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Obama on 'The View': How did he do?

President Obama on 'The View' won mixed reviews. But it's the sort of thing presidents need to do these days to get their message out to people who don't watch CNN or Fox News.

By Staff writer / July 29, 2010

President Obama sits with the members of 'The View,' an ABC television show, in New York Wednesday.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

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Los Angeles

Reviews of President Obama on "The View," an ABC daytime chat show, have been appearing from the moment the opening clip concluded. Prior to the actual event, political strategists and media experts alike speculated that the visit to a decidedly “soft news” venue could be either genius or folly.

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But the actual post-mortems turned out to be much less extreme. Some deride the glitzy setting, and others approve his upbeat tone, while generally agreeing no major shift occurred in either pro or con.

Most, however, agree on one point: The move is yet another example of how the former US senator from Illinois is redefining the American presidency.

“To be a national political figure these days,” says Republican political strategist Jordan Sekulow, “you have to be extremely media-savvy, able and willing to go into situations that are not controlled by your political handlers.”

Adds Robert Thompson, founder of the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University: “You can’t expect presidents to stand behind podiums at press conferences anymore. They’re going to use any and all venues they can to reach people.”

The president accomplished this, continuing a theme of targeting niche demographics, one that was well-established in his election campaign – and one that makes sense for him to resurrect when times get tough.

Why 'The View'?

One of the opening questions from host Barbara Walters, who returned to the show from a medical leave to take advantage of the president’s visit, was simply, “Why?” Mr. Obama’s response was a swift appeal to the core female demographic following for the program – he wanted to be on a show that his wife, Michelle, “might actually watch.”

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