President Obama on 'The View': Should he have skipped it? (+video)(Read article summary)
For the annual meeting of the UN General Assembly, Obama was in New York for 24 hours. He appeared on two TV shows but met one-on-one with no world leaders. A missed opportunity perhaps, but the election is in six weeks.
President¬†Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama were guests Tuesday on ABC‚Äôs ‚ÄúThe View,‚ÄĚ the talk show with the numerous female hosts. It‚Äôs an appearance the First Couple taped Monday after they arrived in New York for the opening of the annual meeting of the UN General Assembly.
Mr. Obama also found time to jam in a quick appearance on NBC‚Äôs ‚ÄúToday‚ÄĚ to talk education policy. But he hasn‚Äôt scheduled a one-on-one meeting with any of the foreign leaders who‚Äôve come to New York for the UN festivities.
Critics have hit this state of affairs hard, saying that Obama is slighting foreign policy in favor of fluffy shows that aid his reelection effort. In particular they‚Äôve complained about the fact that Obama declined a meeting request from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
‚ÄúThe president‚Äôs unwillingness to meet with Bibi Netanyahu when he is in New York but instead willing to go on the ‚ÄėThe View‚Äô in New York ‚Äď I mean, I think it speaks volumes to the lack of seriousness with which the president is taking the current situation,‚ÄĚ said House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R) of Virginia in a Monday conference call organized by the Romney campaign.
First, we‚Äôd agree that ‚ÄúThe View‚ÄĚ appearance is reelection-related. As our colleague Gloria Goodale noted yesterday, softer news-like talk shows have become a favorite venue for the Obama campaign. They‚Äôre friendlier than a press conference, and guests benefit from the good feelings viewers have toward their favorite shows.
On "The View," for instance, Barack and Michelle got to indulge in a little First Couple Nick-and-Nora (look it up) banter about whether Michelle should run for office. Barack indicated she wasn‚Äôt temperamentally suited for the job, and, uh, Michelle agreed she‚Äôs not patient.
The president got to ruminate about what he‚Äôd do after his term, saying he‚Äôd like to work with young people. He talked guardedly about the murder of the US ambassador in Libya, walking right up to the edge of calling it a pre-planned terrorist attack.
Obama‚Äôs campaign team was probably pretty happy with the whole thing.
Second, we think the Netanyahu meeting is a separate issue. Obama did not turn that down due to time pressure. He did not want to do it for policy reasons. Now, one can argue about that ‚Äď Romney says Obama is snubbing one of our most important allies ‚Äď but ‚ÄúThe View‚ÄĚ really has little to do with that dispute.
As to meeting other leaders, Obama‚Äôs missing a chance to develop deeper personal relationships. An in-depth story in today‚Äôs New York Times notes that‚Äôs something Obama lacks in the Middle East in particular.
So yes, that may be a negative. But if you‚Äôre Obama, you may be thinking that the election is in six weeks, and if you lose, it doesn‚Äôt matter if your ties to the Saudi royal family are on the upswing.
Thus Obama is spending only 24 hours in the Big Apple. He spent Monday night at a UN reception where many other world leaders were present, noted White House spokesman Jay Carney. Tuesday he gave the traditional high-profile UN opening address by a US president.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs a real moment for the US to assert its values and its leadership role,‚ÄĚ Carney said Monday at a press briefing.
So what's the president doing instead of hanging around New York? On Wednesday, he heads out (surprise!) on the campaign trail. He‚Äôll be going to Ohio, the most important of the battleground states in the 2012 election.