The New York Times
This past week, Obama unleashed his greatest political force, himself. Instead of staying in Washington to sort out the stimulus package, he went to the people. Utilizing his campaign approaches, he spoke with the people about the new bill and received their feedback. He listened and tried his best to solve their financial issues. While not an example of public diplomacy, it is a great example of soft power. Instead of trying to coerce the American public into supporting policies, Obama attempts to attract the people. He employed his own personal culture, the true American Dream, to gain the trust of the public. Many Americans have felt that Obama gave into Washington; this move to visit the country has altered their opinion and renewed their faith.
While it is not unique for a president to reach out to the people as Franklin D. Roosevelt did with his fireside chat, it is a very different approach from President Bush. President Bush never altered his message and appeared closed to the opinions of the outside world, isolating the United States. Obama's campaign approach to receive support for domestic policies conveys the same theme as his approach to the Middle East, going to the people and listening to their concerns. He has opened up the United States to the public- both international and domestic.