Before I begin, let me just say that the you-know-whos are criticizing Obama for doing this show and some other things this week instead of going to the Boy Scouts 100th Anniversary meeting, or whatever. Personally, I think it is silly that Obama is doing this show, but it is just a little more silly than if he had gone to the Boy Scouts thing. I just don’t care about such empty gestures. We have serious problems that he needs to deal with. But I digress, on to the show.
10:00 am: The show’s intro makes it clear this is a historic event because it is the first time a sitting president has appeared on a daytime talk show. And as a special treat, Barbara Walters is making an appearance to mark the occasion. I never liked her and I wish she would have stayed at home.
10:01: Four ladies make their way onto the stage, trailed by Whoopi Goldberg who is dressed in something that looks like a judge’s robe. Then she introduces Barbara, who looks quite svelt.Apparently she had heart surgery and the girls are all talking at the same time, asking her questions, complimenting her looks. Briefly chaotic.
10:06: Back from a four minute commercial break and a clip from Obama’s swearing in. Back to set and the girls are all sitting on a yellow couch with a seat open in the middle for Obama. Barbara introduces him and he walks out, hugs and kisses ensue.
10:07: Barbara leads and asks if he thinks being on a show with a bunch of women will help ease some of the criticism he has been getting. Then she asks him if he watches the show, to which he replies: “Of course”. BS.
10:10: Obama recounts the tough stuff he has had to deal with in response to another question from Barbara. But he only gives a generic response. Give him credit though for saying that it is the American people who have had it tough and not him.
10:11: In response to biggest storm of the past month, Obama deftly says the things the media focuses on may not be what is tough for him. He gives the example of signing letters to parents who have lost children in the wars.
10:13: Funny moment, the clearly liberal woman on the panel, Joy, who asks why Obama doesn’t do more to counter Fox News and the like who propagate a false narrative. His response: “That’s your job”. Laughter.
10:14: Elisabeth (young blonde married to former NFL quarterback Tim Hasselback) asks if Obama is frustrated about the country being so divided. He says all he can do is try to set a civil tone, but that the media prefers to focus on the fighting and not the instances of cooperation. What instances is he talking about? Oh yeah, we don’t hear about those.
10:16: Shirley Sherrod question and Obama is extolling her virtues and again criticizes the media for generating a phony controversy and says people overreacted, including in his administration. Acknowledges racial progress has been made, but there is still racism and prejudice.
10:20: Barbara comments that Obama does not call himself a black president, but that is how he is described, and she asks why he doesn’t call himself “bi-racial” and if it would help. Seems like a stupid question to me. Obama is less interested in how we label each other and more interested in how we treat each other.
10:27: Elisabeth, the show’s conservative anchor, asks why, despite his claims to the contrary when the stimulus was passed, is unemployment still so high and why is he boasting about saved jobs. Obama correctly states that when he took over, we were losing 700,000 jobs a month but for the last five months, we have been adding private sector jobs. Elisabeth takes issue with talking about saved jobs and Obama (to applause) says it does make a difference to those people whose jobs were saved. But the bottom line is that we are making progress and it is understandable to be frustrated by the pace. Also gives the auto industry as an example of how much progress we are making.
10:32: Barbara with an Afghanistan comment and question regarding Democrats opposing the funding bill and the Wikileaks disclosure. Obama says the problem in Afghanistan is that Al-Qaeda is free to move between Pakistan and Afghanistan and he wants to give the Afghans the opportunity to develop and stabilize before thinning out troops next year. He says he is not interested in an open-ended commitment because at some point, nation-building here at home has to be the priority.
10:40: Now going to ask Obama a series of “hard” questions. He knows Lindsay Lohan is in jail, doesn’t seem to know about the Mel Gibson fiasco, doesn’t know who Sookie is and thus cannot comment on whether she should run for mayor of Wasilla, he does not tweet, he does not have an iPhone, he has Jay-Z and Frank Sinatra on his iPod, but not Justin Beiber, he is not going to Chelsea Clinton’s wedding nor was he invited, and boys have not yet entered the picture for Sasha and Malia.
On a personal note: Why am I doing this? Probably a big waste of time…
10:49: Back to substance. Whoopi asks, given all the criticism he has faced despite his accomplishments, can he win as president? Obama admits it has been difficult but incredibly satisfying. He goes through what he will be able to claim: insurance for people with pre-existing conditions, no advertising to children by tobacco companies and credit card protections for consumers, to name a few.
10:52: In response to the question of what he wants his legacy to be, Obama says he wants the American people to look back at this time as one in which we tackled a lot of major issues that had been plaguing us for a long time.
And with that, they say goodbye to the President.
When does school start?!