Time Reporter: Obama Running for Reelection Is as Surprising as Playboy's Hugh Hefner Getting Married

December 27th, 2010 4:02 PM

Time magazine's Michael Scherer on Monday constructed one of the odder political metaphors when he compared the likelihood of Barack Obama running for reelection to the recent announcement that Playboy founder Hugh Hefner is engaged.

Appearing on Monday's Early Show, he joked, "This is about as surprising as Hugh Hefner getting married again." The weird comparison makes even less sense when you think that Hefner is 84 and has only been married twice. (The eight-time married Elizabeth Taylor, he is not.)

Early Show guest host Russ Mitchell quizzed Scherer on the announcement by White House press Secretary Robert Gibbs that Obama would likely run for a second term: "The President's run in 2008 was historic in so many ways. How will the 2012 campaign be different, do you think?"

Throughout December, Mitchell has been touting Obama as "on a hot streak" and "the comeback kid." So, one would think that the journalist will find some way to spin 2012 as another "historic" moment for the President.

A transcript of the December 27 segment, which aired at 7:14am EDT, follows:

RUSS MITCHELL: Turning now to the cold subject of politics President Obama and his family are on vacation in Hawaii. Yesterday, they attended church at the Marine Corps base. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs says it is likely the President will run for a second term. Hmm, imagine that. Joining us now is Michael Scherer, White House correspondent for Time magazine. Michael Good morning.

MICHAEL SCHERER: Good morning, Russ. Thanks for having me.

MITCHELL: Now that it's unofficially, anyway, game on, can we expect any changes in the President's priorities the next two years of his term?

SCHERER: This is about as surprising as Hugh Hefner getting married again. They've planned for six months, at least, with hard plans of who would take over the campaign once they transition out for the re-election. But, if you look back when the President came into office, if you just chart the number of times he's been to swing states like Arizona or Indiana or North Carolina, there was really never any doubt he was planning to run for re-election. In terms of a shift, it's already happened. You saw it in the lame duck. The President is, is shifting away from his, sort of, legacy priorities that the American people weren't very happy with, things like health care, to the economy, to dealing with the deficit, to appealing to independent voters.

MITCHELL: The President's run in 2008 was historic in so many ways. How will the 2012 campaign be different, do you think?

SCHERER: Well, it's a re-election. So it's a very different thing. You know, President Obama came into office on a wave of enormous expectation, expectation that even White House officials said they could never fulfill. Now, the American people know President Obama as, you know, a person who is not going to just bring hope and change in the broad sense but is going to struggle, just like any President has. He has to run on his record. The White House is hoping, barring unforeseen incident, that he will be able to run as the person who brought the country out of the worst economic recession since the Great Depression. They use that phrase all the time, as the guy who saved the country from this economic downturn. And if you look at the economic projections right now, we should be in much better shape in a year or two.

MITCHELL: What do you expect the Republicans to hammer on in 2012?

SCHERER: Well, they're going to say the hope and change-y thing was not, was not real. You know, it didn't bring the appeals- the improvements that you wanted. I mean, you saw a lot of this message in the 2010 race. They were saying, are you basically better off now than you were a few years ago? It's very possible that, you know, that even if the economy is improving in 2012, the American people's home values will still be lower than they were in 2008. You know, their job prospects may in the be as bright. So, the Republicans are also going to battle on the economic front.

MITCHELL: Michael, very quickly, expecting changes in the President's senior staff in the next few months, anyway. How do you think that will affect the campaign?

SCHERER: The President and White House have made very clear they don't want to wholesale shake-up. I don't think it will be the case you have new gurus come in. I think people are going to rotate out because they are exhausted, it has been a grueling couple of years.


SCHERER: People like David Axelrod are going to be going to Chicago to take over the campaign. People like Jim Messina, deputy chief of staff, is also going there. But, I think you'll see more continuation than change.

MITCHELL: Okay. All right. Okay, Michael. Thank you very much.