Obama on 'The View': Canny Decision or Unpresidential?

Maybe, just maybe, he should have picked a different show

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On Wednesday, President Obama tapes his appearance on The View—the women's daytime talk show, hosted roundtable style by the likes of Whoopi Goldberg and Barbara Walters. Some argue, of course, that this appearance might not be the best choice for a sitting president. Others say that while The View might be a light sort of show, presidents have been headed toward informality for decades, and this interview will offer a good chance for Obama to get his message out.

  • Undignified  Several online writers highlight Democratic Governor Ed Rendell's comment on Morning Joe: "I think the president should be accessible, should answer questions that aren't pre-screened, but I think there should be a little bit of dignity to the presidency … I wouldn't put him on Jerry Springer either."
  • Perhaps a Step in the Wrong Direction  Mediaite's Glynnis MacNicol thinks Rendell's Jerry Springer comparison might be a bit much. "That said, it does sort of beg the question: Next stop American Idol?" He does think "Obama's appearance on The View will likely provide at least some good soundbites," though--a plus "on the heels of the Shirley Sherrod debacle."
  • 'Fluffy'  That's what former View co-host Rosie O'Donnell calls it, as Brian Maloney notices at Radio Equalizer. O'Donnell says she has "mixed feelings" about Obama's appearance, as she "[doesn't] really think sitting presidents should do fluffy daytime TV shows." She suggests Oprah as an alternative.
  • 'Smart,' with Drawbacks, decides Politics Daily's Lynn Sweet. "[H]e can talk about his health care and financial reform overhauls and what they mean to consumers in a friendly setting," and The View will be a good setting for unscripted remarks. She does admit, though, that "[i]t may be hard to pull this off ... with total dignity," recalling Barbara Walters's comments on Obama's personal appearance.
  • Dignity's Out of Fashion Anyway, protests Sweet's fellow Politics Daily writer Walter Shapiro. "[W]hat stuns me is that anyone is stunned that Barack Obama is going on 'The View.' Dignity has been on a downhill slide at the White House since the days when George H.W. Bush pretended that his love of pork rinds proved his Texas authenticity." Also weighing in at Politics Daily, Matt Lewis agrees that the ship of presidential dignity "sailed long ago and is halfway across the ocean," Bonnie Goldstein says "the president has pretty good instincts" on this one, and Alex Wagner says she "understand[s] the reasoning." Suzi Parker, by contrast, calls the entire debate "much ado about very little," and thinks it unlikely that "anyone [will] care beyond a mini news cycle."
  • Do the Glenn Beck Show Instead, suggests Robbie Gennet at The Huffington Post. "I'd like to see him break through directly to the Fox audience." Gennet isn't a fan of Fox and what he sees as its highly selective take on political news.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.