Informality Excess: Obama Replacing 'Hail to the Chief' With Sting's 'Desert Rose'?

Veteran CBS Radio White House correspondent Mark Knoller reports that President Obama is relaxing more than the dress code at the presidential mansion. Pomp is giving way to piano-bar pop:

On Day One of his presidency, everywhere Mr. Obama went they played "Hail to the Chief" for him – but not since. In fact the U.S. Marine Band's duties at the White House over the last 10 days appear to have been dramatically downsized.

Instead of the usual contingent of trumpets, tubas and drums, a single piano player now provides musical interludes before and after the president's appearance.

And the tunes have little connection to the military marching music of John Phillips Souza [sic] that is the usual accompaniment to presidential appearances. These days the pianist's repertoire includes Cole Porter's "Night and Day" and Sting’s "Desert Rose."

"He's not a 'Pomp and Circumstance' kind of guy," says press secretary Robert Gibbs of the new president.

To many Americans, this excessive informality suggests a real distaste for "official" or "patriotic" music, not to mention the Marine band that plays it.

This issue is light enough that Matt Lauer could have asked about it yesterday during his fluffy pre-Super Bowl interview. Will the rest of the media inquire about this musical flag-pin controversy?

At this rate, why doesn't he just put his i-Pod in a speaker and hit "Shuffle"?

UPDATE: Apparently, the makers of Barack-in-a-Box are stuck with toys that crank "Hail to the Chief." (There's a video if you click on Hillary-in-a-Box.)

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis