February 3rd, 2009
11:27 PM ET

Obama one-on-one

Editor’s Note: Here’s Anderson’s one-on-one interview with President Obama. The Q & A session in the Oval Office covered everything from his “mistake” in nominating Sen. Tom Dashcle to head the Department of Health and Human Services to his plan to fix economy and even how he’s rebranding of the “War on Terror.” Anderson also got a chance to throw in a “lightning round” of questions to find out when the Obamas will get their new dog and to see if Mr. Obama has stopped smoking.

Filed under: Barack Obama • Raw Politics
soundoff (83 Responses)
  1. Micahel Guinn Ventura,CA

    I thought the interview with President Obama went well. How refreshing (and different!) to hear the President say "I screwed up". After the last eight years, anyone who hasn't noticed there is change in DC either isn't listening or is too busy listening to Limbaugh to know the truth.
    'Thanks Mr. President!

    February 4, 2009 at 2:43 am |
  2. anil

    Hi guys,
    you do a great job, but don't you think there should be a limit on how many times you do a teaser on a story, before you sow the story?

    February 4, 2009 at 2:33 am |
  3. Marjan

    I have always been against smoking pot and yet I find myself symphatizing with Michael Phelps. My god, if I had a son with Phelp's qualities, I would get him the stuff myself. Give the guy a break.
    Of course I had to explain this to my 12 yer old daughter who could not understand what the whole deal was about. "So what? plenty people smoke" were her response. When I told her that his smoking was not an issue but that he smoked an illegal substance, she started wondering why cigarettes are legal. They could do more damage she said.
    Anyway. To any young adult who worships phelps and considers him a role model, you achieve what he has achieved, you commit yourself to your goals and dreams and once you are there go ahead and smoke a joint. Who cares?

    February 4, 2009 at 2:31 am |
  4. Barbara Artis

    This does not have to be posted. My comment is in the form of a question: Why does it appear that many CNN people along with others such as MSNBC, etc... find it hard to say "President Obama"? Many times we're hearing Obama, Barack Obama, and Mr. Obama. Even the former Presidents are still being addressed by the title. Let's give respect to our New President by calling him "President Obama". I realize this is a new day, but..... it's not that new!


    February 4, 2009 at 2:22 am |
  5. Marjan

    This tax evasion issue seems to have become an epidemic in political circles. Is it not time for IRS to do an audit on all our congress representatives? That seems to be the gold mine we have not struck yet.
    Better yet, an executive order for all public officials to be audited every other year. Keeping them honest would not be so hard.

    February 4, 2009 at 2:22 am |
  6. Sheila

    Excellent interview, touching all the vital issues that we the public want and need to hear about, including his success or attempts at cigarette smoking.

    February 4, 2009 at 2:20 am |
  7. California Jayne

    Where's that message mastermind, David Plouffe, when Obama needs him??? Better get him back to work, and fast! The Democrats added too much pork in the stimulus package, the White House didn't stop it, the Republicans picked the thing apart and now it's dragging along. Bottom line in we need a stimulus and fast and it better be lean with no contraceptives or other silliness. What in God's name were they thinking? President Obama has the right idea, it just got bogged down with a lot of junk added to it. We need to return to his original idea and get moving.

    February 4, 2009 at 2:18 am |
  8. J.V.Hodgson

    Questions on Lobbying and pork would be much more interesting than his smoking habits and the dog, and much more relevant to a whole host more Americans.
    You talk and politicians Talk the talk about improving the process vetting etc Until you kick out K street completely, and do not allow pork additions to bills as a means to passage thereof, you are chasing minor misdemenours, and letting virtually outright criminal Bribery of elected officials to continue and Taxpayers pick up the bill.
    Big suggestion.
    1) There is National health service available similar to that available all as in all other major western economically advanced nations.
    2) All have to pay a same % based on earnings. Unemployed are subsidised as part of the unemployment benefits, but, no green card or nationality certificate no benefits can reduce illegal immigration, and heavy fines on employers who break those rules at a penalty rate to pay employment taxes and Medical cover % time 5.
    3) Those who can afford private cover on top may do so and can go to Private hospitals, who must have a certain proportion of beds available to the public plan in each speciality say 10 %.
    I watched "Sicko" yesterday and could not believe a woman was paying $120 a month for a medication that she could get for $3 or $10 in other countries. Thats a disgrace that can save American healthcare Billions every year.
    The comments about how bills were passed to fat cat the pharmaceutical industry and Medical profession is an even bigger disgrace. You have to control the price paid to the Pharma companies By the national medical and private hospitals and eliminate the greed.

    February 4, 2009 at 2:16 am |
  9. kathy koplen

    Step 1 to problem solving ! Admit the mistake to begin finding a solution. Bailout in 1990 !! Bailout in 2009 ? 19 years I'm outraged neither party has admitted the mistakes.Thank you Mr. president we are on step 2.

    February 4, 2009 at 2:08 am |
  10. KatchProFILMS

    "Articulate"... I know, but... you know...(just plain) "Wow...".

    February 4, 2009 at 1:59 am |
  11. Zenobia Todd

    Unfortunately, I do not think the Republicans are going to work together with President Obama as well as some of the Democrats. I do think that there need to be a research team to look into the S&L Loans when the first President George Bush was in office. It's amaging to witness such division between parties and to see how in the past this division was not transparent doing the early S&L Loans Bush years.

    I truly believe the best teacher is highsight I believe that the paraties can learn how from greed of pass administration to move forth. All those Republicans that allowed the S&L debasement to trickel down is sad and now President Obama has their mess to clean up to make the social structure happy.

    I hope all is well with his endeavors of parties divisiveness of both political parties.

    Thank you,


    February 4, 2009 at 1:58 am |
  12. Quinton

    Anderson, I was watching your show last night and it seems to me that you didn't get it. Do you remember what Roland Martin said to you.
    His name is now President Obama, not 'The Obamas', or Mr Obama, if you are a citizen of these United States you could at least say Mr President. You being out front like you are, maybe you should set the example?

    February 4, 2009 at 1:57 am |
  13. Matt Koster

    Its really refreshing to watch and listen to a president that i can understand. Trying to make sense out of anything GW said was like trying to listen to a mumbling 2 yr old with ADD. I like that Obama is in public and has enabled public feedback into his administration. I least once a week his team sends emails and ask us,the american people, what we want to see done and takes suggestions on how to do it. Finally I feel like our leaders are actually working for us.

    February 4, 2009 at 1:50 am |
  14. scott

    How can we, as a nation, continue to consider smoking pot to be a criminal offense? The most fundamental human urge is to change the way you feel. Our government and law enforcement are undermined by unenforceable, ill-advised laws. Michael Phelps is no criminal and neither am I.

    February 4, 2009 at 1:49 am |
  15. Naz Caffoor

    It was rather dissaointing to see Anderson Cooper siting in a disrespectful manner by crossing his legs up while sitting down with President Obama during the one on one interview. This does not send a good message and Anderson Cooper should know better.

    I think the CNN should address this issue to ensure this doesn't happen again. If Americans have no respect for their own President, then they cannot expect any respect for their President from foreign nations and/or foreign nationals.

    February 4, 2009 at 1:46 am |
  16. gradyhere

    It would be nice when your guests use examples of places where President Obama needs to reach out to that among the east and southern states, they would also include the West Coast, like Washington, Oregon .... and of course, California. We would "all" like to be included. Thanks.

    February 4, 2009 at 1:34 am |
  17. Louis Barcelo

    Dear Honorable Mr. President Barack Obama:

    On several occasions I have attempted to arrange a meeting with my Senator Harry Reid and Congresswoman Shelley Berkley to no avail.
    I have indicated that I have a solution to the problem facing our nation in matters of resolving the Economic Crisis we are in. I thought that we the people would be heard when we have suggestion as to how this can be done. I am a former sub-contractor wtth the US Department of Commerce 1978 to 1983. We also arranged the one billion dollar US Government Guarantee for the Chrysler Corporation in 1969 with Douglas Frazier UAW. thereby ending the possibility of a strike and at the same time bailing out the Chrysler Corporation.
    I HAVE AN IDEA FOR AN ECONOMIC SOLUTION FOR OUR NATION AND I WOULD LIKE TO SPEAK ABOUT IT TO SOMEONE THAT WILL HEAR ME OUT. Please give me an email where I can email my bio/cv in order that you know who I am. Then give me the opportunity to explain my plan of action. Someone out there please listen to me on this urgent matter. May God Bless you who listens to my plea for the sake of my Country. Thank you.
    Respectfully yours,
    Louis Barcelo, National Chairman
    National Veteran Coalition
    Tel: 702 892-7772 Skype: louis.barcelo
    PS: You may see my web page: http://www.myspace.com/louisbarcelo

    February 4, 2009 at 1:34 am |
  18. Ferenc Pataki

    Hi Anderson,

    Part of the plan to fix the economy must be, to order all recipients
    of bonuses ($18.4 Billion) to return the money to the Treasury and not to the banks. The President called these bonuses shameful, I call these bonuses stealing, therefore the recipients must go to jail. If the President do not set an example of these people, other big bonuses will follow.

    Ferenc Pataki
    Redwood City, CA

    February 4, 2009 at 1:32 am |
  19. J. McKinney

    The past two weeks of President Obama service the people has been hard but I like that he is willing to admit he made a mistake. The stimulis package needs to be imporoved on for theres not enough money going to aid the working public and unemployed.

    February 4, 2009 at 1:30 am |
  20. jamel

    the president let republicans define this bill. Obama is a great unitier but he needs remind the country that we are moving in a new direction and that the republican criticism would have been good the last eight years. give the guy some room.

    February 4, 2009 at 1:26 am |
  21. anita

    Why are we even debating this? I am losing my home and Obahma is not addressing this at all!

    February 4, 2009 at 1:22 am |
  22. anita

    I am losing my house and I have had to listen to our President say he wants reform at the same time I watch Tim Githner get away with tax fraud!!! Kudos to Tom Daselle for stepping down and shame on Obahma for being so blind. How dare you.

    February 4, 2009 at 1:21 am |
  23. Adam

    As always Obama says one thing and does another. He has been in office 14 days and has tried to appoint 3 tax cheats. And you kowtow to him by giving him credit for saying he shouldn't have appointed them, So what, he did it. He has set a record for loss of credibility in the history of the US presidency.

    February 4, 2009 at 1:16 am |
  24. Dr. Laurie Moore

    I have been waiting many years for one president or big spiritual leader to have the courage to say, " I screwed up, sorry" and get on with it. This is monumental. This man, President Obama, is here in peace. Politicians are taught to divert all wrong doings and never say "I am sorry." We have some one in office who is here about the people and about peace. This is wonderful. In a country where money an lies and self interest at all cost ("I am right, I am right,") have ruled way too long this is absolutely phenomenal. From this type of honesty, real solutions to real problems that effect many can come.

    February 4, 2009 at 1:15 am |
  25. Rick

    I think President Obama has portrayed himself as an honest man and wants to be the same with the American people. His comment "I screwed up" is just trying to communicate to us as he believes

    February 4, 2009 at 1:13 am |
  26. Michelle Fischer- Lafayette IN


    Your interviews are always great to watch! You again, and I know I have said this before, in other comments, you add such a human element to how you interview people...........You are such a wonderful example of how journalists should do their jobs. You do a great job in putting people at ease and allowing them to express how they feel, really listening! I hope to become a journalist someday, and one of my favorite journalists has been you!!! Thanks for "following your bliss" and wanting to share your passion for journalism with me as a viewer.......Your passion shines in your work! Thank You!
    360 Fan,
    Michelle (-:

    February 4, 2009 at 1:05 am |
  27. Chris Sosa - Boston, MA

    In case there was even a shred of ambiguity in the live blog, I loved this interview! Anderson, your strength as an interviewer shined through this piece. I knew it would be excellent, but this far exceeded my expectations, as I've rarely seen one interview a President in such a direct and commanding, yet respectful, way.

    Great job and keep up the good work!

    February 4, 2009 at 12:43 am |
  28. Genna

    Americans needs more access to facts about the stimulus package that will address questions and doubts swirling about amidst the media firestorm. The television news media (network and cable) provides little, if any, useful information. With exception of Cooper, Velshi, Gergen, etc., we are often presented with a myriad of 60-second sound bytes of limited information peppered with erroneous and frequently biased opinions, or vague out-of-context generalities by politicians or pundits who have neither read the full proposal nor possess any background or education in business/economics. Certain Republicans seem to be focusing on waging negative spin wars on those portions of the stimulus package that are viewed as “pork.” We need to see the same media approach that focuses on the many positive aspects of the program which were recommended by a number of economists.

    February 4, 2009 at 12:36 am |
  29. john chaisson

    why haven't i heard more about helping out homeowners directly?? it is a core issue to the economy recovering. it will help stop the domino effect of our failing economy. banks are connected to homes; jobs are connected to homes; construction is connected to homes; jobs for trades people is connected to homes; manufacturing is connected to homes; pride is connected to homes; families are connected to homes

    i think the govt should estalish a nationalized mortgage program that separates primary residences from investment property. offerring a loan to middle class america that is not too hard or too easy to qualify for with a 30 year fixed interest rate. It will stablize the housing market, keep it from rapid overheating, and provide a steady rate of return for everyone involved. This leaves investment property for speculation and higher rates of return.

    February 4, 2009 at 12:34 am |
  30. toni

    hey anderson, let me first say that i like your show, now down to biznes when u ask ? let the person answer before asking another sign of respect, two president obama is not jesus christ, god, budda he cant point his finger and solve all the problems in one swoop, so stop acting like he can and does, second no one really knows how to solve this issue, even in the great depression the couldnt solve it which is why its called the great depression and not recession duh!

    February 4, 2009 at 12:28 am |
  31. rwilliams

    It seems there should be more investigations into people who are running government and making laws, not fair top government officials get away with tax issues just becasue they are good people, when employees for ceratin government agencies can be terminated for paying their taxes late and filing tax returns late. once again the rich and elite get away with everything

    February 4, 2009 at 12:26 am |
  32. ashok c.

    Will ac360 present us an Obama360? anyway it will be good to understand and view the person and the president Obama better.

    February 4, 2009 at 12:24 am |
  33. michael

    There will be no serious turnaround in the economy until the credit is of those hurt by foreclosure and the downturn of the economy is rehabilitated. All present stimulus efforts are simply an opportunity for others to profit. And why are there no hearings on why the banks flooded the market with loans designed to strong arm Americans out of their homes? Banks paid great commissions to place these loans. Did not the public have a right to expect that their applications to refinance would be honored before such deadlines? Was not this a form of entrapment?

    February 4, 2009 at 12:19 am |
  34. Billy Kettner

    Blagoyavich is old news ..let it go ...too much airtime

    February 4, 2009 at 12:15 am |
  35. Michael de Villiers

    I was impressed that you credited your behind the scenes colleagues after your interview with the President.
    "All about me" Larry King could take a lesson in grace, humility and taste out of your book.

    February 4, 2009 at 12:12 am |
  36. donald

    Its not fair that the tax payer has to foot the bill completely for the war
    why can't they foot the bill since they have the oil and money it is their country

    February 4, 2009 at 12:12 am |
  37. Believe Again

    I liked the interview Anderson, I understand that the media should hold him accountable for his promises and such, however we must all remember that President Obama is only a man albeit the president of the United States and that the problems he is facing, no president has faced in most people's lifetime and thus cut him some slack. His heart is in the right place and people may call him a dreamer but as one of my favorite saying goes reach beyond the stars and maybe you just might hit the moon.
    In this case if the US can manage to get out of the hole it has self-inflicted on itself and start moving forward again whether slowly or fast then that is progress.

    By the way when he said he would bring change to Washington, he did not qualify what change will be. His election in itself is change already and the way he is reaching out across the aisle is also change. He has only been in office for 2 weeks, though I know the press believe he is superman but I do not.

    He has 4 years to do some good perhaps at the end of that people can judge his administration’s achievements but until then I suggest all the backseat drivers should shut it and watch but keep him honest, by fairly and constructively challenging his acts and policies. He has demanded it so he will have to live with it. If he succeeds America succeeds and guess what the US would prove to the rest of the world once more that it truly determines its own destiny.

    February 4, 2009 at 12:07 am |
  38. Diane Harris

    Hi Anderson, I thought the program was excellent. I would like to know what help retirees are going to get.

    February 4, 2009 at 12:02 am |
  39. Dr. Right

    I need to send donation to Governor Rod Bolgevich.
    Any Po.Box to mail help for his court fees.
    He is NOT Guilty.
    He is a fighter for the poor and old.

    February 4, 2009 at 12:01 am |
  40. melissa

    I think Pres. Obama should get a pat on the back for standing up to the CEO'S taking taxpayers money.You have to say that is a good thing.

    February 4, 2009 at 12:01 am |
  41. Kenna - Tampa, FL

    Great news that Tom Daschle is being treated as a regular US citizen. Even though I feel he may have been the best candidate for the position, I appreciate the old school philosophy there are consequences for not following the rules [we teach this to our kids every day]. Good lesson for those who have been able to "buy" their way out of mistakes.
    Anderson, why do you refer to the President as "Mr. Obama?" I'm baffled by the disrespect. He is our country's President now – he's your President too.

    February 3, 2009 at 11:59 pm |
  42. Billy Kettner

    Why are you referring to the Obamas as Mr. and Mrs. and not President and Mrs. Obama?

    February 3, 2009 at 11:59 pm |
  43. Diane Harris

    Hi Anderson, I have written to the President 4 times, three on the White House website and one directly to him and I haven't received a reply so maybe you can get the information for me. I retired from the Internal Revenue Service in 2005 with over 30 years service making close to 70,000. My two questions were regarding help for retirees. The President's states retirees would get rebate checks as a down payment of retirees making less than 50,000 being exempt from federal taxes. Number two in his health care reform he said those that need it would get a tax credit for preimums paid. Since I am a retiree these two items are extremely important to me especially since it's almost time to file taxes. It you can find anything out please email me. Thank you.

    February 3, 2009 at 11:56 pm |
  44. tharris

    AC, I watch your show faithfully every night. I am a big fan, but I have really become annoyed at the constant disrespect that you encourage over the airways. I wonder why it is that you constantly refer to the President as Mr. I think that he has earned the title and I think that it is only appropriated that you address him with more respect. I think Roland hit around at it slightly tonight, but understand he can only go so far. Take some lessons from Wolf. I am not the only one talking about this!

    February 3, 2009 at 11:56 pm |
  45. jd

    Anderson you were too easy on him on the smoking question. You shouldn't have given him a pass on that one. He was deliberately misleading in his answer. If he misleads about this what else does he mislead about?

    February 3, 2009 at 11:55 pm |
  46. Vivian

    Mr. Gergen likened Ronald Regan's calm demeanor to President Obama's. I always got the impression that Mr. Regan was acting. I think President Obama's steadiness is genuine and for real. I'm very comforted by that.

    February 3, 2009 at 11:48 pm |
  47. don thomas north carolina

    short ok here is short, if someone could tell the guys up there in dc, where the money comes from,it comes from us guys that put in 50 hours a week, no wonder it is easy to give it away they don't pay their taxes,and what about this, you close a business here in the states and go over seas and you get a better tax break than having a business here, Anderson something is wrong here in this country, what about us i need a bailout,or a 500,000 hundred thousand bonus, give the money to the guys and girls that have been paying taxes their whole life,i am 52 i sell harley davidsons, not many since oct 08, why could they not give us workers a break, write a check for 100,000 to all of us, i am sure you anderson could use the money like the rest of us, lok how that would help the economy, in more ways than they have already screwed us, and Anderson that what they are doing, saying one thing and doing aother, what happen to main street USA , don't hear hat term anymore, give us all of us allthe tax payers back what we paid in and lets start again, love your show, keep kicking them where it counts Anderson, thank you for your time

    February 3, 2009 at 11:48 pm |
  48. keisha Wilmore

    I feel Obama is doing the best he can and if he still is smoking thats his business hoping and praying that he will get himself from among that bad/ horrible addiction.

    February 3, 2009 at 11:46 pm |
  49. Margaret Glass

    Why was the reporter so negative about the President and the First Lady visiting a school? The report began positivetly and then a negative comment about the type of school. Also, it seems the media expects the President to change everthing in seven days. Give him a chance. Bush did not do waht he did in seven days.

    February 3, 2009 at 11:38 pm |
  50. Saad, NJ

    I love you Anderson, Erica, Wolf, Campbell and CNN itself..... Larry King as well but he needs to retire.... lol...

    Now that I am done with telling how much I love, dear Anderson, as good, great, excellent and blah blah blah your interview was with President Obama, the start was terrible. It is YOU who should have been sitting and President walking-in versus the other way around. Bad call from the producers but I am surprised that either the President or you yourself, two of the smartest people out there did not correct it......

    February 3, 2009 at 11:33 pm |
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