Barack Obama photo

Interview with Savannah Guthrie on NBC's "Today"

October 22, 2009

[We asked the president the question whether he can really make a decision about sending more troops to Afghanistan without knowing the results of the runoff elections there.]

[Begin videotaped segment.]

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  We also want to make sure that we don't put resources ahead of strategy.

MS. GUTHRIE:  Could you envision, however, announcing a strategy before the runoff is determined?

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  I think it is entirely possible that we have a strategy formulated before a runoff is determined.  We may not announce it.

MS. GUTHRIE:  Another issue in the news is the news.  We asked the president what he thinks about some of his advisers saying Fox News, known for conservative opinion, isn't really a news organization.

(To President Obama.)  Do you think it's appropriate for the White House to say what is and what is not a news organization?

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  I think the American people are a lot more interested in what we're doing to create jobs or how we're handling the situation in Afghanistan.

MS. GUTHRIE:  Fair enough.  But your advisers raised this issue.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Well, no, I think that what our advisers have simply said is that we are going to take media as it comes.  And if media is operating basically as a talk-radio format, then that's one thing.  And if it's operating as a news outlet, then that's another. But it's not something I'm losing a lot of sleep over.

[commercial break]

MS. GUTHRIE:  One thing Maria Shriver says, she says, "The battle of the sexes, okay, it's over.  Now it's the negotiation of the sexes."  And I wonder, where is that negotiation between you and Mrs. Obama now?

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Today's Obama family is obviously not typical. Five years ago, six years ago, though, we were having a lot of negotiations, because, you know, Michelle was trying to figure out, okay, if the kids get sick, why is it that she's the one who has to take time off of her job to go pick them up from school, as opposed to me?  If, you know, the girls need to shop for clothes, why is it that it's her burden and not mine?

My main advice to young husbands out there is pay some attention to this and listen and understand the incredible juggling act that moms are going through every single day.

MS. GUTHRIE:  In office, the president has put women in high places, including the Supreme Court; the first bill he signed, a pay- discrimination law.  But he drew criticism from some women recently. We asked about that basketball game he hosted for congressmen and Cabinet secretaries on the official presidential schedule, but no women invited.

(To President Obama.)  You could say this was just a game.  You might say it was a networking opportunity with the president or some kind of political activity.  Some people might look at that and say, "Gosh, there's the old-boys' club again."

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  I've got to say, I think this is bunk.  You know, basically the House of Representatives, they have a regular basketball game, and they had wanted to play here at the White House court and we invited them.

MS. GUTHRIE:  So you don't buy this notion that it's something more than basketball.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Absolutely not.

Barack Obama, Interview with Savannah Guthrie on NBC's "Today" Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Simple Search of Our Archives