July 29, 2010 -- Listing some of the lows he has experienced in the past month – prosecuting two wars, cleaning up a massive oil slick, a misstep over a race flap – President Obama mentioned one more indignity he suffered in July: He wasn't invited to Chelsea Clinton's wedding.
While appearing on ABC's "The View," Obama was asked whether he'd be attending this weekend's nuptials in Rhinebeck, N.Y.
"I was not invited," the president admitted.
Obama said he supported the Clintons' decision to limit invitations to guests who had a relationship with Chelsea, leading many longtime supporters and political powerbrokers to feel left out.
"It would be tough enough to have one president at a wedding. You don't want two presidents," he said.
Imagining a wedding with two presidents in attendance, Obama joked that guests would have to walk through metal detectors and all the gifts would be opened by the Secret Service.
"I was not invited, because I think Hillary and Bill properly want to keep this as a thing for Chelsea and her soon-to-be husband," he said.
"I'm letting you guys know now, you all probably will not be invited to Malia's wedding," he quipped.
In an appearance on The View today, the first by a sitting president on a daytime talk show, Obama charmed the hostesses and mostly female audience, answering softball policy questions with stock answers.
But in a lightning round of questions, the president revealed his shortcoming on pop culture.
"I've got to admit I don't know who Snooki is," Obama said, causing the studio audience to burst into applause. Snooki is the star of the MTV reality show hit "Jersey Shore."
But to prove he wasn't completely out of the loop, he said: "I knew Lindsay was in jail," referring to the jailing of Lindsay Lohan for failing to comply with the terms of her DUI sentencing.
Asked about the recent scandal over a recording of Mel Gibson making abusive comments to a girlfriend, Obama replied: "I haven't seen a Mel Gibson movie in a while."
Obama said he did not use Twitter, but was a big fan of the iPod.
"I got Jay Z on there, I've got Frank Sinatra on there. I've got Maria Callas on there," he said of the music on his MP3 player.
"I do not have Justin Bieber on there," he said to applause.
President Obama Slips in Polls
Slipping in the polls, Obama may have decided to sit down with the women of "The View" and dish about pop stars and his two children in effort to appear like a regular guy and reconnect with his female base.
Recent polls have put his approval rating below 50 percent. According to a new Quinnipiac University poll, 48 percent of voters believe he does not deserve to be reelected in 2012.
Obama had an easy time of things on the show.
When it came to the administration's firing of Shirley Sherrod, the black USDA official forced out after conservative bloggers erroneously claimed she had made racist comments, Obama was asked what light the case shed on race relations in America.
"When you took office a lot of people thought we'd get beyond race… Do you think America is still racist," asked Sherri Shepherd.
"I think what happened in that situation was a 24/7 media cycle that's always looking for controversy… generated a phony controversy. A lot of people overreacted, including people in my administration," Obama said.
"When it comes to race let's acknowledge that of course there is still tension out there, there is still discrimination, there is still inequality. But we've made progress and if each of us takes it upon ourselves to treat people with fairness and stand in someone else's shoes…then we can make more progress," he said.
Any anticipated fireworks from conservative host Elisabeth Hasselbeck failed to materialize.
She pressed the president on one question about the White House measuring its employment record by using the metric of "jobs saved" rather than "jobs created."
"We are in a state of chronic joblessness, yet… you claim there are saved jobs, a standard not used before by any administration," said Hasselbeck. "It's frustrating to hear that 'saved-jobs' boasting because it doesn't feel that way to Americans when they don't have jobs… How can you continue to say you've saved jobs when in reality people are losing jobs?"
The president explained the stimulus gave money to states that would have otherwise fired teachers, police officers and other public employees. Saving those jobs, he said, was crucial to keeping the economy from cratering.
"It makes a difference if your job was one of the ones saved. States got hammered as a result of the financial crisis. If we had not provided immediate assistance to the states, they would have had to fire teachers, police, firefighters. This was not just a matter of jobs for those people but the services lost...We're bouncing back, but not bouncing back as quickly as we need to," said the president.
When asked by Barbara Walters, making her return to the show after a hiatus following heart surgery, about an increasingly deadly war in Afghanistan, the president reiterated his talking point that U.S. soldiers would be leaving Iraq this month and would begin drawing down from Afghanistan in the summer of 2011.
Obama's Appearance on "The View" an Effort to Appeal to Women Voters
Asked to pick a "rose and thorn" – a highlight and a low -- for the month of July, the president picked as his highlight a family vacation to Maine with daughters Malia, 12, and Sasha, 9.
"The girls are getting old enough now where they're not quite teenagers yet, so they still like you. They are full of opinions and ideas and observations and it's just a great age," he said.
When it came to picking a thorny low point, "Where do I begin," he quipped.
"Obviously the country has gone through a tough stretch. Since I took office when I was sworn in ... the last 20 months have been a nonstop effort to restart the economy, to stabilize the financial system, to make sure we are creating jobs and not losing them," Obama said.
"As much as you've been saying it's tough for me, the truth is, it's not tough for me. You know I've got pundits on the news who might say things, but what the American people have gone through—losing jobs, seeing their home values go down, their 401ks declining -- those are the people that I draw inspiration from because I get letters every night from them and I read them," he said.
Obama was in New York and New Jersey Wednesday meeting with small business owners and doing political fund raising.
The president joked that he decided to appear on "The View" because it was the only show his wife Michelle watches.
"I was trying to find a show that Michelle actually watched, and so I thought this is it, right here," he said.
"All those new shows, she's like, eh, let me get the clicker."
Pundits, however, said Obama's decision to appear on the show likely had to do with appealing to its mostly female audience.
"The president is itching to get out of DC. This is an opportunity for the president to get his message out and get to people," said Democratic strategist Donna Brazille on "Good Morning America."
But for Obama's detractor's, the president managed to muddle his message even among the softball questions pitched by the show's five hosts.
"I think Obama is at the brink of complaining too much about the difficulties of being president… ticking off all your problem, ticking off the thorns," said Nicole Wallace, a former George W. Bush staffer.