In a fawning softball interview with First Lady Michelle Obama on Tuesday's NBC Today, special correspondent Ryan Seacrest was eager to know how she helps the President during debates: "What did you say to him when the two of you walked backstage after the first debate?...Have you spoken to him about the prep?...does he make eye contact with you? Does he look at you for encouragement?"
The First Lady explained: "I'm perched. I'm looking at him. I'm smiling. I'm giving a thumbs up if he can see it....I assume that he can, so I make sure that I'm always giving him that positive love."
Seacrest began the exchange by helping Obama promote the early voting effort for her husband: "So you cast your ballot today....You voted via absentee ballot. Does that take any fun out of it, not going to the polls and seeing all the pomp and circumstance?" Obama replied: "You know, actually, as a busy mom, I'm still a working mom, I look for convenience, because who knows where I'll be on election day. There's no reason, with early voting and absentee ballot voting, that citizens in this country shouldn't be able to make their voices heard."
Here's a sample of some of the other puffball questions the American Idol host lobbed to the First Lady:
> You said something about him that I wanted to ask you about. You said that, "He'll go out of his way to inconvenience himself and take the heat," to make sure you and the girls, "experience as few bumps as possible." So what's an example of that?
> Both of you trying to achieve that balance with intense schedules. Your schedule is very impressive. Do you get a chance to stick to a normal healthy diet? Do you get a chance to exercise? What's life like on the road for you?
> Do you have a guilty pleasure when you're traveling? Because I know for me it's peanut M&Ms.
> Back to Malia and Sasha. What do you think has been the most eye-opening experience for the girls since they've been at the White House?
> There's no doubt that you've had to sacrifice a great deal for this life, and I'm wondering, at the end of your time at the White House, since your husband has had a chance to pursue his dream, is it his turn then to support you in what you want to do? And if so, what would that be?
In contrast to Seacrest's friendly chat with Obama, in August, Today news anchor Natalie Morales grilled Ann Romney: "She fiercely defended the Romneys' decision not to release tax returns from before 2010. A lot of people still are asking why not be transparent and release more than the 2010 and the estimates for 2011.... It's been in the press quite a bit. Now are you angry that it's been in the press? I mean, should you not be questioned about your finances?"