Barack Obama appeared on The View this morning, looking remarkably relaxed in a bluish-gray tie and tiny American flag pin. As I predicted on Monday, The View panelists were not especially hard on Obama: Sure, they asked him questions about Afghanistan, Shirley Sherrod, his racial identity, and the recession, but they allowed him to speak in long paragraphs and did not challenge him with follow-up questions on the tough subjects. Even the show's resident Republican, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, was surprisingly muted-she usually recites Fox News talking points, but today she politely asked a few questions about unemployment and the fissures between left and right, and left it at that. He assured Elisabeth that the country is on the mend, and, aping Austin Powers, told her, "If we get our mojo back over the next several months, I am absolutely confident that we will be doing terrific."
The question of why Obama chose The View seems fairly clear now: He wanted to butter up a female audience. He flattered the women of The View by saying he wanted to find a show "Michelle actually watched." He spoke fondly about his family vacation to Maine and fielded questions about Chelsea Clinton's wedding. (He is fine with not being invited because "Hillary and Bill properly want to keep this as a thing for Chelsea and her soon-to-be-husband.") He even submitted to a pop-culture quiz that included questions about Lindsay Lohan's imprisonment (he knew she was in the clink) and Jersey Shore (despite previously using her name in a joke about the tanning tax, Obama claims he doesn't know what a Snooki is). If the goal was for Obama to seem confident yet accessible, that objective was met.
Photograph of Obama on The View by Saul Loeb/Getty Images.