CBS’s Smith on Obama: ‘Can A Guy Who's Cool Be President’?

Harry Smith and Michael Hainey, CBS On Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith touted the latest issue of ‘GQ’ magazine, in which Barack Obama was named one of the publication’s ‘Men of the Year’: "As If being elected president isn't a high enough honor, Barack Obama is now the quintessential 'GQ' guy." Later, Smith talked to ‘GQ’ deputy editor Michael Hainey and asked: " Is there -- is -- do you have this little bit of a sense, can there be -- can a guy who's cool be President of the United States?" Hainey replied: "No. I think, I mean JFK was cool. I mean, you know...And I think, yeah, Reagan was cool. I mean it's that sense of how you define 'cool,' I think. And it's -- it's a real chemistry, that's what people are reacting to."

Smith began the segment by asking Hainey about the choice: "Why -- [Laughs] I suppose why not? Now when did you make the choice though?... And for Barack Obama, why would -- why was he a good choice?" Hainey explained: "Well, you know, it's interesting, we had Ted Kennedy write the piece for us in the magazine about the Senator. And as he said it, you know, the torch has been passed to a new generation... It really is, I mean, he's young, he's vibrant, he's vital, like all those qualities of a 'GQ' guy."

Smith later wondered: "...watching these images of Obama come in...what is part of the conversation people have about Barack Obama?...what are some of your thoughts about his image, what he looks like, how he carries himself, that sort of stuff?" Hainey responded: "I think it's his dynamism, he's a very dynamic guy, he's very vibrant and also just a family man. I think you at him, he's young, he's attractive, he's solid, and he's, you know, he is a leader. You can't help but react to him." At the end of the segment Hainey listed the other ‘GQ’ ‘Men of the Year,’ including Leonardo DiCaprio, Michael Phleps, and John Hamm. Smith remarked: "Yeah, I don't think you missed on any of them."

Here is the full transcript of the segment:

7:44AM TEASE:

HARRY SMITH: Coming up, as If being elected president isn't a high enough honor, Barack Obama is now the quintessential 'GQ' guy. We'll tell you why.

8:08AM SEGMENT:

Obamalot, CBS HARRY SMITH: All week long we're looking at the Obama family. The new residents, or soon to be new residents, of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Turns out that President-elect Barack Obama has been named one of 'GQ' magazine's men of the year. Michael Hainey is deputy editor, is with us this morning. Good morning, sir.

MICHAEL HAINEY: Thanks for having me.

SMITH: Why -- [Laughs] I suppose why not? Now when did you make the choice though?

HAINEY: We made this choice months ago, actually. We closed the issue mid-October which was well before the election, obviously.

SMITH: Yeah, sure. And for Barack Obama, why would -- why was he a good choice?

HAINEY: Well, you know, it's interesting, we had Ted Kennedy write the piece for us in the magazine about the Senator. And as he said it, you know, the torch has been passed to a new generation.

SMITH: Right.

HAINEY: It really is, I mean, he's young, he's vibrant, he's vital, like all those qualities of a 'GQ' guy.

SMITH: Right. When you're -- in 'GQ' as you guys are sitting around watching these images of Obama come in, they first started coming in 22 months ago.

HAINEY: Right, right.

SMITH: But as they've been coming in over, say, the last six months or so, what is part of the conversation people have about Barack Obama?

HAINEY: I think it's his dynamism, he's a very dynamic guy, he's very vibrant and also just a family man. I think you at him, he's young, he's attractive, he's solid, and he's, you know, he is a leader. You can't help but react to him.

SMITH: Yeah. 'GQ,' though, is so much about image.

HAINEY: Right.

SMITH: What is your -- what are some of your thoughts about his image, what he looks like, how he carries himself, that sort of stuff?

HAINEY: I think he looks great. I mean, he looks great whether he's wearing a suit or you know, as we've seen lately, in sort of like this interim period between the taking office, like jeans and a baseball cap and shades, taking the girls to school. You know, he's also come to be like -- the sort of like family dad.

SMITH: Right. Is there -- is -- do you have this little bit of a sense, can there be -- can a guy who's cool be President of the United States?

HAINEY: You could be president, you're cool.

SMITH: [Laughter] Can a kind of really old late 50s, kind of bald guy-

HAINEY: Sure, I mean, you're Eisenhower. You know? No. I think, I mean JFK was cool. I mean, you know-

SMITH: Right.

HAINEY: And I think, yeah, Reagan was cool. I mean it's that sense of how you define 'cool,' I think. And it's -- it's a real chemistry, that's what people are reacting to.

SMITH: Yeah, yeah. Who are your other men of the year here in your issue?

HAINEY: We have Leonardo DiCaprio-

SMITH: He's cool-

HAINEY: we have Michael Phelps-

SMITH: Mike, both cool-

HAINEY: And we have John Hamm of Mad Men, so we have four great covers. You know, so-

SMITH: Yeah. Hamm is cool.

HAINEY: Hamm is cool.

SMITH: Yeah, I don't think you missed on any of them.

HAINEY: I hope not.

SMITH: Yeah, I guess not, there we go.

SMITH: Thank you very much for coming and stopping by.

HAINEY: Thanks for having me.

SMITH: There you go. Now on a news stand near you.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC