At the end of Thursday’s CBS Evening News correspondent Chip Reid reported important breaking news about President Obama's graying hair: "...the rate at which President Obama is adding salt to his pepper is what’s surprising, even if his inner circle says ‘no big deal.’" Axelrod observed: "The gray seemed to be on him from the moment he took the oath. There was talk during the campaign that maybe he was dying his hair gray to look more seasoned, but his barber says bunk." He later concluded the report by declaring: "If there's any consolation for Mr. Obama, it's that gray equals gravitas, and a president can never have too much of that."
Perhaps a good example of the President’s "gravitas" would be the gift he gave to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown during a diplomatic visit this week: a 25-DVD box set, including such films as E.T., The Wizard of Oz, and Star Wars. So far, neither CBS nor any of the networks or cable channels have covered this Obama gaffe.
Here is the full transcript of the segment:
KATIE COURIC: The President is also getting something new. He doesn't really want it, but he appears to be accepting it. And both the New York Times and the Washington Post took note of it today. Our national correspondent Jim Axelrod reports it seems to come with the job.
JIM AXELROD: Even on the campaign trail-
BARACK OBAMA: At this defining moment in history-
AXELROD: -he knew it was inevitable.
OBAMA: People have noticed I've been getting gray hair.
AXELROD: But the rate at which President Obama is adding salt to his pepper is what's surprising, even if his inner circle says 'no big deal.'
ZARIFF [OBAMA'S BARBER]: Because he's more focused on the country, not the few gray hairs he has.
OBAMA: I, Barack Hussein Obama-
AXELROD: The gray seemed to be on him from the moment he took the oath. There was talk during the campaign that maybe he was dying his hair gray to look more seasoned, but his barber says bunk.
ZARIFF: Not at all. It's 100% natural. I can vouch for that.
AXELROD: After all, this isn't Hollywood, where movie stars like George Clooney can change their hair color from role to role. Science has long suggested stress could intensify the natural effects of aging, even for people who don't run the world. It's especially striking on those who do.
DAVID REUBEN [DOCTOR, UCLA SCHOOL OF MEDICINE]: You have these two forces -- one, this tremendous stress that's associated with the presidency. And the second being that this is the time of your life when you do start to show signs of aging.
AXELROD: Look what the strains of office did to George W. Bush.
GEORGE W. BUSH: Mr. Speaker, Vice President Cheney, tonight the state of our union is strong, the state our union will remain strong.
AXELROD: Though he blamed his gray hair on raising two teenage daughters. Then there's Ronald Reagan, early in his presidency and toward the end. Actually, that's the beginning and that's the end, proving only that every rule has an exception. And for the record, his last chief of staff says it was all the wood chopping and horseback riding that kept his hair dark, and that's it. Did he get any help from the bottle?
KEN DUBERSTEIN: To the very, very best of my knowledge, hell, no.
AXELROD: If there's any consolation for Mr. Obama, it's that gray equals gravitas, and a president can never have too much of that. Jim Axelrod, CBS News, Washington.