Presidents keep to-do lists too, check Obama’s pocket

September 28, 2010

Even presidents don’t escape to-do lists. Granted they include more weighty items than mundane reminders to pick up groceries after work.

President Barack Obama, it turns out, keeps one in his pocket. RUSSIA/

“I keep in my pocket a checklist of the promises I made during the campaign, and here I am, halfway through my first term, and we’ve probably accomplished 70 percent of the things that we said we were going to do,” Obama says in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine (yes, the same publication that did a profile of General Stanley McChrystal which led  to his firing).

“I’ve got two years left to finish the rest of the list, at minimum. So I think that it is very important for Democrats to take pride in what we’ve accomplished,” Obama says.

The president is in campaign mode. It’s just a month before the November election and he’s trying to drum up enthusiasm for Democratic candidates who are worried about losing their majority in Congress. And being on the cover of Rolling Stone helps the president get an audience with younger voters.

Obama talked about problem-solving and how the easy ones get handled before reaching him. “The issues that cross my desk are hard and complicated, and oftentimes involve the clash not of right and wrong, but of two rights. And you’re having to balance and reconcile against competing values that are equally legitimate.”

(Perhaps the answers are blowing in the wind?)

Obama has found that not everyone is in awe of the White House. Bob Dylan for one.

When the music icon performed at the White House, he didn’t go to rehearsal and he didn’t want his picture taken with the president and first lady. He came, played “The Times They Are A-Changin’,” stepped off the stage, “shakes my hand, sort of tips his head, gives me just a little grin, and then leaves,” Obama said.

“And that was it — then he left. That was our only interaction with him. And I thought: That’s how you want Bob Dylan, right? You don’t want him to be all cheesin’ and grinnin’ with you. You want him to be a little skeptical about the whole enterprise. So that was a real treat.”

Photo credit: Reuters/Alexander Demianchuk (Caricature of Obama at a political cartoon exhibit in Russia)

One comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see

[…] Reuters Blogs (blog) […]

Posted by Calls for longer school years face budget reality – The Associated Press | Report as abusive

Spin, spin, spin…. ha, ha, ha. The O-Blame-a interpretation of Bob Dylan not wanting to be seen with a sleazy politician is hilarious.

Posted by cynicalme | Report as abusive