Fineman: On Train a 'Down-Home Folksiness' Between Journalists and Obama

Catching up with something from Saturday I just came across, Newsweek's Howard Fineman pointed out on MSNBC just before 6 PM EST, as the Obama-Biden train arrived at Washington, DC's Union Station, that he was reading “the pool reports that have been filed by reporters on the train and they refer to Barack Obama as PEBO, which is short for 'President-elect Barack Obama.'” Fineman felt that illustrated how “there's an intimacy and a familiarity on that train,” presumably between the journalists and Obama, one shared by Fineman who hailed Obama's “many gifts” and saw “a down-home folksiness that belies the tremendous hopes that not only the country, but the whole world, have for him.”

Full quote, which matches an MP3 audio clip (160 Kb, 26 secs):
I've been reading the pool reports that have been filed by reporters on the train and they refer to Barack Obama as PEBO, which is short for “President-elect Barack Obama” and there's an intimacy and a familiarity on that train, a down-home folksiness, that belies the tremendous hopes that not only the country, but the whole world, have for him.
More of Fineman, from 5:56 PM EST on January 17, during a special Saturday edition of Hardball broadcast from Washington's Mall:
I got to say as a reporter, that these are the kind of moments that you and I got in the business for -- these few days, starting yesterday, continuing through Tuesday, because whatever history is, this is it and it's the moment for people like [fellow guest Maryland Democratic Congressman ] Elijiah Cummings and for the whole country to revel in. And those pictures you had of Obama arriving here, President-elect Obama arriving at Union Station so rich with history, so many echoes of the past including, as you mentioned Lincoln basically having to sneak into town in 1861. And the distance we've traveled since then is almost unimaginable, but yet very much in the American grain.

I've been reading the pool reports that have been filed by reporters on the train and they refer to Barack Obama as PEBO, which is short for “President-elect Barack Obama” and there's an intimacy and a familiarity on that train, a down-home folksiness, that belies the tremendous hopes that not only the country, but the whole world, have for him.

He has the gift of familiarity, of being able to seem as though he is talking straight to you and straight to people as individuals even when he's making sweeping declarations about the country -- which is, among his many gifts, that's probably one of the most important now because he's calling on people, as individuals, to pitch in in these tough economic times we're facing.
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center