Writes David Jackson in USA Today:
Amid tensions in Iraq and the Middle East, President Bush meets Friday with a special delegation: Taylor Hicks and the American Idol finalists.
Visiting with the most recent stars of the Fox TV show is the latest example of Bush being a regular guy, exuding a down-home style that has been both a blessing and curse to the president.
His aides say Bush likes to show a lighter side, taking the edge off weighty matters that come with his job. Some critics, though, say some of these moments demonstrate a lack of seriousness.
For example: Bush’s recent trip to Europe to visit German Chancellor Angela Merkel and meet with world leaders in Russia at the annual Group of Eight summit of industrialized nations caused a stir.
He could be heard cursing over a live microphone, talked longingly about "slicing the pig" at a barbecue in his honor, and gave an impromptu neck massage to a startled Merkel that was seen around the world via the Internet.
Dialog International, a blog about German-American relations, said that "while seemingly insignificant," the neck rub and other incidents underscore that "Bush is incapable of leading during a crisis."