President Barack Obama is gracing the cover of GQ magazine’s Man Of The Year Issue where he chops it up about having NO fear at this point in his presidency, whether his oldest daughter Malia Obama has been on a date, campaigning against Donald Trump, life after the Presidency and so much more. Read the highlights from his interview inside….
President Barack Obama has to be one of the nation’s most charismatic and down-to-earth presidents we’ve seen thus far. He has a magical aura that makes him appear to be easy to talk to and someone fun to hang around talking politics...or anything else.
In a new interview with GQ magazine for their 20th annual Man Of The Year Issue, POTUS credits his cool attitude to having a good temperament, even comparing himself to Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. In so many words, he doesn’t fold under pressure.
As he embarks on his eighth and final year on the job coming this January, we’ve seen the leader of the Free World start to loosen up a little, exuding this inner confidence that has caused some of us to fall in love with him all over again. Hey, it’s not like he’s up for another election, so POTUS has "let his hair down." And we’re loving it.
Below are a few highlights from his sitdown with sports columnist Bill Simmons where the Commander-In-Chief talks about having no fear (anymore) during his Presidency, Ferguson, Charleston and Donald Trump.
He even talks about Malia Obama's dating life, Sasha and Maila’s obsession with their smartphones, his wife First Lady Michelle Obama, basketball, his guiltiest TV pleasure and smoking cigarettes.
Was there a point in those first three years where you started to feel overwhelmed by the job? Where you were just like, “My God, I just had no idea this was going to be this hard!”
I had a pretty good handle. One thing I learned during the campaign was that I’ve got a good temperament. I don’t get too high and I don’t get too low. I’m able to stay focused even when there’s a lot of stuff going on around me.
So you’re like Gregg Popovich. Although he does get mad at sideline reporters.
[laughs] He does. So do I. [laughs] Yeah. Or maybe [Aaron] Rodgers in the pocket, in the sense of you can’t be distracted by what’s around you, you’ve got to be looking downfield. And I think that’s a quality that I have—not getting flustered in what’s around me. So there was never a point, even early on—even in the first six months, where we weren’t sure whether we were going to dip into another Great Depression, we weren’t sure whether the steps we were taking on rescuing the auto industry or stabilizing the financial system were going to work—there weren’t moments where I thought, “Sheesh, feels like we’re in over our head.”
Is it fair to say that in 2015, you’ve been like the second-semester high school senior who got into Yale and now is like, “I’m going out tonight—I don’t care if I have a test tomorrow”? All of us were kind of waiting for that guy to show up after he got re-elected. What took two years to get there?
There’s no doubt that the longer I’m in this job, the more confident I am about the decisions I’m making and more knowledgeable about the responses I can expect. And as a consequence, you end up being looser. There’s not much I have not seen at this point, and I know what to expect, and I can anticipate more than I did before.
You can make your case without caveats, which, I think, hampered my ability to communicate confidence and optimism to people. You didn’t want people to feel as if you were getting ahead of yourself. It’s a combination of me feeling looser because I’ve just been in this job a long time and have gone through some tough stretches. Not only do you not look like you have any fear, but you actually don’t have any fear. And I don’t at this point. The bets we made early on have paid off. Some of it does have to do with luck.
When Ferguson happened last year, I was waiting for Obama the Person to come in. But you had to be President Obama. How you handled Charleston this year and Selma—that was Obama the Person. So what happened with Ferguson? Do you wish you had handled that differently?
You know, the challenge of Ferguson and all issues related to police shootings, race, and the criminal-justice system is that in order to actually get something done, you have to build consensus. Expressing simple outrage without follow-up is often counterproductive. In the case of Ferguson, I’m the attorney general’s boss. If I chime in with a strong opinion about what’s happened, not only do I stand to potentially damage subsequent law-enforcement cases, but immediately you get blowback and backlash that may make people less open to listening. What was different in Charleston was the clarity of what happened—that allowed, I think, everybody to be open to it.
If you were campaigning against Donald Trump, would you even bother? Would it be like LaBradford Smith talking trash to Jordan or something?
I would’ve enjoyed campaigning against Trump. That would’ve been fun.
You win the election in 2008, and Twitter is just becoming a thing. Over the course of your presidency, that’s the biggest thing that’s changed. What’s the biggest challenge with all that stuff?
Speed. You are on 24/7—you have to respond immediately. The job of our office, to keep up and to respond quickly to anything that’s happening but not be consumed by it, is completely different. We’ve been building a digital team inside the White House.
When did that start?
Too late. That’s an example of something that I would’ve started earlier. That was a lesson that coming out of the first term, I should’ve understood. That’s why we built this team. It’s so interesting watching my daughters. Both are complete ninjas on the phone, right? And they can do things that I don’t even understand—they’re doing it in two seconds. But I even see a difference between Malia, who’s 17, and Sasha, who’s 14. There’s almost a mini-generational gap in terms of Sasha being so connected seamlessly to this smartphone in a way that Malia, who was already a little bit older when it really started to take, is not.
Has anyone come to the White House and picked up your older daughter for a date?
No, but I’ve seen some folks glancing at her in ways that made me not happy.
What’s the most entertaining conspiracy theory you ever read about yourself?
That military exercises we were doing in Texas were designed to begin martial law so that I could usurp the Constitution and stay in power longer. Anybody who thinks I could get away with telling Michelle I’m going to be President any longer than eight years does not know my wife.
Does it scare you that your wife could have a billion-dollar daytime talk show and you could be Stedman 2.0?
Because that’s in play. She could do that if she wanted.
And if that’s what she wants to do, I’m okay with her making a whole lot of money. There’s nothing wrong with that.
Would you ever want to be part of the ownership for an NBA team?
What’s your guiltiest-pleasure TV show? Don’t say Game of Thrones, because that’s a good show.
Probably the guiltiest pleasure—and this is kind of lame—is Big Break. You know, on the Golf Channel? Which is kind of a silly show. [laughs] But I find it really relaxing.
Number of cigarettes you’ve smoked in the White House since you got here?
Zero in the last five years. I made a promise that once health care passed, I would never have a cigarette again. And I have not.
Awesome! Good Job Mr. President for kicking that habit.
You can read his full interview here.
Oh..and since the Internet has ZERO chill...someone took a comment President Obama made about people "popping off" during a recent press conference after the Paris attacks and made it into a song. Take a listen and laugh a litte below:
Reportedly, he may have said pop UP and not pop off, but still. It's funny.
Gotta love it!
Photo: Inez + Vinoodh via GQ