Opinion: Barack and Michelle Obama get Barbara Waltered

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If you were a tree, ABC’s Barbara Walters asked the president-elect, what kind of tree would you be?

And Barack Obama thought for a moment the way he does without drama and then he replied, ‘An oak tree, because they are so strong and steady, even in stormy times like these.’

None of that is true. We made the whole thing up. All except the part about Walters interviewing Obama for a special one-hour program for Thanksgiving eve. Meaning tonight.

The veteran TV talker interviewed Obama and his wife Michelle at Chicago’s Ritz-Carlton Hotel on Michigan Avenue on Tuesday. ABC is leaking parts of the interview in an attempt to lure other media into helping promote the network broadcast.


And we fell right into the trap.

For instance, we learn that Obama, who we already know is addicted to his BlackBerry (and who isn’t?), wants a way to communicate outside the secure bubble that encircles a president.

But this bothers the Secret Service.

And we learn the former freshman senator from Illinois isn’t too impressed with the way Michigan automakers conducted themselves in negotiations with Congress over an industry financial bailout.

About the BlackBerry: ‘This is a problem. You know, one of the things that I’m going to have to work through is how to break through the isolation and the bubble that exists around the president. And I’m in the process of negotiating with the Secret Service, with lawyers, with White House staff and ...’'

About the American automakers flying in private planes to testify before Congress last week? ‘Well, I thought maybe they’re a little tone-deaf to what’s happening in America right now,’ Obama offered.

‘It’s been a problem for the captains of industry generally,’' he added. ‘When people are pulling down hundred-million-dollar bonuses on Wall Street and taking enormous risks with other people’s money, that indicates a sense that you don’t have any perspective on what’s happening to ordinary Americans.’

Then, he adds: ‘And that’s true, by the way, for members of Congress. That’s true for the president. That’s true for Cabinet members. That’s true for parents. I want all of us to start thinking a little bit more, not just about what’s good for me, but let’s start thinking about what’s good for our children, what’s good for our country. The more we do that, the better off we’re going to be.’'

Sounds suspiciously like one of those community organizers.

And wait until you find out whether Obama thinks bank presidents should give up their huge bonuses for Christmas. You’ll never guess what the Grinch says.

Our blogging pal Mark Silva fell into the TV temptation trap too. He’s got more details and quotes from the ABC interview over at the Swamp.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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