NBC Today Show cohost Matt Lauer interviewed President Barack Obama on Super Bowl Sunday, February 1, 2009. See the full interview video and recent photos here, along with the second part of the interview, broadcast on the Today Show on February 2, 2009.
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The interview took place in the Map Room of the White House and was broadcast live on NBC television during the pregame show before Super Bowl XLIII game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Arizona Cardinals in Tampa, FL.
The President shared his thoughts on a range of subjects, most of which were not sports related. He reaffirmed previous public support of the Pittsburgh Steelers, saying he believed they would “eek out” a victory.
Bringing a serious tone to the interview, he discussed the significance of the Super Bowl as the nation’s biggest sports event, and one that is of special meaning to U.S. troops stationed around the world. In response to Matt Lauer’s question, the President affirmed that, “yes,” a “substantial” U.S. troops will be home from Iraq by next year’s Super Bowl. He went on to say that his administration would “roll out in a formal fashion what our intentions are for Iraq, as well as for Afghanistan… I think we have a sense, now that the Iraqis have had a significant election without significant violence,” that the Iraqis are now in a position to take “more responsibility.”
Regarding the economy and the recent passage of the stimulus package despite Republican support in the House, he said, “I think we’re going to be in for a tough several months…As soon as Congress moves forward on the recovery plan, we are going to move forward… I am confident we will get the economy back on track….The important thing was getting the thing passed… I’ve done extraordinary outreach to the Republicans… I am confident that by the time we have the final package on the floor we are going to see substantial support.”
He also talked about what the past 12 days have been like, noting that he has been enjoying the White House as a “home office” and the opportunity to spend more time with his family. As he has said in previous interviews, he said that his two daughters Sasha and Malia are “cooler” than he is, and undaunted by circumstances.
“There have been a couple of times, some wonderful, some sobering,” Obama said of his first days in office. “Whenever you take that walk down the Colonnade and you go to the Oval Office, I do think you get that sense of history that you’re now part of…”
The “sobering moments” – signing letters to the families of killed soldiers.
“You don’t have a lot of time to focus on inconsequential stuff,” Obama said.
President Barack Obama at the White House with his new Blackberry, January 2009
That didn’t stop Lauer from pressing about that super-secure BlackBerry that Obama has been allowed.
“I didn’t bring it down here,” the president told his interviewer. “It’s like Inspector Gadget, if you touched it, it might blow up.” Asked about the security measure, Obama said: “The worls… It turns into a car, if I have to make a quick getaway.”
Source and top photo source: Obama: ‘Sober’ times, ‘Inspector Gadget’
Here is the Matt Lauer Obama interview video
Here is the Today Show interview broadcast on February 2, 2009; it contains some footage of the President and Matt Lauer walking through corridors and rooms in the White House.
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