagan/bush conservatisim. Or if private military contractors will continue to take funding away from the us military, weakening the country as a whole and making managers in the states rich while american patriots die. Maybe McCain would get serious too. And just maybe he would regain some of his integrity, instead of standing next to a suspect president, he could call for hearings into the actions of the whitehouse.
Barack Obama graduated in the top 1% “Magna cum Laude” from Harvard Law and was elected the first black President in the history of the Harvard Law Review. What is so surprising about this whole story is that Barack Obama didn’t even have a famous Admiral or President as a Father to rely on. This is truly what the American dream is all about! I believe that Barack Obama is without a doubt the obvious choice on having the highest IQ.
John McCain graduated the 894TH person out of 899 students, fifth from the bottom at the U.S. Naval Academy but when he was asked by a reporter he claimed that he was the first person in history to have gotten a perfect score on the U.S. Naval Academy entry examine. If so, there is no doubt in my mind that he had to have gotten previous. knowledge of the test with the help of his father. This is some serious stuff Jack!
I don't think you can compare the New Yorker cover to jokes made about McCain – get real. McCain seems to get a pass on things that are serious such as his running with Cindy while still married to a crippled wife who waited for him when she wasn't crippled and he was a P.O.W. This is not just gossip – he dumped his wife for $$CINDY$$. Why isn't there a magazine cover page about that?
Of course he is serious. He is in the running to become President of the United States. He is the personafication of MLK's dream in a way. He is smart, articulate, educated and a leader. He is also a black man who must be judged not by his skin color but by his character and his ability to lead. He has surrounded himself with a great group of people who have managed to keep the goof ups to a minimum. I do not know who these people are but I sure hope most of them are in the next administration.
Well, Jack, I think Obama is one of the most grounded and mature candidates to seek this office in the last 20 years. He may not have the gravitas of a John Kerry but i don't think he is lacking in humor. However, his humor is based on intellect, wordplay, and wit. It's not on the "Hey pull my finger!" level of the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. So, he's a brainiac. So nu?
I tell ya, Jack, There ain't nothin funny about a c student in the oval office.
Pablo in Arlington Tejas
These are serious times and we need serious candidates with serious solutions. But I have seen glimpses of Obama's good humor along the way, not to worry about that.
Jack, I don't think we are electing last comic standing.
Jack, we already have a class clown in the Oval Office... there's no need to repeat the damage its cause this nation and those abroad.
This guy is the most arrogant person I've ever heard speak.
I'm with Jesse.
Absolutely not. We've had enough clowns in the White House over the
last 40 years. From Nixon to Dubya. This nation faces serious problems
and it will take a serious minded leader to guide us through these times.
John McCain sure isn't that man, I only hope that Obama continues to be.
With the amount of criticism, (most of it unfair), the complex issues America must solve, and the very real threats on his life – I believe Obama has every right to take himself seriously. Besides, we've already have a clown in the Oval Office, we don't need another on the campaign trail!!!
The mess our country is in is NOT funny! The demise of truth, justice, and the American way is no joke. Hopefully, we will have occasion in the future to look back and laugh, but not now.
Well we have send enough jokers in the white house to make presidency a joke. We now need a serious guy that can fix all that makes created by those jokers.
Simply put, we can not afford another joker in white house
Obama can't afford not to act serious. Afterall he is the first black person to be taken SERIOUSLY as a canadate for the U.S Presidency. Besides if he were to act like the wealthy hillbillie in the white house he'd be labeled as a bafoon a slickster a smooth pimp daddy.
OBAMA "08" Love ya O
We don't want another joker in the White House. Enough!
Obama will be starring at the White House, not a minstrel show. Though I'm sure disappointing to a certain segment of our population, he is not merely here for our entertainment. Speaking of entertainment, Jack, can we really afford 8 more years of the "amusement" offered courtesy of Bushy Bush and the Funky Bunch?
Since being on the campaign trail over the past couple of years John McCain has provided the comics with enough faux pas and memory lapses for both candidates. The real joke will be when he gets elected in November and then joke will be on all Americans.
With the rising cost of gas and food, the war in Iraq and the housing crisis, America is looking for a leader who is not only serious, but capable of leading this country in a new direction. Isn't it obvious what can happen to the country when we have a President who doesn't take hisself seriously (Bush). I don't think Obama should change a think, The fusion of intellect and wit makes him the ideal candidate. And by the way, the reason that the late night hosts have to work so hard to find jokes about Obama is because Bush has made it easy for them for the last eight years.
All politicians are in danger of taking themselves too seriously. Between listening to so-call advisers, trying to come up with original thoughts, and doing the balancing act of trying to say what a particular audience wants to hear, it's sometimes hard to even remember if you tied your shoes when you put them on.
I think it is important for the person applying for the job of the highest office in our country to be serious and be taken seriously. It will be his job to direct policy in our country and work with other nations. I wouldn't like the class clown to end up as our president, especially at this point in our middle-age crisis as a nation.
All I'm saying is, give Smart a chance.
Are you seriously suggesting that because Obama hasn't slipped up more often, denying late night comedians fodder for their monologues, that he's some how taking himself too seriously? Is that his responsibility? The man has appeared on The Daily Show and SNL. I think he has a good sense of humor about himself.
He's actually one of the strongest, kindest, personable and funny men once you get to know him. The sad fact is that he's been held to a much higher standard by the media than any candidate in history (Because he's b-l-a-c-k and "the bar" keeps moving higher and higher), so he doesn't have the luxury of affording himself too many "light" moments for fear he'll be analyzed and critiqued to death as a goof-off or lightweight. And then, think of all the 527 and right-wing ads that would pounce on that image. Every move he makes creates a media "firestorm" or "backlash" and the nonstory goes on for days.
Meanwhile, John McCain spaces out, loses his temper, dances around issues, misquotes everyone including himself, shifts positions, misrepresent his own votes and outright lies and we hear nothing because he's such a media "darling" and a "maverick".
I don't think Barack Obama is taking himself too seriously. He just doesn't do the typical buffon like things that we are used to from our politicians. I noticed JibJab was able to make fun his change message so his campaign is not without something someone can find humor in.
It's not that he's taking himself too seriously, it's just that he's such a cool guy that there's nothing to make fun of!
Let's see, for the last four presidents we've had 1) the court jester, 2) the playboy, 3) Mr. Befuddled, and 4) a likeable character suffering from "mad cow". Perhaps we're due for someone who actually acts like a president.
Just let the guy do his job first. There's nothing funny about what he's facing, but I'm sure we'll all have a hoot after he's cleaned up the mess from the so-called funny one that's in there now.
Jack, there is nothing really funny about the fact that I'm about to lose my job in 2 weeks! (going out of business news). I think the next president should be very serious about fixing this mess that we are in now.
It seems he has a sound sense of humor, but understandably with all the "taking out of context" that happens in the campaigns, humor does not seem to be an affordable luxory.
I think that the late night shows are seeing that Obama will call them tasteless and racist.
Surely your question is rhetorical considering the fact that he is running for one of the most powerful positions in the free world. Lets hope he is taking himself and our country serious. I guess if he spent most of his time joking and laughing, you would wonder if he was not serious enough?
I certainly hope he takes himself seriously, I also hope he gives serious thought to his policies and judgements as the President of the United States should. We certainly haven't seen that in a good long while. In today's environment I don't think there is anything that can be taken too seriously, except for the mainstream media.
no,but these are serious times,and barack knows it.every attempt he makes at humor,himself ,he gets attacked for appearing arrogant,or not sticking to the issues.ie.the clinton 'brush-off'.he is being 'forced to be serious about the issues ,or republican smear-campaigner's will portray him on some PAC ad claiming he's not serious about changing the way the fed operates.more political catch-22,that barack has had to tightrope through.i think he's done an amazing job,and there is no sense ruining it,just so someone else can have a laugh.
By the way, Senator Obama has a great sense of humor, but he is too smart for any fool to make fun of him. When his intelligence is attacked, downplayed, or insulted, it falls flat because millions of Americans are smart too. The comedians, journalists, and republicans will have to chill.
Well.. that picture was certainly not funny and was indeed quite tasteless. It is one this to pick on a person for how they speak or little quarks but not to pull out all the rumors about them and put them together into one picture that dictates some American fears. Now, if you dressed up McCain in arab garb – that would be funny, because no one suspects him of being Muslim and from that people would see how ridiculous it would be for Obama to be Muslim – see the difference??
Obama can be a funny man, but that cartoon was NOT funny.
No Barack Obama is not taking himself to seriously. He is a man of change and not from the imbreeding that has been going on in capitol him. His parents aren't former rich anything and he is a true american who prides himself in doing the right thing. Its sad that so many want to find somethng wrong with what he does. It really shows how stereotypes play such a big role in what people think.
The next president of the United States of America should be serious enough not to say like, “American troops can be in Iraq for 100 years,” ”I don’t know much about economy”, “The Recession is not real but mental”, “The economy is basically OK”, “While the Government policies are responsible for bad economic conditions, let the people take care of the problems”, “I can talk of compassion in the general election for the presidency. I don’t have to have compassion during my eight years of two terms as president”, “I don’t have to remind the people about their true problems”, “I can tell, “No child should be left behind. But as president I don’t have to do anything more than that”, “I am going to Iraq for photo-op. I don’t have to discuss with the generals to refine my plans to bring the American troops home,” “I don’t have to engage the people to help the government to take care of their problems.” Se
No, but Maureen Dowd certainly is.
Jack I'm confused...you want Obama to act and sould like the bumbling idiot who currently occupies 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?
obama has a lot of moments on the campaign trail where his personality and sense of humor have come out.
if you are looking for a Bush clone in terms of stupidity McCain seems to be winning seeing he still thinks Czechoslovakia is still a country
Jack, there is a serious danger in a guy who thinks we are "Nation of whinners". Leave Senator Obama alone. Screwed Maureen Dowd. By the way, who wants to laugh when Karl Rove is still hanging out at Fox?
Bush has been a joke and a laughing stock, here and in the world.
McSame has had too many "senior" moments (the Viagra ad, as an example, or the Czech republic fiasco or Sunni versus Shia confusion). Finally, we have a smart, articulate leader with integrity....the presidency of the US is a SERIOUS matter and he is the man for it!
It's that McCain makes it soo easy for late night comics.
Jack, Obama is as serious as the Wolfman and we all know what a front that is for the funny man from Buffalo. Perhaps he's the straight guy we all need. Once he wins perhaps that mountain of pressure on his shoulders coming from around the world will open the flood gates of humour that many believe is just below his Presidential image.
We're talking about a possible president, right? We're talking about bad times for lots of folks, right?
At what point will you and all your little bobblehead friends realize this is more than sound bites and 15 second quips? More than just a paycheck from the TV?
Our very livelihood is at stake here. It always has been. It's because so many people haven't taken things seriously, and so many people haven't done their jobs as Americans, taken our leaders to task, that things have gone down so badly.
So as a fellow American, I'm asking you to just take things a little more seriously, to really decide if your actions are helping American as a whole, or yourself in part. You're a great guy, take this opportunity to make America even greater.
We are where we are because we have had a 'clown' in the oval office for 7+ years – and we have a clown in waiting in the likes of McCain.
There is nothing funny or humorous about the the economic downfall we are in, people losing their homes, their jobs, not able to provide health care for their families, or the fact that we are mired in a winless war in Iraq, or that we are paying ridiculous amounts for gas. Who sees anything funny in any of that? I see no humor in anything about this election and am really glad that Obama comprehends the 'seriousness' of the mess we are in.
Make us laugh, Jack? What is laughable is the assertion that one of the jobs of the President is to make us laugh. I don't really care how seriously he takes himself, but I do care how seriously he takes the US economy, the environment, health care, and our relationships with other countries. Quite frankly I have had quite enough political "humor" in the last 7 plus years and I'm am not laughing anymore.
Obama taking himself serious..Ha! I laugh everytime he says he his bringing the troops home in less than two years. Ha ha, then he'll turn around and send them back to a bigger war in the middle east. Well, he does say it with a serious face.
Selecting a president of the United States is no joke or nothing to make a joke of. To some of us life is serious and we need a serious person involved. We see what can happen when jokes are used as the standard of communication.
These are difficult times we live in. It feels like there's less and less to laugh about each day. I think Obama's seriousness is a reflection of the difficult situation our nation is in.
No, I don't think he's in danger of taking himself too seriously.
Americans will be voting in November for the President of the United States of America – not a comedian.
All y'all need to lighten up.
I can think of SEVERAL things wrong with the way this country is going, and it starts with people who are too lazy to spellcheck themselves, too lazy to use proper English grammar, and too stupid to notice or care.
Personally, I favor Brad Pitt for President! The last actor we had in the White House did a damned fine job. Let's try it again!
Jack, this is really dumb, although you can rest assured knowing that, eventually, he will do something really stupid that will make us all laugh. Then, and only then, will he be worthy of leading our nation. Right?
Even if Obama is taking himself too seriously, I'm sure President Bush could lend him a joke or two with his executive privilege. He (Bush) seems to be quite fond of handing those out.
Jack, Not a question of Sen. Obama taking himself too seriously, but perhaps the media taking him too seriously. Following one of the primary debates, just before John Edward pulled out, Obama did a great stand-up routine on responding the question of "what is your greatest weakness" noting that he should have answered that his greatest weakness was wanting to help little old ladies across the street. And .... do we really want a candidate running who we laugh at in the same way we laugh at George W? Steve
Why do people keep questioning Obama's experience by referring to him as a "one term senator from illinois". George W. Bush was the governor of Texas before he became president. F.Y.I. That post holds as much authority as the Queen of England.
Almost 8 years of a clown doing what they do, serious would be a welcome change.
Obama can't change the way the government works, if you fools elect him we will all suffer, he lies and only says what people want to hear, you all should know darn well 90% of his ramblings can't be done with the current congress (Dems). Lift the stinking oil ban and watch prices drop. Gas powered vehicles are not going away anytime soon. We need oil here in the states. Nancy Pelosi is a complete idiot. The presidential choices suck every year.No wonder I have never voted at 44 years old. Would it really matter.
After seven and a half years of George W. Bush, I'm amazed that you are even asking this question.
We've seen what happens when we elect someone we'd "like to have a beer with". What is really distressing is that so many Americans judge candidates by criteria as silly as that.
the richest 2% pay over 90% of the nations taxes. they deserve a break imo.
This is a ridiculous question.
GWB takes himself way too seriously. It's his actions that are so funny.(if they weren't so serious)
The comedians find funny things to say.
Bush has been the biggest joke for the past seven and a half years. I want a president who is better than that. I have seen enough interviews with Barack and Michelle Obama to know they have a good sense of humor. It's the task of taking back the White House that he is being deadly serious about and I'm glad about that.
With all the misconceptions about who exactly Barack Obama is, it would'nt hurt him to yuck it up a little. I dont know anyone who doesnt like to laugh so it would do a lot to help his image as a regular guy and not someone bent on establishing an Islamic Caliphate and making our women wear bee keeper uniforms.
The New Yorker cover's irony was not meant to draw laughs; it was meant to hold a mirror to those intentional, political misconstruals which seem so cartoonish that the are difficultly refuted through reasoned arguments. Personally, I thought it was ill-conceived (due to the cover's secondary/unintended targets like Islam–how can one not come away with a sense that Islam in America is taboo or even negative from the article, even if the real target is far right commentary?). Nevertheless, your question is awkward, as humor was never the primary intent of the cartoon in question.
Senator Obama should continue being himself! That's it! Where do you come up with these questions?
Right now with the very serious domestic and interational problems it's good to have a president who takes things seriously. But what Obama can do is to arrange an appearance here and there where he can lighten up.
everyone seems to be afraid to mock BO or take him to task on anything whatsoever.... the guy said there are 57 states! his own wife said their daughters think he stinks in the morning...... he ponders arugula prices while talking to struggling Iowa farmers. If McCain's age can be joked about ad nauseum, why not mock BO's big flapping Dumbo the elephant ears. I could go on and on with other examples, but why bother? He is being handled with kid gloves and no one has the guts to do otherwise. His faltering & slow paced speaking manner would be perfect for someone to mimic, but he is so sacred to the media and the rest of his cultish followers that no one bothers.
Of course I don't know if he is. But an educated guess about why few Obma jokes on Letterman, Leno etc. because of race. Political correctness is probably the best policy in the case of Barack.
Why is it that when a black politician or athlete or entertainer, is offended by something said, we believe or give the benefit of the doubt to that individual. Can't black people be overfly sensitive or a little paranoid, or take offense when there is no need to, like the rest of us sometime do?
Obama's immaturity, insecurity, and lack of readiness to be President shows as each opportunity to laugh at himself gets re-defined as a racist attack. Oh pleeeaase spare us voters this nonsense.
I wish he would take his energy policy more seriously! No vision, no plan, no details given, yet. He wants to throw $150 BILLION at an alternate energy plan over the next 10 years(and no, NO DRILLING!), but without a clear plan we may just spend the money and achieve little. Currently we're throwing about $10 BILLION/month at Iraq, and it is not going all that well!
Russ from Des Moines
anybody who feels the need to lecture and patronize his constituents on a regular basis is indeed taking himself too seriously. Can the preaching and lighten up!
Mr Obama actually seems to always generate laughs during his gatherings except when it's one that is expected to be widely viewed by the media. With him being so closely scrutinized I think he is more careful thus comes across as very serious sometimes. Give the man a break, he's an African American treading on new ground.
We've had seven plus years under a President who can't seem to take his job seriously. Wasn't that our President making a fool of himself and our nation, joking around in Europe about global warming as though he hasn't a care in the world?
If Barack Obama errs to the side of sober, I'm okay with it. This is not about being a talk show host. This is about restoring dignity to the position, on a global stage.
I also have confidence that once elected, and relieved of pre-election nitpicking by the press, Obama will let his hair down. Make that, relax. I'm sure the guy is smart enough to take, and make, a joke.
But for now, this election is about serious issues and serious decisions, and I'm choosing Barack. The Serious One.
Chappaqua, New York
One thing for sure, you definitely can't take George serious. I feel sorry for him trying to answer a simple question at a news conference. He can't talk, think or respond in an intelligent manner but "he's workin hard". Seems that's GW's answer to everything. Pathetic isn't it? Yes, I think its about time we get serious before we're all headed for Mexico or China to look for a job!!!
It's not a matter of Barack taking himself too seriously. Rather, it's a matter of America really has nothing to laugh about these days. My attitude will change when I can playfully think of spending some money for something other than food and gasoline.
Just what we need... a Presidential candidate who doesn't take himself and the world seriously.
How about Fred Flintstone?
Hi Jack! I am really confused! How has it become Barack's fault or
responsibility because others are unable to poke fun at him? I like him just the way he is. He does not need to change to give late night comics fodder for their material!
Sure he should back off a bit but he knows his current attitude cuts down on criticism. No one can denigrate or lampoon him without being called a rascist. It is part of a strategy to avoid real issues at all cost.
Even the late night comedians are afraid to joke about him. Some poor fool should do count of the number of McCain putdowns and jokes compared to those directed at his opponent.
This plays right into the media's strategy "Nothing negative about OUR guy"!
I *want* a president who takes himself seriously. I want a dignified president, not someone who dons sunglasses and blows into a saxophone for five minutes on late-night TV in an attempt to be hip. The problem is this: the liberal elites are taking him too seriously. He is not the second coming. He is not perfect. He is simply a serious politician for serious times, and nothing more. We should not expect him to be a comedian, a musician, or a regular guy.
Sunny Isles Beach, FL
I believe all of the humorous presidential moments you mentioned were not performed on purpose. It may be a fairly good idea to be serious, considering the ecomony, war, etc. scenarios this country finds itself in at the present time. I do not know about other citizens, but I am not in the habit of "requiring" my leader to be humorous. I may not even want to hang out with the guy. As long as he performs his job at a high level, I don't care if he has the personality of a wet mop.
Barack is real, mabye he doesn't make that many mistakes so he's not so funny. But he is the guy to fix what has been broken for a long time. I myself would rather have a serious guy that can fix these big problems than a comedian. Obama 08,12 let the VP be funny. Hey and he can't bowl laugh about that.
The economic crisis we are in started well over 40 years ago when the US started to run in a perpetual deficit. You can hardly blame it solely on the person last in line. It's incredible to see people who actually believe it's entirely Bush's fault. Ignorance is indeed blissful. Very amusing. I think the question of whether Obama is too serious or not is kind of silly. Of course he should be serious. I am sure there are other more pressing things to discuss in this forum.
Nobama in '08!
Senator Obama is facing great responsibilities and challenges. I think it's appropriate to present himself seriously. He's shown us some light moments but when so many people are losing their jobs, their homes, and their money and have to worry about what will happen if they should get sick, do we really want jokes? George Bush has been joking with us for 8 years and I'm not laughing!
I'm a conservative Republican and I felt the front cover of the New Yorker was very distasteful. I have always been a fair voter; I voted for Bill Clinton both times and I voted for President Bush so in my point of view there's nothing funny about taking office as President of the United States. I believe the news agencies should stay on point with the facts and lessen the chances of being viewed as politically sided.
Regarding Barack Obama lightening up so the media and others can make some fun of him like past Presidents.
The U.S. is in a crisis because of idiot Bush and his Republican compatriots.
These are serious times and I want a guy that is serious about correcting the huge problems we have.
Obama is affable enough for me in conversations. If I want a comedian, I'll watch Rickles or tune in to Leno or Letterman.
Jack Kirwan – Las Vegas
I believe that Senator Obama has been forced to be so serious because of the pioneering accomplishment he might be able to achieve. It is absolutley wonderful that there is a black presidential candidate so soon after an era where hoses were used to deal with african americans wanting freedom. If the flood gates of ridicule and witticism are opened, it is only a slippery slope to more offensive and racist comments posed as "jokes".
I think Sen. Obama has clearly shown he has a sense of humor but if anyone is suggesting he should throw his head back and do a bunch of belly laughs when a major magazine has a cover – with no explanatory headline – depicting he and his wife as muslim terrrorists with burning flags and devotion to Bin Laden they are nuts! Humor has limits and this is clearly a line that's been crossed. If the depiction on the New Yorker cover was a picture of Cindy McCain tossing pills (she's a recovered addict) and drinking beer the world would be on fire with conservative and the media alike lining up to condemn the poor taste.
Let's ask Sen. Obama to be willing to laugh at himself but respect him when he doesn't laugh when the joke is hurtful and not funny.
No, I do not think that Obama is to serious. We have already had one comedian as president thats been in office for his full term, why would we want another? Hes might be the next President not the winner of Last Comic Standing.
Liberals always take themselves too seriously. That is why they are unhappy, humorless, and dour.
Unlike many of the senator's constiuants, the media has allowed Sen. Barack has little or no room for levity as he is criticized for anything he does...including sneezing. And he has faired well under the extremes that he has been under so far! It's damn if he does and damn if he doesn't. His response has been so extradinarily cool that no one knows quite what to do to ruffle his feathers...does he have feathers?
I can't believe that is a question about someone running for president .
what are we coming to? This country is on the road to disaster and you ask that question. HUH
Gas is approaching $5.00 a gallon; the deficit is uncountable, the amount of money that the US is spending on 2 wars is more than the baby boomers can dream of paying down, or the Gen Xer's for that matter. The stock market is in the toliet; and Iran pretty much does want it wants. How much more serious do you want to get in one presidential election.
After having a CLOWN in office for 8 years ,we need a serious intelligent person in office.
By the Way.... A Potatato... Is a Spud...... Or a 'Bag of French Fries'...
Jack, you take you too seriously.
I have no doubt that when Barack Obama becomes President he will relax a little. Unfortunately with what is at stake in this election and the way each candidate's every word scrutinized, I am not exactly in the mood for humor from a Presidential candidate. Besides, I want to give back my lunch every time I see our current President smurk, smile or joke around...gives me the willies!!!
We have serious problems in this country, and we need serious, smart people to solve them. The war in Iraq, the mortgage crisis, an executive branch and a Republican party out of touch with the problems most Americans are facing all seem pretty serious to me. It's not hard for me to overlook the Senators lack of levity because frankly, I'm not laughing either.
You ol' curmudgeon...let's not throw stones from glass houses
Well, I remember JFK and how proud we all were then. I sure can not remember anyone making fun of him. Then the office of the president was not a laughing matter and should not be now. It is about time we had a president that lifts it up again.
The George Bush presidency has provided us with 2 lifetimes of comedy material. His gaffs, outrageous comments and stupidity are so funny I forgot to laugh. In fact they are so painful, it always hurts when I laugh. We have been embarrassed long enough and I can't wait for January to roll around.
I like the dignity, intellegence and big warm smile of Obama. It's time to leave baffoonery behind and get to the hard work of paying attention and getting us back on track.
I find little to laugh about in America today. I want a President taking our problems seriously. Too bad media has a "problem" making fun of a hard-working, qualified contender.
I sure hope Obama is taking things seriously, it's about time someone in government did.
A few jokes won't hurt...maybe a stop by SNL before November would help. He could call Dave Chapelle for some jokes. Where's Charlie Murphy when you need him?
Obama has a sense of humor, which he frequently turns on himself, but I think his predominantly serious, thoughtful and poised demeanor is appropriate given the mess we are in, today.
Last time we had a tall, skinny, one-term Senator from IL, we ended up taking him quite seriously - though he frequently used self-deprecating humor towards himself just like Obama does. Who? Abraham Lincoln.
Obviously some commenters can't read your column. For crying out loud....yes, he needs to lighten up along with a majority of his supporters. The people that get upset about everything said regarding Obama are really starting to grate on my nerves. It is alright to say anything (and I mean anything) about the other (all other canidates) but not Obama? What is the problem? He takes himself to seriously and his campaign doesn't help, jumping back and attacking everything thing that is said about him. We didn't have a funny president for the last eight years, we had a stupid one and there is a big difference. I don't want to vote for either of these canidates and really hate the choices. I know a lot of other people that feel the same way. Enough already!
For all of the reasons stated above supporting Obama's stance in this presidential race, he absolutely should take himself seriously. Barack Obama is a very balanced and secure individual, and that shows abundantly in his public demeanor. Unfortunately, the Bushes and McChuckleheads in this country are threatened by that and so they make it their business to poke him with sharp sticks rather than fess up to their own failings. They'd rather continue to boost their egos with self-deception at the peril of America's economy and working middle class – like myself – than admit their mistakes and let someone who knows how to negotiate and empower people lead this once-great nation. Politicians like Bush and McCain have shamed America long enough. We need to be a great nation once again in the context of a changed global society.
I believe Barack Obama is not taking "himself" too seriously, rather he is taking the seriousness of the responsibilities of the job and the honor of representing the United States as the first minority President seriously.
I believe him to be a truly talented and remarkable human being and a leader our Nation and the world so needs.
As an African-American middle manager who had to supervise white employees on neutral turf I was greeted the first day on the job with a poster of an ape eating a banana over the door. Thick skinned that I am I ignored it. I could sense the puzzlement from my subordinants. It was supposed to be funny. When I decided to lighten up a bit I began feeling knives in my back. To Obama I would say, watch stay serious and watch your back.
Obama is a pompous, self-absorbed ass! Pseudo Presidential Seals, speeches at the Brandenburg Gate!? As much as he wants to pretend to be Kenedy reincarnate, he's no Jack Kenedy. The fact that the media is slobbering all over themselves over Obama and not reporting the flip-flops, its not even possible to criticize for fear of being labeled a racist!
No Jack! After 8 years of a 'joker' (George Bush) leading our country, America needs to take the office of the Presidency seriously and respectfully!!!
Jack – Boring question. We tend to like to laugh about what is the painful truth. Now can we get back to the republicans.
As a nation we are actively fighting in two wars, we have an economy on the brink of potential collapse, record numbers of Americans are losing their homes and inflation is jumping which will only make the housing crisis worse.
A bit of seriousness would do us good after 8 years of "The Decider".
This is a joke, right? Obama isn't telling people not to laugh at him. If there aren't good jokes about the guy then blame the writers, not Obama. Have you seen the size of the guy's ears lately? Or how about the fact that he can't pronounce Massachusetts? Or what about his effort at bowling? Obviously "jokes" about his race or religious affiliation aren't funny, but it's not fair to say he's taking himself too seriously. I've seen many instances of self-depricating humor from the guy. I think it's the press that's taking him too seriously.
I am an old woman, with high hopes and it's hard to laugh at something that threatens to derail my candidate. My head tells me that if this keeps up my heart is going to be deeply disappointed.
Too Serious, Are you Serious?
Well Jack I'm an Obama supporter all for a good laugh, even at the expense of Obama. As a matter of fact I've laughed at jokes about him before, but the New Yorker's attempt at political sattire was tasteless. So I guess if the jokes are like that my harty appetite for comedy will end forever. Maybe they should consult Jeff Foxworthy next time and get it right!!!
Why should he lighten up and why should the late night tv hosts feel as if they can make jokes of any of the candidates? I have received so much garbage over the internet about Mr. Obama that is untrue, he probably is beging cautious whenever he opens his mouth. And I, for one ,say who could blame him. I think the media, be it TV or the written word ,has gone overboard making fun of our elected officials. It seems nothing is taken seriously any more.
As a Black American I can understand why Senator Obama feels the need to take himself so seriously. Despite all of his accomplishments I know he must constantly feel the need to prove himself and distance himself from the stereotypes associated with our race. His wife is characterized as the angry Black Woman and he as the secret Muslim America hater. I actually see him as a genuinely lighthearted individual – compare that with the odd McCain giggle topped with the inability to comprehend that a few of his jokes are in bad taste.
"You know what I am saying..."
San Jose, Costa Rica