Obama’s Oval Office address reflects struggle to be heard

7 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

For Speech, Obama Selects a Setting He Usually Shuns: The Oval Office.

President Barack Obama will make a rare address to the nation Sunday night in which he is expected to reassure Americans about U.S. efforts to combat terrorism after attacks at home and abroad have Americans questioning their safety. “What you’re going to hear from him is a discussion about what government is doing to ensure all of our highest priority — the protection of the American people,” U.S.WASHINGTON — When the cameras blink on for Sunday night’s address on the San Bernardino, Calif., shootings and the threat from the Islamic State, President Obama will deliver it from the Oval Office, a place for speechmaking that he has largely shunned during his presidency. Lynch said that the president also plans to talk about the security measures the country has taken since the Paris attacks, as well as outline the efforts the country has taken since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

The Islamic State’s core leadership in Syria played a role in planning the attack in Paris and the bombing of a Russian jet over Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, according to intelligence reports. Probably in part because America was showing increased concern about the threat of terror attacks and skepticism about Obama’s strategy to prevent them — even before San Bernardino. The address comes in the middle of a heated presidential race in which Republican White House hopefuls have said Obama’s policies have made the country less safe from terrorist attacks.

Such home-grown, self-radicalized attacks are notoriously resistant to detection by U.S. intelligence services and designed to provoke division and a backlash against Muslims. That criticism has grown more fierce in recent months, as the terrorist network has initiated or inspired attacks beyond those borders — in Paris; in Beirut, Lebanon; in the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt; and, perhaps, last week in the United States.

That Post/ABC poll also found that a majority of Americans didn’t have much confidence that the government could keep terrorists from striking again on U.S. soil. He announced the killing of Osama bin Laden in a speech from the East Room, a location that allows him to stride up to the lectern through the Cross Hall of the White House as the cameras are rolling.

In the Post/ABC poll from last month, 60 percent approved of increasing the number of troops employed in the fight (which is slightly different wording than the question posed in CBS and CNN/ORC polling over time). Much of that support for using ground troops is from Republicans who, as always, are more critical of the Obama presidency than independents or Democrats. Perhaps the most telling response from our most recent survey, offering insight into why Obama feels the need to address the situation at this moment, was when Americans were asked if the country was at war with radical Islam. The desk, sitting between the viewer and the president, becomes an obstacle for those watching, a distraction from the president’s message, they said.

There are far fewer American soldiers in harm’s way today than in 2006 and 2007, when more than 100 U.S. troops were being killed each month and heavy pressure was on Bush to withdraw U.S. forces.

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