AP: Obama Playing 'Grand Tourist' in Rio 'Sure to Endear Him Even More' to Brazilian People

In a report for the Associated Press on Sunday, Jim Kuhnhenn fawned over President Obama's tour of Rio De Janeiro during a trip to Brazil: "Obama played grand tourist....The president's sightseeing Sunday was sure to endear him even more to a diverse and multicultural country where his personal story already makes him popular."

The article described how Obama, while visiting a community center in one of Rio's poorest slums, "shed his coat and tie, rolled up his sleeves and dribbled one-on-one soccer with one surprised boy." And noted: "The president walked out into the streets and waved to throngs of residents who cheered him from rooftops and balconies. Dozens of young children pressed up against a chainlink fence trying to get a look."

Kuhnhenn mentioned U.S. military action in Libya as if it were a distraction from Obama's real job: "The president had been on a conference call with his top advisers earlier Sunday to get briefed on the effort as juggled his touristing and economic outreach in Latin America with the unceasing demands of being commander-in-chief."

He went on to observe: "Obama's attention has been divided. He's been forced to shuttle from meetings with his host, President Dilma Rousseff, and with Brazilian and U.S. executives to briefings and secure calls with his national security team. With the conflict in North Africa sure to continue to intrude, Obama was heading from his shanty town tour to deliver a speech promoted as an address to the Brazilian people."

CBS's Sunday edition of the Evening News seemed to pick up on the tone of the AP article, as White House correspondent Chip Reid declared: "It's being called the split-screen presidency – on one side the military operation in Libya; on the other President Obama in Brazil, visiting a Rio de Janeiro shanty town known as the City Of God. And refusing to allow the turmoil in Libya to distract him from what he insists is vitally important business here."

As TimesWatch's Clay Waters reported, Monday's New York Times also praised Obama's stop in Brazil: "Brazilians who gathered at a plaza trying to catch a glimpse of him said that he had inspired millions in this country because of his African heritage."

— Kyle Drennen is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. You can follow him on Twitter here.
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC