Obama hits high note with stealth 'singing strategy'

OPINION - One of the ways the president and by extension the first lady are #winning the charm race to win back the 'Hope' and 'Change' camp is by being awesomely likable...

Luther Vandross was outed as gay after his death.

President Obama is certainly feeling good about his re-election chances, especially with economic indicators and poll numbers swinging in his favor. But one of the ways that the president, and by extension the first lady, is #winning the charm race to win back the “Hope” and “Change” camp is by being awesomely likable.

When the clip of President Obama singing Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” at an Apollo fundraiser hit the web, it was an instant Internet sensation that even prompted an official campaign ringtone.

The president’s smooth falsetto and bright smile were simply irresistible even to many Americans who disagree with him on policy. This week, another clip of President Obama singing hit the web, from the “White House Blues” event, and the president came across as charming and likable. And again he sounded like a good singer in a fun jam session of “Sweet Home Chicago” with Mick Jagger, Buddy Guy and B.B. King.

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Not everyone likes the “Crooner-in-Chief” letting loose. The View’s conservative co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck said of the impromptu jam session, “I think there is a time to dance…I just think you should not be singing and having fun until gas prices are lower and people are getting jobs.”

Hasselbeck didn’t go on to explain how the president can lower gas prices (rising or falling gas prices is a political talking point that presidents have little control over besides foreign policy, more broadly), but it did highlight a certain level of anxiety that Obama’s political opponents must be feeling as the 2012 elections draw closer.

President Obama has been dogged by criticism for being “too cool” and “too aloof” in the past, so these recent moments in which he’s shown a little more of his personality and charm are certainly not hurting his reputation and popularity with American voters. While Democrats are rarely on the right side of the presidential polling question, ‘Who would you rather have a beer with?’ President Obama is showing Americans through these small moments that he might just be the perfect guy to chill out with at end of a tough day as Leader of the Free World.

The president might even occasionally take the time, after dealing with the Eurocrisis, to sit back and sip a bottle of his White House brew while SportsCenter is recapping the latest development in “Linsanity.” As the Dow Jones Industrial Average topped 13,000 yesterday, his most likely general election rivals in the GOP are Mitt Romney (flip flopping on the auto bailout and remaining plain unlikable in every way) and Rick Santorum (ranting about Satan systematically destroying America).

The entire Republican party is doom and gloom right now. None of these Republican hopefuls (except for Ron Paul, who has yet to win a state and cannot win the nomination) inspire much enthusiasm or glee in the Republican party or in the rest of the electorate. None of President Obama’s potential rivals have the charm factor working for them, and that doesn’t even include the president’s trump (no, not Donald Trump) card: first lady Michelle Obama.

While the president is singing R&B classics at the Apollo, the two-year anniversary of “Let’s Move!” has passed, and Michelle Obama’s media blitz has been nothing short of a success to complement her husband’s charm offensive. Clips of her winning a push-up contest on Ellen or beating Jimmy Fallon in a friendly game of tug-of-war are only two examples of the first lady flexing her favorability muscles.

Americans overwhelmingly like the first lady, and the combination of the “Crooner-in-Chief” and America’s favorite “Mom-in-Chief” is sure to make for a complex and difficult fight for any Republican in the fall.

Follow Zerlina Maxwell on Twitter at @zerlinamaxwell