John Feehery: Speaking Engagements



Posted on October 5, 2012

I shuddered my I heard the word.

I was waiting in the Green Room to do MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell show.  On the television, Mitchell was conducting an interview.


John Sununu, the former Governor of New Hampshire, the former White House Chief of Staff, the current father of the former Senator of New Hampshire, had just called the President of the United States lazy.

Mitchell was shocked.  She asked Sununu if he wanted to take back what he said.

Instead, the former Governor doubled down.

"Lazy and disengaged.”

Calling out Presidents on their work habits is nothing new.

Ike was criticized for playing way too much golf.

Reagan was condemned for taking naps in the afternoon.

Bush the II was roundly mocked for taking too many vacations.

But calling President Obama lazy was over the line.

It has obvious racist implications, implications that Sununu should have known about.

And the fact of the matter is that it is not true.

One does not become President of the United States if one is lazy.

Getting to be President is hard, hard work.  You have to raise money.  You have to organize.  You have to work hard at meeting people.  You have to get up early in the morning and stay up late at night.

And once you are President, laziness is not an option.

You can’t sit on the couch and watch ESPN all day.  You have to run the country.  You have to meet with your national security people and your cabinet and political leaders and business leaders and labor leaders and big donors and the media, and if you are this President, you have to go on The View and David Letterman and Jay Leno and all of those other television shows.

No, Obama is not lazy.

He does have misplaced priorities.

When the country was in the middle of a jobs crisis, the President worked extra hard to enact a health care law that made the jobs crisis worse.

After the President lost the midterm elections (and make no mistake, it was the President’s loss), he worked extra hard to raise money and campaign for reelection.  Of course, he didn’t do much to actually govern the country, and as I have continually said, good governing trumps good campaigning.

But the President is more comfortable campaigning than he is working with Republicans to get good things done for the American people.

Mr. Obama is not lazy.  That term is offensive and needlessly polarizing.

He works hard.  The problem is that he is working hard doing the wrong things.