Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Obama View From Barbara Walters

In the face of change, the timeless Barbara Walters scores another "get" with an exclusive interview with the Obamas, in which the new President talks about moral responsibility and the First Lady reveals that her daughters will be making their own beds in the White House.

Detroit automakers, Barack Obama tells her, are "a little tone deaf to what's happening in America right now...a problem for the captains of industry, generally. When people are pulling down hundred-million-dollar bonuses on Wall Street, and taking enormous risks with other people's money...they're not seeing what's going on out there, and one of the things I hope my presidency helps to usher in is a return to an ethic of responsibility."

In the interview, there are echoes of JFK's Inaugural Address ("Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country"):

"(T)here's got to be a point where you say, 'You know what, I have enough, and now I'm in this position of responsibility, let me make sure that I'm doing right by people, and, and acting in a way that is responsible.' And that's true, by the way, for members of Congress, that's true for the president, that's true for Cabinet members, that's true for parents. I want all of us to start thinking a little bit more, not just about what's good for me...but what's good for our children, what's good for our country. The more we do that, the better off we're going to be."

It's good to see Walters, in her eightieth year, still out-hustling the competition after more than half a century, starting with her first job doing publicity for Redbook when I was editor.

Later, when the president's daughter, Lynda Bird Johnson, went to work at McCalls, there were almost daily calls to get me to arrange an exclusive interview. Barbara didn't get that one, but there are few she has missed since then.

It's good to see that not everything changes.

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