Obama Comes to New York for Barbara Walters and, sorta, the United Nations

Though Gotham is full of visiting heads of government and state, the President is meeting no one this time around. Is it insurance against possible gaffes? Or just a broader excuse not to meet the Prime Minister of Israel?

  • Share
  • Read Later
Allan Tannenbaum / Pool / Getty Images

Whoopi Goldberg, Barbara Walters, U.S. President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, Joy Behar, Sherri Shepherd, Elisabeth Hasselbeck pose for a photo on the set of The View on ABC-TV Sept. 24, 2012 in New York City

On Monday, President Barack Obama made his fourth pilgrimage to New York City for the opening of the United Nations General Assembly. He arrived in Manhattan on a glorious autumn afternoon and rushed to his first – and only – public event of the day: a taping of ABC’s The View with his wife, Michelle.

Obama’s lack of any scheduled bilateral meetings with world leaders at the summit – last year, as ABC’s Mark Knoller pointed out, he had 13 such tête-à-têtes —  was the subject of some contention at the White House briefing just before the President left. “I have no meetings to announce to you…,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said. “I mean, the President’s schedule includes the reception this evening. It includes his speech tomorrow [before the 67th General Assembly]. Beyond that I don’t have details for you. But again, I think it’s fairly clear, based on the President’s engagement with foreign leaders just in the last several weeks, that he is intensively engaged in matters of national security and foreign policy as he has been throughout his presidency.”

(MORE: The U.N. General Assembly: 5 Political Potholes for Obama)

The lack of personal diplomatic engagement comes after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tried to secure a meeting with Obama and was reportedly rebuffed. “Prime Minister Netanyahu is not in New York in the days the President is in New York, and the President is not in New York in the days when Prime Minister Netanyahu will be in New York,” Carney said providing the official version, pointing out that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be meeting with Netanyahu. “The President has met with and spent time on the phone with Prime Minister Netanyahu more than with any leader since he took office.”

Of course, meeting with world leaders when you don’t know if you’ll still have your job in the next few weeks, can be potentially awkward. It can lead to unfortunate hot-mic gaffes, of which Obama has not been immune (for example,  in Seoul earlier this year he asked Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to be flexible on missile defense until after the election, when Obama would have more space to maneuver–too much diplomatic candor for the sensitive electoral season). Still, ignoring the opportunity to meet one-on-one with world leaders underlined where Obama’s attention is fixed: the campaign. And it was the election that dominated the taping of The View. That, and the inside skinny of the Obama family’s schedule.

(PHOTOS: Obama’s Travels: Photos of Air Force One on the Campaign Circuit)

Who can provoke Obama the most? Michelle, he said, “by being thoroughly unreasonable.” Who’s funnier? “I am,” said Michelle. What do they discuss at dinner? Their days. Dad goes last and the girls rarely want to hear more than five minutes from him. Who tucks whom in? Mom and/or dad tuck in the girls every night, though with Malia turning into a night owl like her dad these days. Obama tucks Michelle in at 10 p.m. and then stays up till 1 a.m. “There’s a lot of tucking in our family,” laughed Michelle. How has the White House been on their relationship? Actually, it’s strengthened it since Obama now lives “above the shop” instead of commuting from city to city. What will they do for their 20th anniversary on Oct. 3? Probably dinner the Saturday before since their anniversary falls on the first debate. What do they want to do when they leave office? Michelle: relive their honeymoon driving the California coast. Obama: “What I’d enjoy most is spending time with kids. I love teaching. I’m not sure it’ll be in a classroom, but I love the idea of being able to go around to cities and do mentorships.”

But “first things first,” Obama said. “I’ve got a second term putting people back to work, making sure our schools are up to snuff, wrapping up another war.” On that note Obama drew a sharp contrast between himself and his opponent, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. When asked by Barbara Walters what would be so bad about a Romney presidency, Obama cited Romney’s response to a question posed by 60 Minutes on Sunday about whether it’s fair that Romney pays a lower tax rate than someone making $50,000 a year. Romney, Obama recalled, “said, ‘Yes, I think it’s fair and I also think that’s the way you get economic growth,’ the notion being that people at the top, they’ll invest and they’ll create jobs. I just have a different vision about how we grow an economy. I think, Barbara, that you grow an economy from the middle out, not from the top down.”

(MORE: Obama Is Wrong: He Made Change from the Inside)

Obama didn’t completely escape foreign policy. When asked about the attack in Libya last week that claimed the life of U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, Obama said the attack “wasn’t just a mob action,” contradicting initial assertions by his Administration that the assault hadn’t been premeditated. Obama also said that in the wake of the incident his government was paying closer attention to “fringe” groups of extremists, in addition to al-Qaeda and more established terrorist groups. Finally, he spoke about how the toughest day thus far in his presidency: last August when a helicopter crash claimed the lives of 30 servicemen, including many Navy Seals. “So I flew up to Dover to see the caskets come down and to be with the families,” Obama said. “And, you know, it’s very raw in those moments and it reminds you that freedom’s not free.”

131 comments
Sort: Newest | Oldest
Vivian Bennett-Cohan
Vivian Bennett-Cohan

Looks like Mitt Romney will lose if we believe the polls.

I will vote 4 him anyway, since I want to be proud of my vote.

ROMNEY/RYAN... To clean up Obamas mess.

Vivian Bennett-Cohan
Vivian Bennett-Cohan

Brandon Long.... I guess you didn't attend public school.....;)

111 is also 3.. sorta.

John Morrison
John Morrison

How in the world is it possible that BO is leading in the polls for the Presidency?  Are the people in this country on crack?  I'm in agreement with Howard Fineman's recent article to the extent that he speaks of a civil war developing in this country.  Just watch MSNBC for a few minutes and you will realize there is a massive gulf between the perceptions of reality of the modern right and left in this nation.  Sadly, BO, "the great post-partisan healer," as he was triumphantly pronounced in 2008 has done nothing but finger-point and play the blame game.  Not once has he ever conceded committing an error. His idea of compromise is simply, "Everyone else needs to accept what I want to do."  And then when the Republicans don't

like his massive spending, tax increases, entitlements, and generally socialist programs, they become "unreasonable obstructionists."  The liberal media take that and run with it.  The Tea Party (in truth, a spontaneous outburst of exasperation and concern of overspending, debt, and govt growth from well-intentioned citizens) becomes "right-wing, extremist, tea-baggers."  Instead of solemn and objective political commentators (i.e. Walter Kronkite), we have Bill Maher, Jeaneane Garofalo, and Jon Stewart unabashedly cursing at Republicans and calling them dimwits and racists.  The Dems feign moral outrage and publicly

call for "civility" in our political discourse, meanwhile, the Senate majority leader shamelessly slanders and defames a good man, Mitt Romney, as a felon and a tax cheat on the Senate floor with absolutely not one shred of evidence - just utter speculation based on hearsay from a mystery witness, and the media just collectively shrugs.  (I guess if you're Republican it's "guilty until proven innocent.")  Mitt Romney makes a statement on 9-12 that it's inappropriate for the current administration to apologize to the terrorists/Middle-east protesters who

are attacking the Embassy, and the media goes on a tirade about how unprofessional, un-Presidential, and generally inappropriate it was for Mitt Romney to speak on this issue.  But BO blows off Benjamin Netanyahu, not once but twice (first to go on Letterman, then to go on "The View" yesterday), and the media yawns.  While on the talk-show, even his die-hard supporter, Letterman, gently asks about the tremendous national debt ("Do you know how much it was when you entered the White House?"), and BO blandly admits he doesn't know!  The reaction from the media?  Silence.  On 9-11, when BO is informed that US Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, was killed by a violent mob, his reaction?  Fly to Vegas for a fundraiser.  More recently, he referred to all the chaos in

the Middle East (civil war in Syria, US Ambassador killed, violent anti-American protests in 20 countries, and Iran sabre-rattling and threatening to develop a nuke and wipe Israel off the map) as "bumps in the road."  Are any of these instances deemed devastating "gaffes" by the media?  Of course not.  But everytime Romney dares to speak or move at all, the media pounces on him like an angry swarm of wasps.  It's as if we are living out a real-life Orwellian novel.  This is insane.  BO

is a horrible President.  Face facts, people.  If the left is going to continue to be elitist bullies, shamelessly bashing their Republican foes in public and via the media, slandering them, playing the race card, and every other trick they can come up with, just be careful what kind of a boiling point you are creating.  The left, as far as I can see is simply following BO's Chicago take-no-prisoners political model: they will step on anyone who gets in their way, rules be damned, and

they do not want to hear what anyone else's opinion is.  This is bullying at its purest.  Just be careful what you wish for.  All this stomping around is only further dividing the country.

Vivian Bennett-Cohan
Vivian Bennett-Cohan

I just got back from visiting my dad and step mom (ages 70 , 83) in Ohio...  They are duped.  They told me :

MITT WANTS TO HAVE A WAR ON WOMEN, MITT WANTS TO TAKE AWAY OUR SOCIAL SECURITY, MITT SENDS ALL THE JOBS OVERSEAS.

I just lost it, and let them know it was all a lie.  I love my folks, but I never knew they were this UNINFORMED!

JohnYuEsq
JohnYuEsq

Redistributing wealth upward

By Harold Meyerson, Published: September 25

Which is the more redistributionist of our two parties? In recent decades, as Republicans have devoted themselves with laser-like intensity to redistributing America’s wealth and income upward, the evidence suggests the answer is the GOP.

The most obvious way that Republicans have robbed from the middle to give to the rich has been the changes they wrought in the tax code — reducing income taxes for the wealthy in the Reagan and George W. Bush tax cuts, and cutting the tax rate on capital gains to less than half the rate on the top income of upper-middle-class employees.

The less widely understood way that Republicans have helped redistribute wealth to the already wealthy is by changing the rules. Markets don’t function without rules, and the rules that Republican policymakers have made since Ronald Reagan became president have consistently depressed the share of the nation’s income that the middle class can claim.

JohnParish
JohnParish

Help support the change in the way election campaign funds

are raised.  Stop the Super Pacs from

steering the candidates and ruling the government. 

Come march on Congress and show them that the American

Population do not want candidates to be persuaded by these Super Pacs any more.

Visit www.indiegogo.com/SuperPac

and help raise the awareness of this problem.

PaulAdmirer
PaulAdmirer

Jay, what's your point? When an incumbent president is running for reelection what should be the balance between campaigning and working?  How much campaigning is too much?  Maybe Obama should not make any campaign trips.  Heck, maybe he really should not have had a convention.  Better he should have spent that time meeting with world leaders.  

manapp99
manapp99

When both Clinton and Bush Jr were campaigning for reelection they still made time for one on ones with foreign leaders at the same conference. If Obama is not able to do the same as his predecessors maybe it shows his inability to do the job for which he was elected. Clearly now more than ever, as the world is unraveling in so many places, the best choice for America would have been for Obama to find time for the meetings and to have skipped the View. It is about priorities. 

RobLACa
RobLACa

What a loser , he goes on the View.   Such a thin shinned incompetent fraud afraid to take real question and ridicule.  Coward.

Tired_Libertarian
Tired_Libertarian like.author.displayName 1 Like

This presidency has become something closer to a "reality show" than the actual running of a country.

It is understandable that he would feel more comfortable in front of a crowd than in a room with other heads of state.  He lectured at University of Chicago for 12 years (4 years as a Lecturer and 8 years as a Senior Lecturer) while being a US Senator for 4 years. 

Other heads of state probably can make mince meat of him on the global stage.

D . Giunta
D . Giunta

So what. He regularly talks to world leaders. He does not need to do so at this point in time.

manapp99
manapp99

Yeah, no point breaking out the hoses while the house burns. Better to save the water and wait until the fire is over. 

Harry Bradford
Harry Bradford

Much ado about nothing. The Swampland sloth can put its claws away.

Ellen K
Ellen K

 Erma, did you know that Mossad has eyes and ears in Iraq, something our CIA hasn't been able to do since the Clintons destroyed the security infrastructure with their ill fated walls between agencies? Did you also know that the Israelies know the US is ths osuce of Styuxnet which is now being reconfigured by

Guest
Guest

The President and his advisers know Obama is rubber and Romney is glue.  Everything bounces off the President and stick to Romney.

Nothing sticks to Obama, not bad job numbers, not murdered diplomats abroad or burned down embassies in Libya and Egypt, not a bad economy or runaway national debt, not scandal at the Dept. of Justice, not Solyndra, not the rescue of mega banks, not an unpopular national health plan that no one talks about anymore. His approval ratings keep going up and up.

He didn't meet with world leaders? His poll numbers just went up two points! So at this point he can just cruise to victory. African-Americans will vote for him regardless, so will Latinos and Dreamers, so will lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgendered and queer/questioning (LGBTQQ), so will women who value insurance covered birth control, so will the young who value subsidized student loans, and so will journalists and entertainers--Whoopi, Babs (both of them), Madonna and Letterman, and super billionaires like George Soros, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffet. Obama gets sophisticates in urban and creative centers--Hollywood, Silicon Valley to NYC and Cambridge. Even the elderly want Obama, Ryan just got booed during his AARP speech. Jews support Obama despite some minor concerns about Israel. Romney only gets a few white folk and those who cling to religion and guns.

So why should he be bothered with boring meetings when he can go for coffee talk with the ladies of The View. Would you go to a boring lecture if you knew the teacher was going to give you an A anyway, or interview for 3 hours if you knew the employer would give you the job anyway? Obama's coattails are so long even the House is in play now and Dems could regain control. The Pelosi, Reid, Obama troika will be back in control in a few weeks.

Happy Days are here again!

manapp99
manapp99

And all across America we took our Soma and went  back to sleep to sweet lullabies sung by the MSM. 

Obama loves us this I know.........ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Mary Max Neely
Mary Max Neely

I read unkind remarks all the time, but you guys need to check the facts. He made a fine speech today, the VIEW was taped. LOL

 

manapp99
manapp99

Fact is he skipped the one on one meetings with world leaders in time with large problems around the globe. Fact is that is what the article is about. LOL.

eliking
eliking

Sorta? He gave a great speech at the UN.

FredFilopek
FredFilopek

Mr medicine can you explain how people who are on Social security and single mothers with two jobs do not accept responsibility for their lives as mitt told us.?

Therealestmc
Therealestmc

They should have been poor. This is America; every one can make to the top. 

FredFilopek
FredFilopek

Mr medicine how much more should he have paid rather the hide his money in the caymans ? What a great American . He avoids taxes at a time of great deficit. Sure mitt wants war . How else will his friends in the defense industry make their money.

Ja_Mais
Ja_Mais

It is just sad that Obama has diminished the office of President to this mindless, narcissistic level.   He has been a one man wrecking crew tearing down our country.  The View?  David Letterman?  Even a 9/11 interview with DJ Laz, the “Pimp with the Limp”:  Obama--“I’m the one who should be humbled. You’re big time. You’ve got Pitbull and Flo Rida and all these guys just beating a path to your door. And so I’m hoping I can get a little of that magic from you in this interview.”  How low can you go?

Steve
Steve

Obama has played golf more than any president in history.  He still doesn't know what the federal deficit is (on Letterman) and he doesn't yet know if the murder of our ambassador in Libya was an act of terrorism.  He's been out to lunch for four years and that's why unemployment is still above 8 percent.

Seymour Freely
Seymour Freely

 The majority of his supporters could not name 1 foreign leader, but they all could name each twit on The View.

Ace_Arbiter11
Ace_Arbiter11

How about a foreign leader's name of a terrorist group, Osama Bin Laden, is that right?  I think he's the guy that a Republican president had no clue how to find, but he did find, and killed, like he said he would.  Does that count?

Obama_Dogeater
Obama_Dogeater

Obama is the biggest terrorist of all. Nobel Peace Prize, lol!