Going Public: President Obama and Major Sporting Events

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Brandon German


This paper examines the tool of 'going public' and how modern presidents are wielding it more than presidents of the past. Modern presidents have begun to directly appeal to the American public in order to gather support for one's policy positions. If sufficient support can be gathered, public opinion on these issues can put pressure on other politicians to take notice and, support these policies as well. President Obama has pioneered the going public movement in different ways than presidents of the past. Unlike modern presidents before him, President Obama has used soft news sources, especially major sporting events, as a means of going public. During almost every major sporting event that occurred in the United States during President Obama 's two terms, he could be seen giving a televised speech to the millions that were tuning into watch the game. When analyzing speeches that President Obama has given during sporting events, he spoke about both sports and politics, yet during sporting events with higher viewership ratings, President Obama would speak more about politics than sports. On the contrary, during sporting events with smaller viewership ratings, President Obama would speak more about sports than politics. President Obama used his Jove for sports as a platform for going public to reach out to millions of citizens that he might not have reached otherwise.

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