President Barack Obama, appearing on "The View," admitted that he was not invited to Chelsea Clinton's upcoming wedding -- but didn't mind at all, he told the five co-hosts of the daytime show, broadcast on Thursday.
Asked by Sherri Shepherd if he was attending the wedding set for this weekend, Obama replied: "I am not going. It would be tough enough having one president at a wedding. You don't want two presidents at a wedding," what with all the Secret Service fuss.
But show founder Barbara Walters -- returning to the show's couch for the first time since her heart surgery -- realized there was a detail to nail down and asked a follow-up question: "Were you invited to Chelsea Clinton's wedding?"
"I was not invited because I think Hillary and Bill properly want to keep this as a thing for Chelsea and her soon-to-be husband," the president said, referring to his secretary of state and the former president. He added, "I'm letting you guys know now, y'all probably won't be invited to Malia's wedding or Sasha's wedding."
"The View" co-hosts covered a range of serious public policy questions in the show as well as not-so-serious stuff, including catching up on family news. (Malia, 12, is already off to overnight camp and Sasha, 9, is visiting friends, so it's just the president and first lady Michelle in the White House.) Co-host Joy Behar tested Obama on whether he was up on celebrity news.
"Just give me your first impressions," she asked. "Do you know Lindsay Lohan was in jail?"
"I actually know that, yes," Obama said.
"Does Mel Gibson need anger management?"
"I haven't seen a Mel Gibson movie in a while," Obama dodged. (The controversial actor is accused of spouse abuse and anti-Semitism.)
"Should Snooki run as mayor of Wasilla?" -- a reference to the "Jersey Shore" personality.
"I got to admit, I don't know who Snooki is," Obama said (though he did refer to the New Jersey personality in his May 2 comedic speech at the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner).
The president's communication team booked him for the interview to reach an audience of mainly women who may not be fixated on the 24/7 news cycle. It was the first time, according to ABC, that a sitting president has appeared on a daytime TV show.
Walters asked why Obama agreed to the booking. "You've gone through a little bit of a beating the last month," she said. "Do you really think that being on a show with a bunch of women -- five women who never shut up -- is going to be calming?"
Quipped Obama, "Look, I was trying to find a show that Michelle actually watched -- and so I thought, this is it, right here. All those news shows she's like 'Eh, let me get the clicker.' "
Other topics of discussion:
-- Race. Hosts Whoopi Goldberg and Shepherd, who are African-American, asked questions dealing with race. Goldberg brought up the 1967 movie, "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner," a story about the marriage of a white woman to an African-American man, played by Sidney Poitier.
Asked if he remembered the movie, Obama said, "I was only 6, Whoopi."
Goldberg recalled a scene from the movie where Poiter says to his screen father, "You think of yourself as a Negro man, and I think of myself as a man, and that's the difference." Is that still relevant, Goldberg asked.
Replying, Obama brought up the recent uproar over Shirley Sherrod, who was wrongly fired by his administration over a misunderstanding about comments she made on race.
"That part of our brain that if somebody looks different or sounds different, that there's a part of us that is cautious. And what we have to do is fight against that, and that's part of what Shirley Sherrod was trying to say in the speech, if you actually read the whole speech."
But Obama may have stumbled when he was asked by Walters if he identifies himself as black, when his father was black but his mother was white. In answering, Obama used the word "mongrel" in referring to African-Americans.
He said, "You know, part of what I realized was that if the world saw me as African-American, then that wasn't something that I needed to run away from. That's something that I could go ahead and embrace. And the interesting thing about the African-American experience in this country is that we are sort of a mongrel people. I mean, we're all kind of mixed up."
-- Jobs and the economy. Host Elisabeth Hasselbeck, who is the conservative on the show, pressed Obama on the credibility of his administration's claims that stimulus spending "saved" jobs when unemployment is near 10 percent.
"You're absolutely right that it's not enough. And if you don't have a job right now, the only answer that you want to hear is "I'm hired," Obama said.
Hasselbeck challenged Obama on whether jobs were really saved. "I think the word "saved" is what's troubling people, because they don't feel it," she said.
Obama replied, "Well, it makes a difference, though, if your job was one of the ones that's saved."
-- Twitter. Obama said any presidential Twitters that go out really are the work of "some 20-year-old" who is "doing a lot of the tweeting. I'm just fessing up here."
-- What's on his iPod? Jay-Z, Frank Sinatra, Maria Callas.
"I do not have Justin Bieber on there," Obama said in reply to a question.
"But I have met Justin Bieber. He came to sing at the White House."