Monday, March 23, 2009

Obama's "Gallows Humor" on 60 Minutes

As you've probably heard, Barack Obama was on 60 Minutes with Steve Kroft, and during the interview, Kroft questioned Obama about the looming economic threats the nation faces today. Obama's response acknowledged the dangers - but with inexplicable levity. Politico's Craig Gordon and Jonathan Martin wrote that:

President Barack Obama said he believes the global financial system remains at risk of implosion with the failure of Citigroup or AIG, which could touch off “an even more destructive recession and potentially depression.”
Kroft's questions reflected those of anxious Americans, but as he answered, Obama continuously chuckled. On the 60 Minutes video, when asked whether the ailing auto industry can remain economically viable, Obama says:
"The only thing less popular than putting money into banks" (hearty laugh) "is putting money into the auto industry."
Evidently the levity of impending economic disaster and collapse of the auto industry escaped Kroft altogether. He finally challenges the grinning President Obama:
“You're sitting here, and you're . . . you are laughing about some of these problems. Are people going to look at this and say, ‘I mean, he's sitting there just making jokes about money . . . how do you deal with . . . I mean, explain the mood in your laughter . . ."
Perhaps Kroft realized both the effrontery of his question, and the chilling implications of the laughter, and helpfully suggests:
"Are you punch-drunk?"
Obama's answer:
"Sometimes there has to be a little gallows humor to get you through the day."
Yup, this epic economic firestorm is real knee slapper, if you look at it just right. Of course - to be fair - he's not the one on the financial gallows.

Actually, I think Kroft may have inadvertantly given us a little revelation about President Obama's mysterious take on things Presidential when he introduced the second part of the interview:
"Aside from running the Harvard Law Review and directing his own presidential campaign, President Barack Obama entered the White House with no real executive experience."
Well, now you tell us, Mr. Kroft of 60 Minutes. But then, the world would find out eventually. It was only a matter of time . . . Tick-tick-tick-tick-tick.

Read the Gordon & Martin's article: Kroft to Obama: Are you punch-drunk?
Watch the full 60 Minutes interview

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