Meredith Viera gets the big scoop on the Today show, doing the first post-repudiation interview with Barack and Michelle Obama, as they have to regroup after a series of stumbles over the last two months. Obama to some degree took responsibility for his own woes, although Michelle wanted to “move forward” instead. However, Obama let loose a glimpse of his aggrieved status when talking about how hard it is for a man with his name to run for President:
Veteran watchers of American politics will see parallels between this appearance and the post-Gennifer Flowers 60 Minutes interview of Bill and Hillary Clinton, although the scandals are much different. In 1992, the issue was Bill’s personal character, and the supportive Hillary performance helped reassure voters that Flowers wasn’t indicative of Bill’s overall character. Look how well that turned out.
For Obama, the issue is his political character, and that’s not going to get assuaged by a suddenly-gentle Michelle Obama. Obama did about as well as he could do in this instance; it’s certainly not a bad interview for him. His recognition of his role in the stumbles will come across well, as opposed to the tack he could have taken in blaming the media, and so on. However, his explanation of his remarks in San Francisco comes about two weeks too late and still doesn’t address the really offensive nature of their Thomas Frankian quality.
Also, Obama comes across as very passive, detached, and almost uninterested, as he has during the debates and other interviews he has given of late. He looks and sounds like he’s running out of gas, and he’s a long way from the finish line.