President Obama is still in NYC, having arrived yesterday to tape an interview on The View and spent the night at the Waldorf-Astoria in advance of his address to the U.N. General Assembly this morning. In a segment that airs today, the President and the First Lady sat down with those "sharp-tongued women" (as Romney describes them) for an interview that was a mix of fluffy banter and semi-substantive questioning.
Obama arrived bearing gifts—including home-brewed White House beer, White House M&Ms, and a deck of Marine One playing cards—for Barbara Walters, whose birthday is today. The President told Walters he brought the gifts "rather than have her steal napkins" from the White House. Then, remarking that he was the only man on stage, Obama said, "I told folks I'm just supposed to be eye candy here for you guys."
The Obamas made chitchat about their marriage, with the First Lady admitting that her husband sometimes raises his voice and gets angry. "I can make him mad any number of ways," Michelle Obama told said, and the President clarified, "By being thoroughly unreasonable." He then elaborated, "You try to keep an even keel during the day. But there are times, after the day is done, when it comes out." It also emerged that the couple's 20th wedding anniversary is on October 3rd, but Obama has a date with Mitt Romney for the first presidential debate. (Obama said he'll celebrate with his wife the following Saturday.)
Conservative co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck asked Obama if his administration is failing the middle class. "Because of the actions we took, we’ve got an auto industry that’s back on top,” Obama responded. “The question now for the American people is, how are we going to move forward?” Hasselbeck also challenged Obama on his statement that Washington can't be changed from the inside. “You are Washington, you’re about as inside as it gets,” Hasselbeck told Obama, who 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.
Obama also said "there’s no doubt” that the attack on a U.S. Consulate in Libya earlier this month “wasn’t just a mob action. 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 has no meetings scheduled with foreign leaders while he's here for the U.N. General Assembly; instead, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is doing the heavy diplomatic lifting, meeting with dozens of dignitaries. Republicans see an opening, and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) told reporters yesterday that Obama's decision to meet with The View but not foreign leaders demonstrated “a lack of willingness to lead in times of trouble.”
Romney will have his turn on The View next month; he's said that his appearance carries "high risk because of the five women on it, only one is conservative and four are sharp-tongued and not conservative." Today both men will speak separately at the Clinton Global Initiative's annual meeting.