So our cerebral US President sat with the women on the popular daytime show "The View" yesterday. Despite some saying it was demeaning for a sitting President to take part in a daytime television show, (this was indeed a first), others thought it was appropriate for him to use this means to show his, well, more conversational side.
So how did he do? It was a bit awkward when he revealed he had no clue who Snooki is (our new BFF--just kidding--from the Jersey Shore show). This was a teensy weird, given that Obama aficionados know that at the White House Correspondents Association dinner in May he had included a joke about Snooki and others of her ilk being excluded from the tax on tanning beds. (Clearly his Correspondents dinner speechwriter thought it would be cool to throw that remark in, but nobody told the President who the heck Snooki is.) Oops.
But seriously, folks, this President is a pretty darned good conversationalist, wouldn't you say? He was accessible, authentic, and generally engaged. And the women--Whoopi, Barbara and the others--all were clearly not star struck and held their own in a discussion that covered a fairly broad swath of territory. When Barbara Walters said he hadn't acted fast enough on the oil spill and acted too fast on the Shirley Sherrod incident, he didn't contest it. As for the criticisms that never stop of any action he takes, he commented that he takes a long view of politics which may have much to do with his ability to stay calm despite attacks that come fast and furious all the time...goes with the territory.
I'd say this is a man any one of us would be thrilled to engage in conversation. We won't feel seduced, as many who have met Clinton say about conversational exchanges with him, but we'll have had an intelligent, warm exchange. And we'll no doubt come away from the conversation feeling the country is in the hands of someone who, even when we don't agree with his politics, is smart as a whip yet accessible and is the genuine article, acting from a set of apparently deeply held values.
We could do worse.