07.29.10

A Soothing Performance

Obama’s star turn on The View helped remind us how calming the president can be. But he muffed the chance to tell the country where he’s leading us.

After watching Martha Stewart talk about a broom for three minutes longer than I thought possible, and suffering through advertisements for Latisse, a prescription eyelash plumping drug, it was wonderful to get a dose of substance on President Obama's "historic" appearance on ABC's The View.

My pleasure wasn't just in seeing the five hosts ask more policy-oriented questions ( Jersey Shore aside) than many "hard news" specialists. But because I've covered Obama for three solid years, I forget how genuinely calming his unfettered speech is. When co-host and resident Republican EIisabeth Hasselbeck critiqued his administration for saying they've "saved jobs," his calm retort ("it matters to you if your job is the one saved") was masterful—and it helps that the latest economic analysis backs him up.

More Daily Beast Reaction to Obama on The View and VideoOn politics, however, it would have been nice if he'd actually connected with Joy Behar's softball about "what story" he is telling from the oval office. Ticking off the number of laws he's signed is not a story, it's a list—and by talking about "tone" in Washington rather than his "view" of American progressivism, he missed a chance to fight for his party in advance of November elections.

Grade: B+

Dayo Olopade is a political reporter for The Daily Beast and a Bernard Schwartz Fellow at the New America Foundation.