As Hurricane Sandy barreled toward the Mid-Atlantic this morning, and the White House scrambled to get the commander in chief back to Washington, President Obama could be heard on the radio airwaves in battleground Ohio talking about his iPod.
“I’ve got a pretty good mix. I’ve got old school. Stevie Wonder and James Brown. I’ve got Rolling Stones. Bob Dylan. And then I’ve got everything from Jay-Z to Eminem to the Fugees to you name it,” Obama told DJ E.J. Greig of Cincinnati’s 101.1 The Wiz in a pre-taped interview.
“There’s probably not a group that you play that I don’t have on my iPod. So I’ve got some jazz, John Coltrane, Miles Davis. Got some Gil Scott Heron on there. You gotta mix it up,” he said. “It just depends on the mood I’m in.”
The seven-minute interview was taped Saturday during Obama’s campaign stop in New Hampshire. It’s unclear if any listeners found the chat discordant at a time of serious impending crisis, though the timing does illustrate a potential peril of pre-taping lighter interviews in advance of an anticipated event demanding somber presidential posture.
Last month, Obama faced criticism for a pre-taped radio interview with Miami’s “Pimp with the Limp” DJ Laz from 106.7 WRMA-FM that aired on the morning of the 9/11 anniversary (and later, the Benghazi attacks).
“You’re big time. You’ve got Pitbull and Flo Rida, and all these guys just beating a path to your door,” Obama told Laz, a Cuban-american rapper/DJ who’s a well-known and popular figure in the Florida Latino community. “And so I’m hoping that I can get a little of that magic from you in this interview.”
The two talked tunes, TV, football and top topics of the 2012 campaign. But Obama did not mention the terror attacks that took place 11 years ago that day because the interview was taped early. Administration officials said they didn’t expect the piece to air on 9/11.
The president has been reaching out to numerous pop-culture outlets in efforts to gin up turnout among various key demographic groups – young people, women, African-Americans. Sometimes the interviews end up covering a breadth of serious topics – witness Jay Leno and Jon Stewart. Other times, they don’t.