In New York City on Monday afternoon to tape ABC's The View, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama presented co-host Barbara Walters with a birthday gift basket containing special White House treats, including three bottles of his famous White House homebrewed beer. (Above: The President carries the gift basket as he and Mrs. Obama step onstage)
Walters will celebrate her 83rd birthday on Tuesday when the show is scheduled to air. The gift basket also contained a box of red and blue White House M&Ms, which carry the Presidential seal and autograph; a deck of Marine One playing cards, and a White House golf ball.
Carrying the basket onstage, the President told Walters he brought the gift "rather than have her steal napkins" from the White House, according to pool; Walters later admitted that when she has visited the White House "I take things" such as napkins and other mementoes that have the Presidential seal.
Last week, White House beer made another star turn on national TV, when President Obama discussed it on the Late Show with David Letterman. The comic didn't get an onscreen gift of brew, however. A group of Virginia firefighters was luckier: The President earlier this month presented the heroes at Norfolk's Fire Station #14 with an entire case of White House beer that included all three kinds brewed to date: Honey Porter, Honey Ale, and Honey Blonde Ale. The Obamas' chefs are the first in history to homebrew at the White House.
"I told folks I'm just supposed to be eye candy here for you guys," President Obama quipped about being the only male with his wife and the five hosts, including Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Sherri Shepherd. (Above: With Walters and Goldberg)
Arriving on stage at 4:10 PM, the President wore a dark suit, a white shirt and dark striped tie; Mrs. Obama wore an emerald green sleeveless dress, below the knee in length, embellished with a long necklace.
The interview was the President and Mrs. Obama's first joint appearance on daytime TV, and was wide ranging. They opened by discussing the fact that they will mark their 20th wedding anniversary on Oct. 3, the night of the first presidential debate. Holding his wife's hand, the President said they will celebrate the following Saturday.
"I like lavishing her with all kinds of attention when she deserves it, and she always deserves it," President Obama said.
The President talked about a recent Vanity Fair profile, and how he handles the ups and downs of his job.
"You try to keep an even keel during the day," he said. "But there are times, after the day is done, when it comes out."
Mrs. Obama was asked to describe his personality:
"He's very loving, he's very giving. He's very open. He's funny; I'm funnier," she said.
Asked if the President ever raises his voice or gets angry, Mrs. Obama responded "Yeah, yeah, he does."
"I can make him mad--any number of ways," Mrs. Obama said.
"By being thoroughly unreasonable," the President added, smiling.
Hasselbeck asked if his Administration is failing the middle class, and the President said the country was in a severe recession when he took office.
"Because of the actions we took, we've got an auto industry that's back on top," the President said.
"The question now for the American people is, how are we going to move forward? Gov. Romney I think is a good man and means well, but the policies he's putting forward are precisely the policies that got us into this mess. I think the American people are weighing what's going on. We all understand that folks are going through tough times out there."
Hasselbeck asked about his comment that you can't change Washington from the inside.
"You are Washington, you're about as inside as it gets," she said.
President Obama replied, "The idea was you can't change Washington just from the inside; you've got to mobilize the American people. When ordinary people are engaged and paying attention, that's when Congress responds. We can't play just an inside game."
Walters asked, "What would be so terrible if Mitt Romney were elected? Would it be disastrous for the country?"
Mr. Obama replied, "We can survive a lot. But the American people don't want to just survive. We want to thrive. I've just got a different vision of how we grow an economy. We grow fastest when the middle class is doing well."
"I'm voting for him," Mrs. Obama interjected, which prompted cheers and laughter from the audience.
"What a surprise," Walters said.
Asked if the Libya attack that killed the US Ambassador and three other State Department employees was terrorism, the President was careful.
"There's no doubt that the kind of weapons that were used, the ongoing assault, that it wasn't just a mob action. What's clear is that, around the world, there are still a lot of threats out there," the President said.
"The overwhelming majority of Muslims, they want the same things that families here want. They want opportunity, kids want an education, they want jobs, they want peace. But there are extremist strains that are there."
"There's never an excuse for violence," he said. "The best way to marginalize that kind of speech [in the anti-Islam movie] is to ignore it. You don't make yourself bigger by putting other people down."
On being First Lady, Mrs. Obama said, "I have the best job."
"I don't have to make the hard decisions," she added.
The President said daughter Malia, 14, "is turning into a night owl like me."
She doesn't need to be tucked into bed anymore, both Obamas said.
Malia is playing tennis now and enjoys it, President Obama added; her mother has said it is her favorite sport.
"They're now at the point where, they still love their daddy, but they come in [to visit him] strategically. They're not being surly or anything, but they'll give him five minutes and then go," the President said.
Turning to other topics, the President said his hardest day in office was a helicopter crash last August which killed 30-some military service members in Afghanistan. He went to Dover to watch the bodies returned and extend condolences to families.
"It's very raw in those moments. It reminds you that freedom's not free," President Obama said.
What would he like to do in five years?
"Go on a long vacation," Mrs. Obama said.
"First things first here. We do have an election ahead," President Obama said.
Post-presidency, he said, "The thing I think I would enjoy the most is spending time, working with kids. Just giving young people the sense of possibility, of opportunity."
The show will air on Tuesday at 11:00 AM ET. It was President Obama's fifth appearance on The View, and Mrs. Obama's fourth appearance.
This evening in Manhattan, President Obama will host a reception at the Waldorf Astoria for the visiting Heads of State and Government attending the 67th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. He will remain overnight in New York, and attend UN meetings and speak at the Clinton Global Initiative on Tuesday.
*Photos from ABC/The View