His team is on overdrive and I have no idea when he sleeps. In 24 hours there were three major announcements, a national address and a CNN interview –all delivered with an eerie calm. His strategy appears to be to announce something unpleasant, then something nice. Intersperse this with a green policy to keep the climate brigade happy, and then say something cute about the kids.
He reassured the nation that the expected floods in North Dakota would be dealt with and the emergency services were prepared. This was damage limitation and of course a dig at Bush, whose delayed reaction to the flood chaos in New Orleans was a PR disaster. When he announced GM and Chrysler were not to receive state money, he looked straight into the camera and calmly said: ‘Every decision counts when it comes to restoring the American dream.’
This is the genius of Obama. He is the American dream; he is the change, the hope, and his constant old-school references are soothing a nation that needs someone in charge of the economically terrifying situation. Obama’s team knows the President needs to be seen every day and when he is not on television one is surrounded by his image.
It is impossible to underestimate the levels of bonkers Obama merchandise here in New York. In Greenwich Village stalls sell ‘Barack is my Homeboy’ sweatshirts. Even better is the Obama aftershave called ‘Yes we can!’ –with a picture of the whole family on the bottle (all my Christmas gift problems solved).
The pumped-up news channels show footage of Gordon Brown back in the UK and he has never looked so tired. Looking at the PM from another country is a chilling reminder of just how bad it is for him. I was almost getting used to his pallor, considering it normal that the man in charge should look so drained. Time is ticking, Boris Johnson has beaten Brown to a prime spot in Madame Tussauds and there is no ‘Gordon’ aftershave to be found anywhere...
Tara Hamilton-Miller is a political adviser and formerly worked for the Conservative Party press team