Jodi Kantor

  • Aired:  01/16/12
  •  | Views: 26,029

Author Jodi Kantor discusses the controversy surrounding her portrayal of Michelle Obama in her book "The Obamas." (6:38)

( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE )

>> Jon: WELCOME BACK.

MY GUEST TONIGHT IS A REPORTER

FOR THE "NEW YORK TIMES".

HER NEW BOOK IS CALLED "THE

OBAMAS."

PLEASE WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM

JODI KANTOR.

( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE )

HOW ARE YOU?

>> I'M GOOD.

>> Jon: ALL RIGHT.

THE BOOK IS CALLED "THE

OBAMAS."

I'M NOT GOING TO LIE TO YOU.

I HEARD A TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF

CONTROVERSY ABOUT THIS BOOK.

THE PORTRAYING THE FIRST LADY

VERY POORLY, AS AN ANGRY

WOMAN.

SHE WAS OUT ON GAYLE KING SHOW

TALKING ABOUT IT.

I SAW YOU ON CNN WHERE THE

WOMAN WAS YELLING AT YOU.

SO I MADE THE MISTAKE OF

LISTENING TO THAT BEFORE

READING.

SO I WAS VERY ANGRY AT YOU.

>> AND THEN WHAT HAPPENED?

>> Jon: I READ IT.

>> AND?

>> Jon: SHE SEEMS NICE.

>> (LAUGHING).

>> Jon: REALLY.

I'M SURPRISED AT THE

CONTROVERSY BECAUSE THE BOOK

SEEMS TO PORTRAY MICHELLE

OBAMA AS A COMPLEX YET HUMAN

INDIVIDUAL STRUGGLING WITH

THIS UNBELIEVABLE SITUATION

YET REMAINING THE MORAL

COMPASS AND CENTER OF AN

ADMINISTRATION TRYING TO FIND

ITS FOOTING.

THE ONLY THING I WOULD SAY TO

YOU IS, HOW DARE YOU?

>> IT IS REALLY WEIRD TO ME.

I'VE BEEN COVERING THE OBAMAS

FOR FIVE YEARS.

BASICALLY I ASKED TWO

QUESTIONS: WHAT HAPPENS WHEN

YOU TAKE THESE TWO PRETTY

REGULAR PEOPLE AND PUT THEM IN

THE EXTREMELY ABNORMAL

SITUATION AT THE WHITE HOUSE.

THE REPORTING IS FILLED WITH

DETAILS OF HOW LIFE THERE IS

REALLY KIND OF WEIRD AND HARD.

AND ALSO, YOU KNOW, WHAT IS

THERE ADJUSTMENT LIKE TO BEING

PRESIDENT AND FIRST LADY.

THEIR RISE WAS SO FAST.

SO THE WHITE HOUSE REALLY

COOPERATED WITH THE BOOK.

>> Jon: WHO TALKS TO YOU ABOUT

THEIR RELATIONSHIP?

>> WELL, 33 CURRENT AND FORMER

WHITE HOUSE AIDES.

A LOT OF THEIR BEST FRIENDS.

ALSO I'VE INTERVIEWED THE

OBAMAS A BUNCH OF TIMES.

>> Jon: NAMES.

TELL ME THEIR NAMES.

>> THEY'RE IN THERE.

SUCH FIGURES AT VALERIE

GARRETT AND ROBERT GIBBS AND

DAVID AXELROD.

ALSO I FACT-CHECKED THE BOOK.

>> Jon: WHAT?

WHAT KIND OF WRITER ARE YOU?

>> WELL, AND SO THE WHITE

HOUSE PRETTY MUCH KNEW WHAT

WAS IN IT BEFORE IT CAME OUT.

SO ANYWAY, I HAVE BEEN REALLY

SURPRISED BECAUSE....

>> Jon: WHO IS MAD AT YOU?

BECAUSE THE LADY ON CNN WAS

ANGRY THAT YOU HAD NOT SPOKEN

TO THE COUPLE SINCE 2009.

>> WELL BY HER LOGIC, WE

WOULDN'T WRITE OBITUARIES

BECAUSE WE CAN'T TALK TO THE

DEAD PEOPLE.

SO I DON'T KNOW.

BUT THE THING....

>> Jon: WHAT?

SORRY.

THAT WAS AN ODD PLACE TO TAKE

IT.

GO AHEAD.

WHO IS PUSHING BACK?

IS THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION

UPSET WITH YOU?

>> YOU KNOW, I THINK ONE THING

THAT IS A LITTLE BIT DELICATE

IS THAT THERE IS SOME BEHIND-THE

-SCENES IN THE BOOK.

THAT SHOWS US A LITTLE BIT HOW

THE SAUSAGE IS MADE.

FOR EXAMPLE, THE OBAMA... YOU

KNOW,.

>> Jon: THEY ACTUALLY HAVE A

SAUSAGE FACTORY.

SHE'S NOT BEING METAPHORICAL.

FROM WHAT I UNDERSTAND TO

RAISE A LITTLE EXTRA MONEY

THEY HAVE A SAUSAGE FACTORY,

THEY HAVE AN ORGANIC FARM TOO.

>> WE SEE A LOT OF BEAUTIFUL

IMAGES OF THE PRESIDENT AND

THE FIRST LADY TOGETHER, VERY

POLISHED AND PERFECT.

THERE'S AN OVAL OFFICE MEETING

IN THE FALL OF 2010 WHERE THE

OBAMAS ARE SPECIFICALLY TOLD

DEMOCRATS LOVE SEEING YOU

TOGETHER.

AND ESPECIALLY BECAUSE THE

PRESIDENT IS GETTING LESS

POPULAR AT THIS POINT.

THE FIRST LADY IS TOLD

SPECIFICALLY HOW BADLY SHE'S

NEEDED.

YOU'RE GOING TO SEE THAT IN

2012.

I DON'T KNOW IF YOU HAVE OBAMA

SUPPORTERS WATCHING.

>> Jon: (LAUGHING)

( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE )

>> SO YOU KNOW THAT LIKE YOU

KNOW THE 9,000 EMAILS YOU GET

FROM THEM SAYING COME TO

DINNER WITH ME AND BARACK.

THE BOOK IN PART IS SHOWING

YOU HOW SHE BECOMES THIS

POLITICALLY VERY POWERFUL

FIGURE.

SHE DOES HAVE AN INITIAL HARD

TIME IN THE WHITE HOUSE.

WHY?

BECAUSE THE WHITE HOUSE IS A

REALLY WEIRD, HARD PLACE TO

LIVE.

>> Jon: BUT IN TERMS OF

CONTROVERSY IT'S NOT, YOU KNOW,

APPARENTLY THERE'S A LITTLE

FRICTION BETWEEN HER AND SOME

OF THE PEOPLE WHO WORK FOR THE

PRESIDENT.

I MEAN, I WORK IN COMEDY.

MY WIFE HATES EVERYONE I WORK

WITH.

AS WELL SHE SHOULD.

BUT LIKE THE CONTROVERSY IS

SO... IT FEELS LIKE WHAT'S

CONTROVERSIAL ABOUT THIS BOOK

IS WHERE WE'VE COME IN THIS

COUNTRY POLITICALLY FOR A

POLITICIAN HOW UNTENABLE IT IS

TO BE A POLITICIAN ANYMORE.

I MEAN THERE WERE SLAVES.

MRS. ROOSEVELT WAS SLEEPING

WITH SOME OTHER LADY WHILE

FRANKLIN COULD WALK.

THERE WAS ALL KINDS OF STUFF

GOING ON.

>> NOT ONLY THAT BUT, YOU KNOW,

THERE ARE SOME STORIES ABOUT

HOW CHALLENGING IT IS TO HAVE

A FAMILY AND TWO YOUNG KIDS.

>> Jon: IT MUST BE.

>> THE FIRST TIME THAT MALIA

AND SASHA TRIED TO DO TRICK OR

TREATING ON HALLOWEEN IN

WASHINGTON THEY JUST WANTED TO

GO TO A NORMAL NEIGHBORHOOD.

THEIR PARENTS CAN'T DO THAT

STUFF WITH THEM SO FRIENDS AND

FAMILY CAME.

THEY WERE SWARMED A LITTLE

BIT.

NEIGHBORS WERE TEXTING

NEIGHBORS.

THEY KIND OF HAD TO GO BACK TO

THE WHITE HOUSE IN DEFEAT.

ACTUALLY WHETHER IT'S

REPUBLICANS OR DEMOCRATS,

AFTER REPORTING THIS BOOK, YOU

KNOW, I SORT OF FEEL LIKE

"FREE THE FIRST FAMILY."

THE WAY WE'RE ASKING THESE

PEOPLE TO LIVE IS VERY HARD.

>> Jon: WE COULD ACTUALLY DO

THAT.

WE COULD CHANGE THE ENTIRE WAY

THAT OUR CULTURE OPERATES.

>> (LAUGHING).

>> Jon: OR WE COULD JUST DRIVE

THEM UNDERGROUND.

I THINK I KNOW WHICH DIRECTION

THIS IS GOING IN.

DO YOU THINK AT THIS POINT ANY

PRESIDENT WILL EVER ALLOW

ACCESS AGAIN, GIVEN HOW ALL

THESE BOOKS ALWAYS COME OUT

WITH SOMETHING WHERE THE WHITE

HOUSE IS LIKE-- REPUBLICAN OR

DEMOCRAT.

DO YOU THINK THE FINAL VERSION

OF ALL THIS WILL BE PRESIDENTS

NO LONGER ALLOW COOPERATION

FROM REPORTERS?

>> WELL EXCEPT THAT YOU READ

THE BOOK AND YOU ENDED UP

THINKING THAT MICHELLE OBAMA

WAS A STRONG PERSON WITH A

FIRM MORAL COMPASS.

>> Jon: BUT I ONLY READ IT

BECAUSE I THOUGHT THERE WAS

CRAZY (BEEP) IN THERE.

>> (LAUGHING).

>> Jon: YOU REALLY

DISAPPOINTED ME.

MY WHOLE WEEKEND.

EXCEPT FOR THE GIANTS WHICH

WAS AWESOME.

( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE )

GET "THE OBAMAS."

ON THE BOOK SHELVES NOW.

JODI KANTOR.

>> THANK YOU SO MUCH.

Loading...