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March 28, 2008

Barack Obama On "The View"

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ObamaDemocratic Presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama made an appearance on "The View" this morning.  He's been on the show before, but this was the first time he's been on the show since he became this much closer to becoming President of the United States.

Here's my recap.

They start off the show with a clip from Jay Leno talking about how Barack is going to be on "The View."  Leno says, "He thought his pastor was loud and opinionated.  Wait 'til Joy gets hold of him."  That's probably his funniest joke in years.

Moving on.

We start off with a lame "Hot Topics" segment. This show was supposed to have been taped yesterday when Barack was in New York for that speech at Cooper Union, so whenever the show is taped the "Hot Topics" are never but so topical.

Bizarrely they start off with a discussion about how some motel in Oregon is no longer going to leave a Gideon Bible in the nightstand of their rooms, but allow you to order your own particular bible from room service.  Sherri didn't like that so much 'cause she'd have to wait 45 minutes to get her bible and then tip the bellhop who brings it.  Dumb topic.  Moving on.

We now get back to a rehash of the Reverend Wright/Barack Obama controversy, which as far as I'm concerned has run its course.  It's time to drop it now folks.   Obama answered everything he needed to answer about Reverend Wright with his speech on race.  He condemned the comments, he said he doesn't agree with the comments, people...it's time to move on to issues like health care, the economy and how we keep those crazies who want to nuke us all from doing so.

Moving on.

Something that has absolutely nothing to do with anything, but which was very funny.  There are now greeting cards for families with people serving time in prison.  Cards like, "No More Promises:" that pleads with the prisoner to stop making promises they can't keep. 

Sherri Shepherd read from the one called "Family:" "You may be behind the walls, but we are still family.  That will never change."  Heh.

Whoopi then reads from one of the Christmas cards that has a little pair of handcuffs and a picture of barbed wire as part of the Merry Christmas graphic.  "You had a choice to be naughty or nice, and you chose.  Now you have to do your time.  But Christmas won't be the same without you here.  Stay safe."

You think I'm making this up don't you?  I swear, I'm not.

Moving on.  Here comes Obama.

Barbara Walters shows a clip from last July when she told the story of asking Obama to be on "The View."  He said he had been on "The View."  And she said, that must have been on a day when she wasn't there.  And he said, yes you were there that day.  Heh.

They bring out Obama and I'm watching the body language closely.  He greets Elisabeth first and he does the double handshake, but no hug.  Everybody else he gives a hug and a back pat.  Except for Babs who he gives a respectful kiss.

He crosses his legs and straightens out his pants leg and makes sure that his socks are pulled up.  He did it nonchalantly, but you just know some flunky behind the scenes told him before he went out to make sure the socks were up when he crossed his legs.

Joy mentions the recent report that Obama and Brad Pitt are distant relations.  Obama jokes that Brad got the good looking genes, but Babs says, to what looks like Whoopi's disdain, that the Gabby Girls think he's sexy.

Moving on.

Babs asks about Reverend Wright.  She quotes what Obama said about Don Imus and how no one like that would ever work for him.  Obama says that first of all Reverend Wright is retired.  Obama joined the church twenty years ago and the church (Trinity United Church of Christ) has a predominantly white denomination.  "I never heard him say, some of the things that I know have upset people. He's preaching three times every Sunday for thirty years."  He then says that he didn't vet his pastor.  He didn't have someone go pull every sermon he made before he joined the church.

"The statements that were made I think were rightly offensive."  Obama refers to his own speech in Philadelphia and how he feels Reverend Wright is stuck in a time warp.  He says, it explains but doesn't excuse his statements.  He wants to put it in context.

Babs asks if the Reverend had not retired would Barack still be with that church.  Obama says that had the Reverend not retired and "had he not acknowledged that what he had said had deeply offended people and were inappropriate and mis-characterized what I believe is the greatness of this country for all its flaws, then I wouldn't have felt comfortable staying there at the church."

Elisabeth then says how impressed she was by him after his speech to the Democratic Convention, but that when he stands by someone who's said all those things, it gives her and people like her concern.

He explains again that the statements that Elisabeth quoted in her question, the Reverend's comments about 9/11 being what we deserved and his reference to the United States of KKK-A, he said before the controversy he hadn't heard those comments.  He said what she was talking about were the "snippets of the man."

He then said "Suppose someone compiled the five stupidest things you ever said," there was a snicker in the audience here, "and put them in a thirty second loop that was played everyday for two weeks."  Elisabeth tried to jump in then about the Reverend's comments being sold on DVD at the church, and Barack jumped back with, he didn't buy every DVD at the church, or read every church bulletin.

He then goes through the mix of races in his family and how that's the America he believes in deeply.  He refers back to the race speech...which if you haven't read it, you really should...and that what he said there is what he believes.

He also said that part of what he feels is his role is to talk to people who don't always agree with him or each other and to get them to listen to each other and get them to understand each other.  Sometimes he's successful sometimes not.

Elisabeth then asks if he still has a relationship with the Reverend now.  Obama said he spoke to him recently and said the Reverend was "saddened by what's happened."  Obama told him he felt badly that he was characterized in just this one way.  Obama then says he thinks people overstate the mentor aspect of his relationship with the Reverend.  He was his pastor.

Obama then tells the story of a white member of their church who wrote an article about how Reverend Wright had counseled his wife, who is black, that when she got cold feet about marrying a white guy, he told her he couldn't not marry him because he was white if she loved him.  Obama says, that's the kind of person that you don't see from hearing the Reverend Wright quotes everyone's heard the last few weeks.

Moving on.

Whoopi asks what the first three things are he will do if he's elected president.  He said number one is to meet with the Joint Chiefs of Staff and give them the mission of "responsibly and honorably" withdrawing from Iraq.  He believes the only way Iraq will become stable is if we're gone and they have to do it themselves.

Number two, everybody gets health care.  The people who have it will keep it, the people who don't will have a chance to buy into a subsidized version because over the long term that will save us money.

Number three deal with energy in this country.  Help bring down the price of gas, and improve the environment by raising fuel efficiency standards, develop solar, wind and bio-diesel.  Though he said because the economy's not so hot, there may have to be crisis management done first.

Joy then asks him how tough he'll be.  Will he be able to handle the republican "attack machine."  He says, "I'm skinny, but I'm tough."  He says the way he will handle attacks is to answer, "honestly, swiftly and forcefully and truthfully.  The truth is a powerful weapon."

Babs asks if his wife Michelle will sit in on cabinet meetings.  He says no, because her priorities are their children, and though she'll find projects probably related to children, she "doesn't have a burning desire to be sort of a policy maker on a day to day basis." 

I always think this is a dumb, loaded question and only started being asked years ago when the Hillary haters couldn't stand the idea of such a forceful wife being part of her president husband's policy making apparatus.  It's dumb because a strong spouse is always going to give their opinion one way or the other.  Whether they're actually in the room or not is irrelevant.

Moving on.

Sherri Shepherd then says that she was for Hillary Clinton but after hearing what Obama's had to say, she's ready to go out and campaign for him.  Elisabeth kind of jokingly agrees.

Sherri then asks if he thinks the campaign has gotten "dirty."  He says no.  He thinks it's gotten contentious.  He says sometimes their surrogates are very passionate and the press will pick up on the craziest things said sometimes.  He says Hillary was his friend before the contest started and will be his friend after the contest is over and that when it's all over the Democrats will be united.

He then says after he beats John McCain, he'll be prepared to pick the brains of everyone including republicans.  "We have so much more in common than what drives us apart.  People basically want the same things:"  a job, health care, dignity and respect when they retire, good schooling.  "We have a very similar view about what's important."

Elisabeth asks about the possibility of him raising taxes.  He says he's not fond of raising taxes but he would roll back the tax cuts for the "wealthiest Americans," and give more of a break to the people who can least afford to pay.

Sherri jumps in with a "You gonna be in trouble Barbara."  It takes Babs a minute to hear it after the laughter and Sherri repeats it.  It's very funny, but Babs doesn't like it much. 

She says, "Darling, you have no...that's one of the things we don't do.  You have no idea!"

Uh, Sherri, sweetie, you don't put the Queen Bee's money status out there on the table like that.  I bet she got a good ol' talking to after the show.

Barack just pushes right on through about cutting the taxes of people who make less than $75,000/year.

Babs asks about federal help for people who are losing their homes because of the lending crisis, whereas John McCain believes the opposite.  Barack says "we don't want to reward bad behavior, but..." And as he's explaining that some people were tricked with low rates by shady lenders, Babs interrupts him and says they have to go.  She invites him back, and he says next time they should have his wife on because, "She will dish the dirt."

Moving on.

When they come back, Whoopi says that they'd love to talk to John McCain, and Joy says Hillary as well.  And we are out.

My opinion?  A very good interview.  In the last few weeks, he's impressed me greatly and continued to do so during this interview.  I hope Hillary does come back on the show and John McCain as well, because this election is too important for either of them to ignore the reach of a show like "The View" and the interests of its viewers.

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