Obama on The View: Charming, Sexist, Soporific?

"I wanted to pick a show that Michelle actually watches"

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Amid questions from the chattering class about the wisdom of the move, President Obama's appearance on daytime talk show The View broadcast Thursday morning. How did the president do?

  • Good Response to Concern over 'The View' Being Fluffy Newsweek's Daniel Stone calls Obama's response to those questioning his choice of show--"I wanted to pick a show that Michelle actually watches"--a "predictably charming answer."
  • But a Slight Put-Down of Michelle? Mark Finkelstein at conservative Newsbusters is less impressed: "Was it really necessary for the President to diss his wife's interest in current events to explain his presence on the show?" Michelle Cottle at The New Republic, on the opposite end of the political spectrum, is similarly unamused: "How cute," she writes. "The little woman doesn't like hard news. Gag me."
  • Reverses Position on Snooki Serious and snarky publications alike comment on Obama's denial that he knows who Jersey Shore star Snooki is, after he in fact made a joke about her at the White House Correspondents Dinner a few months ago.
  • 'Wooed the Ladies, and the Audience at Home,' judges Stone at Newsweek, who says it's "hard to see how Obama lost any ground" by appearing on the show. Michelle Cottle at The New Republic agrees: "He knows how to charm the ladies." Here's Stone's elaboration:
He talked lots about his daughters, one of whom is at summer camp, and both of whom will (fun fact) soon go from needing a babysitter to doing the babysitting for other people. He poked fun at his grey hair and indulged the ladies in a game he plays with his family at the end of every day to pick a high and low point, called "Rose and Thorn." He also broke news of what's on his ipod...
  • Not All 'Fluff' The Wall Street Journal's Jonathan Weisman and Newsweek's Daniel Stone agree on that. "[F]or all the chatterboxes who questioned the dignity of the moment, he did pretty good," remark's Weisman, noting the discussion of racism, Afghanistan, and the nastiness of politics. Stone notices the president "dropping some statistics about job losses." Time's James Poniewozik goes for far as to say "Obama's appearance on [The View] was actually more thoughtful and substantive than the usual political appearance on a late-night talk show." Here's his thinking:
The View doesn't really do policy, but it does do issues; i.e., matters that get people talking. And beyond the cute talk (Obama came armed with lines like "I was trying to find a show that Michelle actually watched"), the interview was a fairly earnest talk about the state of political dialogue, the economy and, especially, race.
  • 'Calming,' says Dayo Olopade at The Daily Beast. "[B]ecause I've covered Obama for three solid years, I forget how genuinely calming his unfettered speech is."
  • Boring, says Tunku Varadarajan, also at The Daily Beast. Actually, he doesn't call the show "boring." He calls it "the apotheosis of the anodyne." He also thinks the only interesting part came "when the ladies broke free of their intellectual shackles and pinged the prez with the questions that were really on their minds"--namely, the ones involving pop culture.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.