On Fox News Sunday this morning, Chris Wallace asked Robert Gibbs, "So [Obama] has time for Whoopi Goldberg, but he doesn't have time for world leaders?" The question is in reference to Obama's decision to go on The View next week, but not to meet with world leaders, including Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, when he's in New York City for the United Nations General Assembly.
Watch the exchange here:
Gibbs responds by saying "they have telephones in the White House," and then attacks Fox News.
"I'm sure if he was doing an interview with you on Fox News you'd have no problem with that," the former White House spokesman claims, suggesting the only reason Wallace is asking about this is because Obama is appearing on a competing network.
Here's the transcript of the exchange:
FOX’s Chris Wallace: “I want to go back to the UN though and New York this week. You say that he’s got schedules, that foreign leaders have schedules. But the President has blocked out time to appear on The View on Tuesday. So, he has time for Whoopie Goldberg but he doesn’t have time for world leaders?”
Obama Senior Adviser Robert Gibbs: “No, Chris. Look, the President is going to be actively involved at the UN General Assembly.”
Wallace: “He’s not meeting with any private leaders. He's giving a speech.”
Gibbs: “Chris, they have telephones in the White House. Last week, he talked to the President of Egypt. He talked to the leader in Libya. We don't need a meeting in Washington just to confer with leaders. We’ve got a strong – ”
Wallace: “But he does need the time to be on The View?”
Gibbs: “We have a strong diplomatic – I’m sure if he was doing an interview with you on Fox News, you’d have no problem with that.”
Wallace: “Well, he hasn't, but that’s not the point.”
Gibbs: “I’m sure that’s not the point. No, look Chris, he’s got a strong schedule. He’s actively involved.”
Wallace: “You don't have a problem with the fact that he’s not meeting with any world leaders, but he’s going to appear on The View?”
Gibbs: “I have no problem with that, because, Chris, you’re the President of the United States every minute of every day. That’s why you talk to the leader in Turkey, a hugely important leader and country in that region of the world. That’s why you pick up the phone and talk to the President of Egypt and tell them, they have to have a strong reaction to this violence at our embassy, they have to protect our consulate and our embassies and the people that work in them. Chris, this isn’t just about one meeting on one particular day in New York. The President is actively involved and engaged in the most dangerous place in the world every single day of the week.”
One of the more preposterous institutions in Washington—in a city with an abundance of them—is the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, awarded since 1998 by the same people who invented the Kennedy Center Honors. I have no idea who or what committee of the board at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts chooses the lucky recipient of an award named for the famous 19th-century novelist/essayist, but I have a reasonable guess what Mark Twain would think of the idea.