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US President Barack Obama on Martha’s Vineyard on Wednesday. Photo by: Steven Senne/Associated Press

What President Obama could learn from Pope Francis and Albert Reynolds

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US President Barack Obama on Martha’s Vineyard on Wednesday. Photo by: Steven Senne/Associated Press

Pope Francis gave Barack Obama a lesson in compassion and public relations on Thursday when he called the stricken family of beheaded Irish American journalist James Foley to pay his sympathies.

As far as we know he didn’t go out and play golf immediately afterwards.

He wasn’t photographed grinning broadly, driving his golf cart or swinging way without a care in the world.

He didn’t vainly try to pretend it was business as usual after an horrific act carried on YouTube that showed the cold blooded murder of a fellow citizen.

The pope’s action was just one more example of a compassionate and caring pontiff who gets what the modern world is about -- and cuts through the noise and haste and delivers a message of concern and caring.

He knows it is the big stuff that counts, not the doctrinal musings and angels on a pin debates of his predecessor.

Obama on the other hand seems intent to mail in what being president should be about between golf games.

To say there is buyer’s remorse about this presidency is putting it mildly.

I’m waiting for the bumper stickers “Don’t blame me I voted for John Edwards “

Ouch.

It has gotten that bad.

As Maureen Dowd wrote: “Why doesn’t he do something bold and thrilling? Get his hands dirty? Stop going to Beverly Hills to raise money and go to St. Louis to raise consciousness? Talk to someone besides Valerie Jarrett?”

He seems incapable of it, believing the odds are stacked against him everywhere he looks.

Maybe he could take a leaf out of the book of a great Irish leader who died this week.

Albert Reynolds came to power in 1992 and told a stunned news conference he would bring an end to The Troubles in Northern Ireland.

The media practically laughed out loud. The Troubles had been going on 25 years with no end in sight.

Who was this trumped up band promoter, with no college education to try and attempt to solve a problem that was so difficult that all previous leaders had done was admire how difficult it was?

Within a year Albert was on the road to an IRA ceasefire, getting a US president involved in Irish affairs for the first time in history and creating a unique bond with a British Prime Minister John Major.

On August 31 1994 he pulled of an IRA ceasefire and peace followed.

There was no one laughing then.

Maybe, just maybe Obama could try something like that in his remaining time in office and stop wondering about whether to use his six or seven iron on his approach shot.

It is called being presidential and the American people who placed their faith in him deserve more.

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