NEWS BLOG (WSAU) Politicians aren't expecting tough questions from Oprah Winfrey. She accidentally set up a land mine for Barack Obama during the ABC White House Christmas special.
"Give yourself a grade for your first year in office," she asked.
"Solid B plus" he answered. And that would improve to an A-minus if health care would make it through congress.
Politically, the right answer to this question is not the grade Barack Obama thinks he deserves. Politically, the right answer is the grade the voters would give him. And the morning after the Oprah interview came as Rasmussen poll that puts the President's job-approval rating at 44-percent. Not B-plus territory.
The problem with Oprah's question is this: grade yourself too high, and you look like an ego-maniac who's out of touch with Main Street. Grade yourself too low, something like a "C" or worse, and you're left vulnerable to the commentary of "even he concedes things aren't going well."
The proper answer was, "I give myself an incomplete. I'm working on a lot of long-term issues, and a year hasn't been enough time to get the results I expect." Health care, the economy, Afghanistan, the environment... that answer would have been refreshingly honest, and an accurate first-year assessment.
Operations Manager, Midwest Communications-Wausau