White House Press Pool Report on the President and First Lady’s visit to “The View”


Subject: Travel pool 4 —  The View

The President and first lady came out on stage at The View at ABC’s studios in Manhattan shortly before 4:10 p.m. The president wore a dark suit, white shirt and dark striped tie; Mrs. Obama wore an emerald green sleeveless dress, below the knee in length.
The president bore a basket of gifts from the White House for Barbara Walters, who is celebrating her birthday today. In the basket were White House M&Ms, a deck of Marine One playing cards, some White House beer and a White House golf ball. The president said he brought the gifts “rather than have her steal napkins” from the White House.
Of being the only male on stage, Mr. Obama said, “I told folks I’m just supposed to be eye candy here for you guys.”
They discussed that the Obamas will celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary on Oct. 3, the night of the first debate.  He said they’ll celebrate the following Saturday. They held hands most of the taping.
“I like lavishing her with all kinds of attention when she deserves it, and she always deserves it,” the president said of his wife.
He talked about the Vanity Fair article, and how he handles ups and downs of the job.
“You try to keep an even keel during the day,” he said. “But there are times, after the day is done, when it comes out.”
Michelle was asked to describe his personality:
“He’s very loving, he’s very giving. He’s very open. He’s funny; I’m funnier.”
Does he ever raise his voice or get angry? “Yeah, yeah, he does. I can make him made — any number of ways.”
“By being thoroughly unreasonable,” he added, smiling.
Co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck asked if his administration is failing the middle class. The president said the country was in a severe recession when he took office.
“Because of the actions we took, we’ve got an auto industry that’s back on top. The question now for the American people is, how are we going to move forward? Gov. Romney I think is a good man and means well, but the policies he’s putting forward are precisely the policies that got us into this mess. I think the american people are weighing what’s going on. We all understand that folks are going through tough times out there.”
Hasselbeck asked about his comment that you can’t change Washington from the inside.
“You are Washington, you’re about as inside as it gets,” she said.
Obama replied, “The idea was you can’t change Washington just from the inside; you’ve got to mobilize the American people. When ordinary people are engaged and paying attention, that’s when Congress responds. We can’t play just an inside game.”
Barbara Walters asked, “What would be so terrible if Mitt Romney were elected? Would it be disastrous for the country?”
Mr. Obama replied, “We can survive a lot. But the American people don’t want to just survive. We want to thrive. I’ve just got a different vision of how we grow an economy. We grow fastest when the middle class is doing well.”
Michelle said, “I’m voting for him,” prompting cheers and laughter from the audience.
“What a surprise,” Ms. Walters said.
Was the Libya attack terrorism?
“There’s no doubt that the kind of weapons that were used, the ongoing assault, that it wasn’t just a mob action. What’s clear is that, around the world, there are still a lot of threats out there,” the president said.
“The overwhelming majority of Muslims, they want the same things that families here want. They want opportunity, kids want an education, they want jobs, they want peace. But there are extremist strains that are there.”
“There’s never an excuse for violence,” he said.
“The best way to marginalize that kind of speech [in the anti-Islam movie} is to ignore it. You don’t make yourself bigger by putting other people down.”

Of being first lady, Michelle said, “I have the best job. I don’t have to make the hard decisions.”
The president said daughter Malia “is turning into a night owl like me.” She doesn’t need to be tucked into bed anymore, they said.
Malia is playing tennis now and enjoys it, he said.
“They’re now at the point where, they still love their daddy, but they come in [to visit him] strategically. They’re not being surly or anything, but” they’ll give him five minutes and then go.
His hardest day?
He talked about a helicopter crash last August which killed 30-some military service members in Afghanistan. He went to Dover to watch the bodies returned and talk to families.
“It’s very raw in those moments. It reminds you that freedom’s not free,” he said.

What would he like to do in five years?
“Go on a long vacation,” Michelle said.

“First things first here. We do have an election ahead,” he said.
Post presidency, he said, “The thing I think I would enjoy the most is spending time, working with kids. Just giving young people the sense of possibility, of opportunity.”

We are moving to the Waldorf-Astoria hotel.

Dave Boyer
The Washington Times