CBS Proclaims Obama on YouTube is 'His Version of the Fireside Chat'

At the top of Friday's CBS Early Show, co-host Chris Wragge cheered President Obama's recent Q & A on YouTube: "Obama opens up. The President answers YouTube questions on everything from the war in Afghanistan to the Super Bowl. We'll go live to the White House for the latest on his version of the Fireside Chat."

While Frankin Roosevelt used his famous radio 'Fireside Chats' to keep the American people informed on public policy during the Great Depression, senior White House correspondent Bill Plante touted how with Obama, "the questions were less political and more personal. Like, what's he giving Michelle for Valentine's Day?" Another important topic of discussion: "He was asked his pick to win the Super Bowl. Mr. Obama is running for re-election and he went with the politically safe answer."           

Plante went on to compare Obama's latest public relations blitz to that of both FDR and Kennedy: "Ever since 1933, when Franklin Delano Roosevelt began using the new medium of radio to deliver his 'Fireside Chats'...and John F. Kennedy held the first televised live news conference...Presidents have embraced the newest technology to get their message out." Plante added: "The Obama team has enthusiastically used social media tools from the very beginning of his presidential campaign."

In his report, Plante did manage to highlight one challenging policy question for the President: "One question, why U.S. troops are still dying in Iraq and Afghanistan, came from a military mom."

Plante concluded the segment by noting: "And when he was asked about the toughest thing about being president, Mr. Obama gave the same answer that most previous presidents have given, and that is that he lives in a bubble. He's not free to take a walk, or leave the house." Wragge sympathized: "One of the downsides of the office."  


Here is a full transcript of the January 28 segment:

7:00AM ET TEASE:

CHRIS WRAGGE: Obama opens up. The President answers YouTube questions on everything from the war in Afghanistan to the Super Bowl. We'll go live to the White House for the latest on his version of the 'Fireside Chat.' 

7:11AM ET SEGMENT:

WRAGGE: President Obama opened up on the internet yesterday, holding a town hall meeting on YouTube. He answered questions on topics from the war on drugs to Valentine's Day. And CBS News senior White House correspondent Bill Plante has that story for us this morning. Bill, good morning.

BILL PLANTE: Good morning, Chris. You know, if you've often thought that you'd like to ask the President a question, you're not alone. When YouTube put out a reason to ask the President questions and called for questions, they got more than a million responses.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: YouTube President; Obama's Version of Fireside Chats]

UNIDENTIFIED MAN [YOUTUBE MODERATOR]: Welcome back to YouTube, Mr. President.

PLANTE: When the President opened up to the barrage from the public, the questions were less political and more personal. Like, what's he giving Michelle for Valentine's Day?

BARACK OBAMA: Actually the thing that she wants is time. So we always try to get a date night out on Valentine's Day.

PLANTE: He was asked his pick to win the Super Bowl. Mr. Obama is running for re-election and he went with the politically safe answer.

OBAMA: Not that the Bears have lost, I've got to stay neutral. And may the best team win.

PLANTE: Ever since 1933, when Franklin Delano Roosevelt began using the new medium of radio to deliver his 'Fireside Chats'-

FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT: I want to talk for a few minutes with the people of the United States about banking.

PLANTE: And John F. Kennedy held the first televised live news conference.

JOHN F. KENNEDY: The United States government is gratified-

PLANTE: Presidents have embraced the newest technology to get their message out.

OBAMA: Hello Philadelphia!

PLANTE: The Obama team has enthusiastically used social media tools from the very beginning of his presidential campaign. Thursday's forum did touch on serious issues.

SHEILA [BRUNSWICK, OHIO]: And Mr. President, I have a son in the military.

PLANTE: One question, why U.S. troops are still dying in Iraq and Afghanistan, came from a military mom.

OBAMA: In Afghanistan, we have Al Qaeda and its allies, and it is my job as President to make sure that they can't launch another 9/11 against us.
                            
PLANTE: This is the President's third YouTube Q & A. And like the last two, the majority of the questions were actually about legalization of marijuana.

OBAMA: I am not in favor of legalization. I am a strong believer that we have to think more about drugs as a public health problem.

PLANTE: And when he was asked about the toughest thing about being president, Mr. Obama gave the same answer that most previous presidents have given, and that is that he lives in a bubble. He's not free to take a walk, or leave the house. Chris.

WRAGGE: One of the downsides of the office. Alright, CBS's Bill Plante at the White House for us this morning. Bill, thank you.

— Kyle Drennen is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. You can follow him on Twitter here.

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