With just a couple of months left as president, Barack Obama finally decided he was ready for some real talk. In an interview that Bill Maher and 300,000 of his HBO viewers have been steadily campaigning for, POTUS used his sharp wit and calm baritone to dissect every topic Maher put on the table. We still want to hear more about prison reform, education reform, clean water and gentrification, but maybe Barack will nut up and go see Charlamagne and “The Breakfast Club” next.
You can watch the full 40-minute interview below, including Obama’s uncut thoughts on the upcoming election, the polarized news media, America’s place in the world, and his own shortcomings — or keep scrolling to see the five best takeaways from the sit down.
Here are @coupcoup40cal’s 5 highlights from the interview:
1. The Media Sucks
Blame the media. What else is new? By this point, every American has woken up to the fact that capitalism has infested all of the institutions that were supposed to be upholding our morals. From education to government to politics, it’s all about the money and none of us are getting enough. But the media’s flaws are pretty blatant during campaign season and they need to be addressed before they are hacked and exploited by a rich narcissistic asshole who… never mind.
“Look if I watched Fox News, I wouldn’t vote for me either… You’ve got this screen, this fun-house mirror through which people are receiving information. How to break through that is a big challenge.” – Barack Obama
Everyone in this country is changing the channel, turning the dial, or sticking their fingers in their ears if they don’t like what they hear. So all our opinions are never challenged, only reinforced. Everyone is so sure that they are right that we can’t even agree on what to watch. Barack said he wants to “see if we can build some platforms where everyone agrees (to) talk about facts and then talk about means after that.”
2. He’s Still Human
This may not quite debunk theories that Obama is a Manchurian clone, but at least he’s still up front about his very human flaws. When Barack entered office in 2008, he copped to his nicotine habit. After Maher pressed him about sneaking out to smoke the occasional loosie, the president revealed that he is popping Nicorettes like candy to stay off of cigs.
“I’m chewing the heck out of Nicorette.”
But does he still sneak out with Malia once in a while to hit the blunt?
3. The Resume Speaks For Itself
It’s hard to fairly compare presidents when you realize that a good amount of them owned slaves. But it’s fair to say Obama has one of the best modern resumes among all of the U.S. presidents. And he did it under more scrutiny than any before him.
During his interview with Maher, he referenced most of his term’s highlights, including affordable healthcare, increased minimum wage, reducing the amount of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan from 180,000 to 15,000, and handling natural disasters and disease outbreaks without making anyone feel like he didn’t care about them.
With eyes and cross hairs on him 24/7, he showed everyone how to move in a city full of vultures and appears to get realer by the day. We’ll see just have to wait and see how real he gets after he leaves office in February.
4. America Really Is Kind Of Great
I’ve been humbled and reminded of this by a few international homies. There’s nothing wrong with standing up for your rights and stating your grievances. But you can’t overlook the advantages of living here when compared to other nations, American poverty and oppression would be a luxury to the majority of the world’s citizens. We have a lot to improve on, but as Obama stressed throughout the interview, you have to build on the good, not the bad.
“The one thing I think is important for progressives to guard against is a tendency sometimes to not fully appreciate that America is not just a great nation in the sense that it’s powerful, but that our values and our ideals actually matter. And we do a lot of good around the world. And there’s some things that we do that are either ineffective or imperfect, but there’s a lot to be proud of. And there’s a lot to build on.”
Obama reminded the ever-cynical Maher that America still specializes in housing refugees, freeing journalists, and standing up to bullies like North Korea and Russia.
5. This Election Is Not A Game
Obama pulled no punches in discussing Donald Trump and the importance of preventing him from hijacking the 2016 election. He also vouched for Hillary on both professional and personal levels while addressing those who plan to protest by withholding their vote or choosing a third-party candidate.
“What we’ve got to do is make sure that we get our own house in order… The stakes are high” – Barack Obama
“I will say this, the choice in this election should be really clear. And anybody who’s watching your show and was a supporter of mine, was supporter of Bernie’s, is a progressive generally, this idea that somehow, ‘Well, both of them have problems and nothing will change either the way–‘ Listen, all the progress we’ve made on climate change…Paris Agreement, HFC agreement, Aviation Agreement… the 20 million people who have health insurance that didn’t have it before, all the progress that we’ve made on trying to check the excesses (of) Wall Street and Dodd Frank, and the consumer finance protection bureau, any chance of immigration reform, including the work that we did to make sure that these amazing dreamer kids all across the country, who are now going to college or serving in our military, are not suddenly deported.
Anyone sitting on the sidelines right now or deciding to engage in a protest vote, that’s a vote for Trump. And that would be badly damaging for this country. And it would be damaging for the world. So get out there.” – Barack Obama
What are your thoughts on Obama’s interview with Bill Maher? Did he keep it all the way real, or do you have further questions?
PHOTO/VIDEO CREDIT: Getty, Twitter