Barbara Walters Tosses Softballs to 'Charming' Obama: 'What's Your Favorite App?'

December 14th, 2012 12:00 PM

Good Morning America on Friday offered a fawning preview of Barbara Walters' exclusive interview with Barack and Michelle Obama. Walters gushed over the "touching," "charming" couple and asked the President softballs such as "What's your favorite app?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]

The journalist couldn't get over just how adorable the two Democrats are, fawning, "Together, she teases him. He teases her. It's a whole other look." Quite pleased with herself, Walters declared that such moments are what's "charming about this interview."

Walters did play one serious question, a query about marijuana legalization. But the rest of the segment was fluff. At one point, she gushed, "You have an iPad...What's your favorite app?"

On Wednesday, the View co-host interviewed Hillary Clinton for the 2012 Edition of the 10 Most Fascinating People. She giggled with the Secretary of State about hair style. However, it's not as though Walters is unafraid to get tough. She pressed Republican Chris Christie: "I feel very uncomfortable asking this question when I'm sitting opposite you. But you are a little overweight."

This fawning Obama Christmas interview has become somewhat of a tradition at ABC. In December of 2011, Walters wondered, "If you were a superhero and you could have one super power, what would it be?"

For a tough First Lady interview, see Robin Roberts lecturing Laura Bush in 2007, suggesting that the U.S. should export generosity "instead of our bombs."

A transcript of the December 14 GMA segment, which aired at 7:14am EST, follows:

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: And back to Barbara Walters for more of her exclusive interview with President Obama and the First Lady. It's becoming a holiday tradition. It airs tonight on 20/20. And Barbara is here with some of the highlights right now. You got the full tour, as always. You got to see both.

BARBARA WALTERS: I got the full tour of the White House, with the star of the White House. And that's not the President or the First Lady. You know who it is. It's Bo.

STEPHANOPOULOS: It is Bo. But you did sit down with the President, covered the news of the day, as well?

WALTERS: We did. We talked to the two of them. And you'll see that they're very different when they are together. They're funny and cute. But we also asked the President a very important question about the legalization of marijuana, because there's two states in which it is legal.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Washington and Colorado. Let's take a look.

WALTERS: Do you think that marijuana should be legalized?

BARACK OBAMA: I wouldn't go that far. But I what think is that, at this point, Washington and Colorado, you've seen the voters speak on this issue. And as it is, the federal government has a lot to do when it comes to criminal prosecutions. It does not make sense from a prioritization point of view, for us to focus on recreational drug users in a state that has already said that under state law, that's legal.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Interesting. So, the President doesn't want to conflict with the states on this, even though it's the attorney general's fine with the decision.

WALTERS: And I asked him about the fact that when he was younger, he smoked marijuana. And what does he tell his girls? He says what a lot of parents say, don't make the mistakes that I made.

STEPHANOPOULOS: The only thing he can say. You also talked to the President about spending that little bit of spare time he has?

WALTERS: And you see the two of them together, quarreling about Scrabble, no less. Take a look. You have an iPad.


WALTERS: Yes. What's your favorite app?


MICHELLE OBAMA: Oh, yeah. Gosh. Sometimes I want to yank that out of your hand.

WALTERS: And who wins?

MICHELLE OBAMA: He's good at Scrabble. He's very irritating.

BARACK OBAMA: She doesn't like losing. So, she stops playing.

MICHELLE OBAMA: No. I don't like losing to you because you're a little irritating when you win.

STEPHANOPOULOS: He's a little cocky about his Scrabble prowess there.

WALTERS: But, you know, the thing that's charming about this interview, which you'll see tonight, is how different they are, you know, when you interview them alone, they're very serious people, as they should be. Together, she teases him. He teases her. It's a whole other look. But then, what I found very touching, I asked the President and First Lady if they had a message for Robin. And, indeed, they did.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's take a look.

BARACK OBAMA: I want to make sure to send a big Christmas greeting to Robin Roberts, part of your team.


BARACK OBAMA: And, who is just such a wonderful person. Somebody that we've, you know, come to really love. So, we're just rooting for her. Hope she's doing great. And want her to know that the whole Obama crew is thinking about her.

MICHELLE OBAMA: Yeah. Robin, we love you. We want Robin to come back and keep doing great things.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Amen to that. That is fantastic right there. Now, they weren't part of the interview. You also got to talk about Malia and Sasha, as well.

WALTERS: Well, Malia has gotten a cell phone. And the President said, you know, one of the reasons that he says one of the reasons I'm glad that I was re-elected, I have the Secret Service to keep an eye on the girls, especially now that Malia is getting old enough for boys to be calling. And the whole business now. They used to have to call through the White House. Now, she has her own cell phone.

STEPHANOPOULOS: That is a big step. How old is Malia now? She's 13 or 14?

WALTERS: Fourteen.


WALTERS: You know, by the time this term finishes, she will be 18, ready for college. And certainly ready for dating. So, you know, they talked a little about the changes in their lives. There's no ground rules about the cell phone. But Mrs. Obama says, "She never knows when I'm going to walk into her room and see what she's texting." You know, parents are parents, no matter what.

STEPHANOPOULOS: No question about it. We can't wait to see all of it tonight. Thank you, Barbara, on 20/20. Christmas at the White House.