CBS Marvels at Obama's TV Binge Watching: 'He's A Lot Like Us'
Acting like the White House press office, Tuesday's CBS This Morning devoted a 3-minute report to President Obama's habit of binge watching his favorite TV shows, with correspondent Bill Plante gushing: "He may be the leader of the free world, but when it comes to unwinding, President Obama – well, he's a lot like us....The President tunes in to tune out. And when he needs his television, step aside." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Plante described how Obama asked HBO CEO Richard Plepler for early copies of certain shows during the recent state dinner for the president of France. Plante added: "Then later in the week, this appeared on the President's Twitter account. 'Tomorrow: @HouseOfCards. No spoilers, please.' A reference to one of his favorite shows."
Continuing to fawn over the commander-in-chief's viewing tastes, Plante proclaimed: "The President has described TV as his biggest guilty pleasure. His go-tos include Breaking Bad, Mad Men, and Homeland....A presidential stamp of approval that has Hollywood giddy."
Wrapping up the pro-Obama fluff, Plante declared: "Well, you know, it's not just television, the President loves movies, too. And in fact, this afternoon, the First Family will be in the White House theater watching a screening of the new movie Monuments Men..."
Here is a full transcript of the February 18 segment:
GAYLE KING: President Obama is back in Washington today after spending three days at a California resort. He met with the King of Jordan and signed a bill increasing the debt limit. But as Bill Plante reports from the White House, there's a lot of talk about another weekend activity. Bill, good morning.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Presidential Sneak Peek; Obama Requests Advance Copies of Favorite TV Shows]
BILL PLANTE: Good morning Gayle. Well, I heard some talk on this broadcast earlier about binge watching. And you know what? You weren't the only ones doing it. The buzz around here started last week at the state dinner for the president of France, when the President [Obama] pulled aside the head of HBO to ask a favor. And then he took to Twitter to say that this plan for the weekend included some marathon TV watching.
He may be the leader of the free world, but when it comes to unwinding, President Obama – well, he's a lot like us.
KEVIN SPACEY [AS FRANK UNDERWOOD IN HOUSE OF CARDS]: I'd like to coin the phrase "Trickle down diplomacy," that way-
UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS [HOUSE OF CARDS]: Frank, I want to stop you there.
PLANTE: The President tunes in to tune out. And when he needs his television...
CLAIRE DANES [HOMELAND]: Damn it, Saul, there's no time!
PLANTE: ...step aside. That may have been how the CEO of HBO, Richard Plepler, felt last week at the state dinner for France. Some who were there said that President Obama tracked him down and asked for copies of True Detective and Game of Thrones, about to start it's fourth season, and apparently President Obama wanted a preview. Then later in the week, this appeared on the President's Twitter account. "Tomorrow: @HouseOfCards. No spoilers, please." A reference to one of his favorite shows.
SPACEY [HOUSE OF CARDS]: My job is to clear the pipes and keep the sludge moving.
PLANTE: Which depicts a Washington very different from his own. At a meeting in December, the President joked about how the lead character, played by Kevin Spacey, deftly manages Congress.
BARACK OBAMA: I wish things were that ruthlessly efficient. I was liking Kevin Spacey. I was thinking, hey, this guy's getting a lot of stuff done.
PLANTE: The President has described TV as his biggest guilty pleasure. His go-tos include Breaking Bad, Mad Men, and Homeland. In December, Homeland star Claire Danes expressed astonishment at the news.
NORAH O'DONNELL: What's it like to be part of a show that President Obama says is one of his favorite shows?
CLAIRE DANES: It's wild – it's really – it's wild. I'm continuously amazed.
PLANTE: A presidential stamp of approval that has Hollywood giddy.
SPACEY [HOUSE OF CARDS]: Welcome back.
PLANTE: Well, you know, it's not just television, the President loves movies, too. And in fact, this afternoon, the First Family will be in the White House theater watching a screening of the new movie Monuments Men, about some U.S. Troops who recovered stolen Nazi art – or art stolen by the Nazis – after World War II. Norah, Gayle, Charlie.
O'DONNELL: Alright, Bill, thank you. Yeah, I heard from some White House aides there's a lot of people in the White House that are bingeing on House of Cards this weekend. But the President has the added advantage of asking the head of HBO, "Hey, can you send me the DVDs of Game of Thrones early?" And gets them sent through an aide so he especially gets them right away.
KING: But Netflix makes it very easy for you. Because the minute one episode is done, it says next one starting in 15 seconds. And you think you're going to get up and go but you go, "Well, let me see what happened." Very genius, very genius. I'm hooked.