CBS: Barack Obama, ‘Hugger in Chief’

Harry Smith, Maggie Rodriguez, and Julie Chen, CBS Thursday’s CBS Early Show focused on an important aspect of the Obama Administration as co-host Julie Chen declared: "...in a meeting yesterday with senior White House staffers, President Obama showed a lot of love. That's right. The president is a man hugger. We counted nine man-to-man hugs." Co-host Maggie Rodriguez added: "Nothing wrong with that."

Chen then asked co-host Harry Smith: "Man of the show, Harry, how do you feel about the man hug?" Smith replied: "I think it's real." Rodriguez asked Smith: "Did he [Obama] ever man hug you?" Smith then recounted: "You know, I got one about a year ago in Wilmington, North Carolina. We were waiting for an interview, we had, you know, really great access. And he came in -- I have never told this story on the air before -- he came in, and he gives me one of these [Smith grasped Rodriguez’s hand and place his other hand on top]...and he says, ‘Harry Smith, how you doing, my brother?’" Rodriguez was touched: "Awww...He had you."

Here is the full transcript of the segment:

7:02AM TEASE:

HARRY SMITH: And Julie, I don't know if you've noticed this trend. We started seeing it on the campaign trail a year and a half ago or so, right?

JULIE CHEN: The man hug?

SMITH: Come on. He is the hugger-in-chief.

MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ: I like that.

JULIE CHEN: Well, you know what? Here in Hollywood, we always say 'hug it out.' So, you know, we have to find out where this all came from. Is it an Obama thing? Is it a Hollywood thing?

SMITH: I don't know.

CHEN: I'm sure we'll find the answer to that.

7:13AM TEASE:

SMITH: And the new commander in chief is also the new hugger in chief. We'll explain.

7:31AM SEGMENT:

JULIE CHEN: But first, in a meeting yesterday with senior White House staffers, President Obama showed a lot of love. That's right. The president is a man hugger. We counted nine man-to-man hugs.

MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ: Nothing wrong with that.

CHEN: Nothing wrong with that. We think the president could be setting a new trend here. Man of the show, Harry, how do you feel about the man hug?

HARRY SMITH: I think it's real.

RODRIGUEZ: Did he ever man hug you?

SMITH: You know, I got one about a year ago in Wilmington, North Carolina. We were waiting for an interview, we had, you know, really great access. And he came in -- I have never told this story on the air before -- he came in, and he gives me one of these.

[ SMITH SHAKES AND GRASPS RODRIGUEZ'S HAND, PLACES OTHER HAND ON TOP]

RODRIGUEZ: Right, which is -- he does that.

SMITH: Right, and he says, 'Harry Smith, how you doing, my brother?'

RODRIGUEZ: Awww.

SMITH: I'm, like-

RODRIGUEZ: He had you.

CHEN: Wait, and then did he pull you in for the hug to complete it?

SMITH: He kind of -- that little kind of -- it wasn't a total-

CHEN: Oh, see, you're embellishing a little here.

RODRIGUEZ: Jules, you know Harry doesn't exactly put off the 'hug me' vibe. I love you but you're a little bit like you want your-

SMITH: Space.

[CLIP OF HARRY SMITH HUGGING DAVE PRICE]

RODRIGUEZ: Is that me? Who's that?

CHEN: That's you and Dave Price, I think, when you guys went on 'The Amazing Race' season four thing.

RODRIGUEZ: Oh, is that what that was?

SMITH: Yeah, there you go.

CHEN: Yeah.

RODRIGUEZ: So see, I was wrong. You are a man hugger.

SMITH: Mm-hmm.

CHEN: It's out of the closet now, you're a man hugger. What can I say?

RODRIGUEZ: Maybe not the best choice of words, Julie.

CHEN: Give me a hug over the air. Give me a hug over the air. Come, come, come.

SMITH: Alright, alright.

CHEN: You're not hugging. Oh, thank you. Alright. Moving on.

SMITH: I'm feeling it.

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