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During the sit-down at the White House, Obama shared his thoughts on presidential and personal issues ranging from the sports safety summit held there on Thursday to what he thinks are the qualities of a great president to his daughter’s prom date and whether he’ll dye his graying hair.
On the issue of sports safety, Ripa told Obama that both she and former New York Giants defensive end Strahan are concerned because they have young children involved in various sports. Obama agreed that it’s an issue that goes beyond football, and he urged parents to make sure they get the information they need to make sure their kids stay safe, including the symptoms of a concussion, whether their kids’ coaches know how to properly diagnose and deal with that and how to play to minimize such injuries.
“We all want to make sure our children are safe,” Obama said. “Our goal here is let’s get the best information possible.”
Strahan also asked Obama what he thought are the qualities of a great president, with the commander-in-chief saying it’s a combination of vision, judgment and persistence.
“You’ve got to know where it is you want to take the country and what core convictions and values you want to fight for,” Obama said. “You’ve got to have good judgment because most of the problems that land on my desk don’t have an easy answer, because if there was an easy answer, someone would’ve solved ’em before it even got to me.… The third thing is persistence. I think you’ve just got to understand that the way the country moves forward and the way the world moves forward requires a lot of elbow grease and stick-to-itiveness. And you can’t get discouraged.”
Ripa and Strahan also brought up some lighter topics, befitting Obama’s appearance on a daytime talk show.
For instance, Strahan wondered whether it was his job as president or raising two teenage daughters that’s causing Obama’s hair to go gray.
Obama said it was actually genes, explaining that his maternal grandfather was gray by 30, so even if he weren’t president, his hair color would still be changing.
But the president added that he won’t be dying it.
“I see Michelle in the hair salon; it’s just too much work,” he said. “It takes my barber 20 minutes to cut my hair.”
Speaking of his family, Obama spoke effusively of his wife, Michelle, and daughters Sasha and Malia, noting that Malia went to her first prom recently.
Whether she went with a boy is “classified,” the president said. “But I think it’s fair to say the first time you see your daughter in heels it’s a bit jarring.”
Strahan said that if he were the boy taking Malia to the prom, he’d be terrified to meet his date’s dad: the president.
“I’m not too intimidating, I don’t think,” Obama said, leading Ripa and Strahan to shoot back that they were terrified to be sitting there.
The president admitted, though, that he is intimidating on the basketball court, explaining that he knows the people he plays pickup games with at the White House don’t let him win because he engages in so much trash talk if he’s victorious that they’d rather not suffer that abuse.
“[People who have played in those games] will tell you that they don’t let me win because I trash-talk them so bad when I give them a whooping that it’s not worth it to them,” Obama said.
Finally, Obama revealed that if he could do anything unaccompanied by the Secret Service, he would just take a stroll outside by himself.
“I would go take a walk,” he said without hesitation. “I would just walk out this gate. I might walk out to the Lincoln Memorial, sit on there. Maybe I’d wander around and find myself at a little outdoor cafe or something and just sit and watch people go by. The thing you miss most about being president is anonymity.”
Watch Obama’s full interview below.
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