Obama on ‘The View’: Shirley Sherrod, Snooki and the Chelsea Clinton wedding


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President Obama had been sitting on “The View’s” custard-colored couch for only a few moments when Barbara Walters asked the question front-of-mind for many people.

“You know, you’ve gone through a little bit of a beating the last month,” she said. “Do you really think that being on a show with a bunch of women, five women who never shut up, is going to be calming?”


“Look, I was trying to find a show that Michelle actually watched, and so I thought this is it, right here,” the president responded with a laugh. “All those news shows, she’s like, ‘Eh, let me get the clicker.’”

Obama’s taped appearance on “The View” on Thursday was the first on a daytime talk show by a sitting president, underscoring the growing political clout of the ABC gabfest and its kin. Veteran politicos such as Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell may cringe at the notion, but elected officials are increasingly turning to entertainment talk shows to display their lighter sides and soothe the sharpness of the daily political thrusts.

“The View” has become one of the main forums for such visits, scoring an interview with Vice President Joe Biden in April. Obama had appeared on the show twice before being elected.

On Thursday, the show’s five hosts quizzed him about a range of weighty policy issues, including the economy and the war in Afghanistan. They also pressed the president about race relations and the recent episode regarding Shirley Sherrod, the U.S. Department of Agriculture official who was fired after a conservative website took a speech she gave about race out of context.

“What I do think happened in that situation is that a 24/7 media cycle that is always looking for controversy and oftentimes doesn’t get to the facts first generated a phony controversy,” Obama said. “A lot of people overreacted, including people in my administration. And part of the lesson that I want everyone to draw is, let’s not assume the worst of other people but let’s assume the best. Let’s make sure we get the fact straight before we act.”

On a lighter note, the president appeared somewhat fluent on popular culture, saying he knew that Lindsay Lohan was in jail but confessed that he didn’t know who “Jersey Shore’s” Snooki was. (He perhaps had forgotten joking about the MTV reality star and her castmates at the White House Correspondents Dinner in May.) He dodged a question about whether Mel Gibson needed anger management, saying he hadn’t seen a Gibson movie in a while.


Obama also said he had not been invited to Chelsea Clinton’s wedding, which was fine by him: “You don’t want two presidents at a wedding.”

“I was not invited because I think Hillary and Bill properly want to keep this as a thing for Chelsea and her soon-to-be husband,” he added. “And I’m letting you guys know now, y’all probably will not be invited to Malia’s wedding or Sasha’s wedding.”

“Have boys entered the picture yet for your girls?” Walters asked.

“Thankfully, no!” was the quick response.

— Matea Gold