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October 13, 2015

NBC scores with Inside the Obama White House

by Allison Waldman, posted Jun 4th 2009 10:10AM
Obama burgers
If Jay Leno isn't the answer for NBC prime time, perhaps the network should think about booking President Obama. NBC News devoted two hours, on Tuesday and Wednesday night, for Inside the Obama White House and the ratings were strong. Better than the insipid I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here, which acted as a lead-in. Of course the season finale of Law & Order: SVU on Tuesday didn't hurt the news production.

Having watched the two hours, NBC should sign the president ASAP. There's always the curiosity factor when a viewer is being given access behind the scenes, and that's what Inside the Obama White House did. It was a look at the real West Wing, which reminded me a lot of the fictional, Aaron Sorkin West Wing creation, and that was quite cool. President Obama still fascinates me, and it's well past 100 days.

But more than that, Brian Williams, the NBC News anchorman who acted as host/guide/interviewer for the show, did a great job of representing the typical viewer. He was suitably impressed with the trappings of the White House – although he did call it a museum a tad too many times – and got familiar enough with the President and First Lady while never treating them like just another celebrity couple. They're not.

Still, my favorite moments in the specials were when the Obamas connected with the real world. Michelle Obama going to visit school kids; the First Dog, Bo, rolling onto his back for a belly rub. And whether it was staged for the cameras or not, the President taking lunch orders and going off to Five Guys for burgers and fries for the staff was brilliant optics (a favorite word in politics these days). He got out of the limousine, greeted the customers – who were stunned to see the commander in chief out and about – and stepped up to the counter to order lunch. He wasn't putting on airs or having an assistant do the job; he was buying lunch for the office.

Like I said, if it was staged, kudos to the Obama staff for creating a great scene. And if those folks eating at the burger joint were in the scene, they were the best extras imaginable.

So, NBC, take note: if Jay doesn't cut it with the prime time 10 o'clock gig next season, see if the President is available. He might be busy, but if he's sincere about starting to campaign early for a second term, the President may want the exposure.

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Penguin & Adam: I don't smoke. Never have, never will, however, as a non-smoker I am most certainly affected when my tax dollars pay for the food & utilities smokers can no longer afford after buying their cigarettes since Carter & his congress made the wise decision to give change in return for food stamps instead of giving stamps back so welfare recipients could then spend money on cigarettes & beer. By the way, there's a proposal to increase tax on beer & wine. I don't drink either, but sooner or later, if you keep throwing arbitrary taxes at things, they'll eventually land on something you & I buy. Funny you focused on the smoking issue & not the cap & trade which affects everyone & you had nothing to say about tax cheat Geitner or the Air Force One photo debacle. Rather than list all the reasons I'm against the bailout & spending, if you enjoy an honest debate, read the article at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123629969453946717.html
I am a smaller taxes, smaller government conservative who was very disappointed in Bush's spending & complained about him as much as Obama. I was against both bail-outs, but based on your logic, you have to give as much credit to Bush for turning the economy around as Obama since he passed the first bail-out. Further, since Bush inherited Clinton's recession, the economic downturn started before he ever took office. & if you like higher taxes, then you must be a fan of Bush 41. There's plenty of blame to go around & I've told one of my own Republican senators who had earmarks attached to the bailout that I would not be voting for him next time around because of it, even though he ultimately voted against the bail-out. I've made plenty of complaints to presidents & senators on both sides about government spending over the years. Frankly, I'd be happy to vote out about 75% or more of today's politicians & start all over.
I'm glad Obama appears to have a happy marriage, & I'll even concede that it may have only cost a paltry $73,000, but my date night last weekend with my husband included an out-of town trip & cost about $250, including the hotel room, gas & food. I guess we'll never know what Obama's date night really cost though since the transparent administration refuses to release those figures. I don't begrudge any president a few perks for holding the highest office in the land, but don't preach to me about sacrifice & then keep spending money we don't have. Obama's $3.6 trillion budget blueprint more than doubles the national debt held by the public & adds more to the debt than all previous presidents -- from Washington to Bush -- combined. Surely you can concede there's something wrong with that. Just look at what's happened to California (and Schwarzenegger may be a Republican but he's no conservative).
So Obama "misspeaks" but Bush is a moron. Typical liberal hypocrisy.

June 05 2009 at 2:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Melanie51's comment

rightwingmom - You have a right to comment when you (a) demonstrate you watched the show and (b) comment on it. You have done neither. As far as I can tell all of your posts are political diatribes about Obama, the Obama administration, and media coverage of them but not about this specific show. They belong on websites devoted to politics or media coverage of politics, not here.

Also, Chief Justice John Roberts, also a Harvard Law School graduate, messed up the administration of the oath of office as a result of thinking he could do it from memory without consulting with the text. Does that make him an mistake-prone idiot, or does his conservatism get him a pass from you?

June 06 2009 at 8:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Does anyone know the song they played in the background of Michelle Obama's stint last night?

June 05 2009 at 9:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Obama is just another dopey politician with a God complex.

It's hilarious watching the daily fawning over he gets from his fans. It will be even more fun watching the FAIL set in as time goes on and Obama's unicorns and rainbows for all never show up.

June 04 2009 at 7:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Margaret Calvert

Loved the 2 programs. Thought they were fun and interesting and informative. I'm glad they did well in the ratings. Brian Williams is a class act and did a great job, too. It was all good.

June 04 2009 at 5:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Adam, are you kidding me? Obama has turned around the stock market and the economy? Really? What has Obama done in 5 months?

Obama told corporate execs: "You can't get corporate jets. You can't go take a trip to Las Vegas, or go down to the Super Bowl on the taxpayers' dime." He spent $250,000 on the taxpayer's dime to take Michelle out on a date. He spent over $320,000 of taxpayer money to get a picture of Air Force One flying over the Statue of Liberty that could have been photoshopped for a lot less. Can you spell hypocrite? (Obviously not, judging by the number of misspelled words in your previous post which I mention only because you resorted to the lame liberal tactic of throwing out a personal attack when you disagree with someone.)

Obama says our constitution was written "20 centuries" ago!!! Guess the great orator was reading the teleprompter again. He visited 57 states (there's only 50). He called his own Secretary of Defense "William Gates." It's actually Robert Gates, not Bill Gates of Microsoft.

He gave a speech about his new proposals to close tax loopholes for multinational corporations, accusing them of tax evasion through manipulation of the tax code, while tax cheat Geitner was standing next to him.

He claimed that he has "already saved or created over 150,000 jobs," but the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that we lost more than 1.3 million jobs in the 2 months after he took office and at least another half-million in April. The day after Obama spoke, the Dept of Labor reported that another 631,000 workers had filed new claims for unemployment insurance the previous week. So where's the 150,000 jobs?

He pledged that under his tax plan "no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes." (September 12, 2008, Dover, NH) Jjust 16 days into his presidency, he signed into law a 156% increase in the federal excise tax on tobacco, a hike of 61¢ per pack, taxing the middle and low-income Americans Obama said he would not raise taxes on. 55% of smokers are "working poor" and 1 in 4 smokers live below the poverty line. Obama's 2010 budget imposes a range of tax hikes including a "cap and trade" tax of $646 billion. Every American family will pay this tax in the form of higher gasoline, heating and electric bills. Add the "cap and trade" tax increase with other energy tax hikes in the Obama budget and divide by the # of families and the average family will pay, directly or indirectly, approximately $10,000/year in new taxes.
One solution suggested by conservatives: For the cost of Obama's $1.2 trillion stimulus, the government could give employers a 2½ year payroll tax holiday which would encourage the hiring of new workers by reducing their actual costs. That's about 2.8 million NEW jobs, not to mention preserving existing jobs due to the fact it would now be cheaper to keep staff in place.

June 04 2009 at 5:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Melanie51's comment
The Midnight Penguin

It is a personal decision to smoke. Not only is the initiative to tax cigarettes not aimed at anyone in particular in terms of the income tax he referred to, it is also meant to steer people toward actively trying to quit, and, in the long run improve their health and the horrible burden they are placing on the health care system and partially responsible for rising costs. Taxing cigarettes in no way is going against his statement that those making under 250k will not see a tax increase. If your choice to smoke means you can't pay for other things like your food or pay for your utilities, that is your choice, but do not blame the president for raising your taxes - if you're a non-smoker you're also not affected. You know as well as I do that when he talked of not raising taxes they were the necessary evil - income tax. Also, Rome was not built in a day, and companies that go out of business don't do so "all of a sudden", it takes TIME. If there were more listed in the unemployment list two months after he took office, I don't blame him and neither should you. It is LOGICAL if you understand business models, to know that Obama's unemployment numbers since he took office were already in the making, not a direct response to his taking office. Should we go back and take a look at all of the months before Obama? Instead of making excuses for it he took silent responsibility for it and has been working to push money into the economy. As for your idea that we just stop payroll taxes, how do you expect the government to pay for everything that payroll taxes normally pay for, and do you really expect in two years for all employers to just restart the taxes? That would no doubt send the economy into a tailspin and cause employers across the markets to cut those "new" employees to make up for the taxes and new jobs that had originally come about 2 yrs ago. There is only so much that may sound great up front but would be even worse in the long term. He's not trying to band-aid the situation for votes, he truly is acting for a future America and doing what he can in at least the four years we've put our faith in him under this democracy. And for the record, I personally didn't care who won, I think both were good candidates in their own rights, but I do know that Bush's time in office didn't seem to be very effective, to put it kindly. I like transparency in my government and so far I feel we've had a lot more of it then in the past. Oh, and based on where my 401k had been, to the double digit increase it's now showing, I'd say that we're on the right path to turning around the economy. The new job postings I see related to energy and other long-term positions make me feel confident, as well as the housing market turning houses a little faster then this time a year ago. Maybe it's just my area, but change does start somewhere.

June 04 2009 at 7:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Ok, this is getting real boring. I really love to argue, but at this point it's like tee ball. Your pointing out a couple of occasions where Obama misspoke, so you clearly must have forgotten the term "Bushisms". Seriously, how many times must a guy ef up to have his name be synonymous with retardation. I have a new term to enter the lexicon, rightwingmom'd. When someone hit's google to find right wing arguments instad of forming opinions of their own, they totally rightwingmom'd.

Person A: Hey dude, you never believe this idiotic debate I had on the net today. The moron kept throwing incorrect facts at me.
Person B: I guess she totally rightwingmom'd it!!! (coming soon to urbandictionary)

Seriously though, where did you get your 250k figure for Obama's date night because a very cusory google search brought me the figure of 73k, less than half of your figure. Also, the federal government make money in several avenues, not just in taxes, so saying that taxpayer money is quite literally impossible to prove. Finally, how many trips did Bush take halfway across the country to Crawford Texas!!! Last time I checked the financial instituutions we re asking for money, and it isn't unreasonable for the President to ask companies to cut spending because it wouldn't make sense to give them a larger sum of money when they can simply cut excess spending. If the president want to keep his marriage going rather than get a BJ from an intern I'm proud to call him my president. With all the infidelity on capitol hill it should be admirable that the Obama's have such a strong bond.

You also blame Obama for the abysmal economic numbers 2 months after he took office, but yet you won't give him credit for the improvement in the economy 6 months into his administration. In case you fail to follow logic, if you want to assign blame for the negative you must also give credit for the positive. Or, as I stated above, go STFU!! Stock market, up. Housing market, up. Unemployment, decreasing. Lay-offs, decreasing. Did drudge not post those numbers when they were released yesterday?

Finally, as mentioned above, smoking isn't a necessity. No one forces you to smoke. Don't want your taxes increase, put down the cancer stick and stop being a degenerate. Seem's like an entirely reasonable proposition to me.

June 04 2009 at 8:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Examples of Obama worship:

1. The White House Press Corps standing to attention when Obama enters the room. Didn't do that for past presidents.

2. In the recently released Harris Poll, Obama was named the most popular personal hero. Following Obama were Jesus Christ, Martin Luther King, Reagan, George W. Bush, Abraham Lincoln, John McCain, Kennedy, Chesley Sullenberger, and Mother Teresa, respectively, to round out the top 10 people Americans say they admire and would call their hero. In the top 20 list, God held the No. 11 spot while Billy Graham tied with FDR for the 13th slot. A list was not provided for the respondents to choose from. Only 14 percent of Americans said they admire either their mother or father enough to call them their hero.

3. CNN's recent report on "The First 100 Days: Assessing the Swagga" in which they declared the Bush swagger deplorable and mortifying while the Obama "swagga" is charming and inspiring.

4. Chris Mathews tingle up his leg when he thinks of Obama.

Need any more?

June 04 2009 at 4:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Melanie51's comment

What did George Bush do? Tanked the economy, got us into 2 overdrawn wars that we should have won in weeks b/c he didn't have an exit strategy, lowered world opinion of the US arround the world, tanked the economy, del of his bike before a world summit and attended it with a scratched up face and generally looking like a moron, choked on a pretzel, etc. What has Obama done in 5 months? Turned arround the stock market, saved countless failing compaines thus saving countless jobs, restored the world's faith in America, the economy is finally showing signs that it is turning arround, and actually engaged in dialouge with muslims giving them a reason to side with us rather than OBL (it's amazing what people will do when you actually treat them like human beings).

Oh, and swagga, something you obviously have never encountered in your life, is a new way of saying coolness, and I'm pretty sure people used to and still do talk about how cool Regan was.

June 04 2009 at 4:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Brian Williams represents the "typical viewer?" On second thought, maybe that's accurate because I'm certainly not the typical viewer in that I would like to see a "reporter" ask tough questions rather than the type of hero worship crap Williams was spewing. I kept thinking any minute that Brian was going to ask for a good-night kiss. NBC gives a whole new meaning to the term "in the tank. Any day now I expect to see the OTV logo replace the peacock. Again, on second thought the peacock preening its feathers fits the bill for OTV as well.

June 04 2009 at 3:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Melanie51's comment

It was a show about the people working in the White House, not a press conference. The questions were mostly about how everyone is adjusting to the new life there. I didn't see it purporting to be anything other than that at all. There were a few more serious topics broached, but again, it wasn't about that.
I just wish someone would give me an example or explain what's behind this celebrity/hero worshipping meme, because I didn't see any of that in evidence during the two hours of TV I was watching. Williams was respectful... what's wrong with that?

June 04 2009 at 3:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Adam, I dont listen to talk radio shows, so there goes your theory doesnt it?

June 04 2009 at 2:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to laura's comment

i'm honestly just curious here, not trying to stir anything up. You said you watched 5 minutes and it was all celebrity worship... how so?

June 04 2009 at 2:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Ok so, I have to add my two cents, of course! Not only were the Obama specials great TV but extremely interesting to watch! So much so, that my teenage daughter who spends 99% of her time obsessing over her social life, actually sat for 2 hours and watched them, cell phone free I might add!
Bravo for whomever came up with the idea of filming it and MORE please MORE!

June 04 2009 at 1:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Celebrity worship?
It was nothing like that at all...
It was a great look into the White House which I've never seen before - sure, the president and the first lady were the only ones with real sit down interviews, but the setup was much more a look at the people around him and life at the White House, interspersed with the interview clips.
I thought it was fascinating, for the look behind the scenes. Williams was certainly respectful of the two, but I didn't see any worship going on there.
I don't get the celebrity worship meme, sorry.

June 04 2009 at 12:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to scott's comment

Totally agree. It's obvious the first two people didn't actually watch it, they just wanted to get some jabs in.

June 04 2009 at 12:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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