We all get distracted. As you read this, you might be thinking of the conference call you need to dial into or the sandals you need to order online, or how funny “How I Met Your Mother” was last night. Have you ever given a speech during a personal crisis? Or had to keep a smile on your face and a spring in your step with your kids during a very stressful time in your career? Have you had to harbor the confidentiality of impending layoffs during a staff meeting? How hard was it to keep on your game face? Like millions (billions?) of people worldwide, President Obama is being praised for his oversight of the historic raid Sunday May 1 that led to the capture and death of Osama Bin Laden. I’d like to also praise him for his fortitude in staying the course, keeping his appointments and not giving any signs of a historic moment about to unfold in the coming hours. How hard that must have been. Think about it.
On the Friday before the mission, when he gave final approval on the mission, President Obama flew to tornado-ravaged Alabama. On Saturday he joked around at the White House Correspondents Dinner, all journalists’ eyes on the president’s every facial tic and mannerism. Over the past week he heeded Donald Trump’s demands to show his birth certificate, however “silly” the request was. Three days before the raid, he had a meeting with the President of Panama, and though I don’t profess to be a political scientist, I’m pretty sure Panama and Osama had nothing in common. When you think about how hard it is to not be distracted every day, to juggle multiple personal and professional balls in the air, to keep previously scheduled appointments even though you’d rather be somewhere else, it is a quite miraculous week that Obama had. Think about it.
– Diane Schwartz