Sawyer Asks Obama to Time Travel: What Would You Say to the Obama of a Year Ago?

Diane Sawyer's interview with President Barack Obama wasn't nearly as sycophantic as the one conducted last Wednesday by George Stephanopoulos, with Sawyer posing mostly informational inquiries about the direction he'll set out in the State of the Union speech as she also raised the huge deficits and whether all future meetings about health care will “be on C-SPAN” as he had pledged?

But she presumed some of the anger at him wasn't his fault -- “People think you must say at the end of the day, this is not who I was in 2008, these deals with Nebraska, with Florida” -- and empathized with the “buzz saw bruising” he gets, so: “Ever in the middle of all that's coming at you, do you think maybe one term is enough?”

In a second segment aired at the end of Monday's World News, she wondered whether he favors the Colts or Saints in the SuperBowl (Saints) and “what's been the most important and useful thing” Michelle Obama has “said to you?” (Help Sasha with basketball shots.) In her “if you were a tree, what kind would you be?” moment, a beaming Sawyer held up photos of Obama at the inauguration and his first congressional speech and wondered: “What would you say to him?” (Obama: “You're going to look older in a year.”)

Monday's Nightline and Tuesday's Good Morning America will also carry portions of the interview.

From January 20: “Stephanopoulos Frets Obama Too Ambitious, Seeks Confirmation He's Had 'Most Fulfilling' Year.

The questions from Sawyer to Obama shown in the two interview excerpts aired on the Monday, January 25 World News with Diane Sawyer on ABC. In the segment which led the newscast:
> Republicans are already out today saying what you're talking about so far for Wednesday night is not going to create any new jobs.

> But what is it going to be? New stimulus money -- as we know, in the House, they've talked about $170 billion or so for new stimulus money?

> But a year ago, you said the first item on the agenda, a year ago, jobs. [archive clip of Obama] Painted a picture of jobs from coast to coast.

> New proposals? [in State of the Union address] Something surprising?

> Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke going to be confirmed. Do you guarantee the markets that he's going to the Fed Chairman?

> Even though Barbara Boxer, John McCain have come out and said look -- John McCain said he's the guy who steered into the iceberg. Barbara Boxer said we need a representative of Main Street.

> To all the people terrified about the deficits, $1.5 trillion more this year than taken in expected next year. Can you guarantee them still that there will be no taxes on anybody who makes under $250,000 a year? That's still the absolute rule?

> Health care -- going forward, should all the conversations, all the meetings be on C-SPAN?

> People think you must say at the end of the day, this is not who I was in 2008, these deals with Nebraska, with Florida.

> A personal question, if I can, because a lot of people heard you at the Baptist church say sometimes in these buzz saw bruising seasons you sit and confront your own doubts [clip of Obama from January 17]. Ever in the middle of all that's coming at you, do you think maybe one term is enough?

> Two diametrically opposing paths have been laid out by your supporters. One is come out swinging, go down for history, let everybody -- let the Republicans filibuster and do it and the other is slow down, scale back, less money. Which is it going to be?
In a segment which ended the newscast:
> Colts/Saints?

> [Holding up two photos of Obama] Two pictures: inauguration, first congressional speech. What would you say to him?

> [On Michelle Obama] What's been most the important and useful thing she's said to you?
The ABCNews.com transcript of the entire session.
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center