Robin Roberts Fawns Over 'Passionate,' Caring Michelle Obama
Good Morning America's Robin Roberts has repeatedly been awarded interviews with Michelle and Barack Obama. There's a good reason for this: She doesn't ask tough questions. On Thursday, the co-host promised a "revealing, one-on-one conversation" with Mrs. Obama. Roberts did bring up ObamaCare, but offered no tough questions about the repeated delays.
Talking to the First Lady at a Black Entertainment Television conference, Roberts vaguely began: "[The health care law] has not been without its critics who question whether or not this will work." The journalist continued, "How do you see that and being able to close the gap for those people who have not been given that opportunity to have quality health care?" [MP3 audio here.]
That question turned out to be the "tough" one. At times, Roberts sounded like a press release. She gushed that the First Lady is "talking about an issue that she's passionate about, health care."
Roberts shifted into praising Mrs. Obama for her healthy eating program. The co-host reminisced, "I think the first interview I did with you as First Lady was for your Let's Move campaign."
On January 28, 2011, the co-anchor fawned over Mrs. Obama, wondering, "We understand that Prince William and Kate, they sent out the save the date kind of notifications. Have you received yours?...Would you like to attend the wedding?"
In comparison, when Roberts interviewed Laura Bush on October 22, 2007, she quoted Archbishop Desmond Tutu on Iraq: "Desmond Tutu went even farther, saying the generosity of Americans, that's what we should export instead of our bombs."
When Roberts returned to GMA in 2013 after an extended sick leave, Barack and Michelle Obama recorded a video welcoming her back.
GMA journalists on Thursday covered the latest ObamaCare delay in a seperate segment. But the co-host could have at least discussed the many problems of the health care law.
A transcript of the March 6 segment is below:
ROBIN ROBERTS: You know, I was down in Miami at a BET Conference and there are many women that were there and the President, not the only Obama speaking out about health care. I sat down with First Lady Michelle Obama at BETs fifth annual Leading Women summit and we talked about hair and skin down there too but we had a revealing one-on-one conversation with her about everything from the Affordable Care Act to her precious daughters, Sasha and Malia. First Lady Michelle Obama, talking about an issue that she's passionate about, health care. Namely, the Affordable Care Act. The high-profile law also known as ObamaCare, aiming to bring affordable health insurance to the roughly 44 million uninsured Americans. But it has not been without its critics who question whether or not this will work. How do you see that and being able to close the gap for those people who have not been given that opportunity to have quality health care?
MICHELLE OBAMA: As you know, life happens. And there's things that happen that you cannot foresee, and those unforeseen health circumstances unfortunately, if folks don't have insurance, it puts them in the poor house. But because of the Affordable Care Act, people now have an option. The affordability, the accessibility of it will allow the average American to get an insurance plan for less than $100 a month. That's the cost of a cell phone bill, decent pair of sneakers. And for young people 26 and older, they can get a plan for less than $50 a month. Now that we passed the legislation, fought the good fight. Now it's up to us to sign up and get the people that we love in our lives who we know are uninsured to get them to sign up by the end of this month.
ROBERTS: You talk about young people and I heard you talking about this because some people, when they're young, "I don't need health care. I'm good."
OBAMA: That's right.
ROBERTS: "I'm good." How do you express to them the need to --
OBAMA: That's the tough -- they're the tough audience because young people think they're invincible. They don't think that anything is going to happen them. But as I joke with many young people in my life, "you all are the ones who need insurance because you're out there living crazy. You know? You're at the club in heels at 3:00 in the morning walking on ice. You know?
ROBERTS: I think the first interview I did with you as First Lady was for your Let's Move campaign. And there's now some actual data that is showing that childhood obesity for the first time is on the decline.
OBAMA: Yes. [Applause ] The goal of Let's Move has always been a generational goal so that kids born today will grow up healthy. And what the CDC report showed is that for the first time in decades we saw a huge decline in obesity rates among two to five-year-olds. Now, the statistics are still pretty abysmal for everyone else. So we still have a lot of work to do, but what it showed is that we are creating a new norm for what a healthy environment looks like or should look like for our kids.
ROBERTS: And as for her own kids? How are the girls?
OBAMA: They're good.
ROBERTS: Are they?
OBAMA: They're growing up.
ROBERTS: I know. Malia is about to drive.
OBAMA: I know. She's at that age.
ROBERTS: Are you all right with that?
OBAMA: Oh, yeah. I'm good with it. As long as somebody else is riding with her. [ Laughter ] But they are good. Thank you for asking. They are growing up and they are still the light of our lives and I'm just so proud of how they have managed all of this with poise and grace and maturity. [Applause] I'm very proud of them. Very proud.
ROBERTS: But the Obamas haven't done it alone, heartened by the support of so many others.
OBAMA: They have a lot of people praying for them and, you know, right now whether you like me or the President, folks in America are praying for those two little girls and that's one of the many reasons why they're standing up straight. So I'm grateful for the prayers, absolutely.
ROBERTS: And grateful for that time with the First Lady and the whole group with BET. It was just a wonderful conversation about so many things.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: You could tell. It felt like a real good feeling in that room.
— Scott Whitlock is Senior News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Scott Whitlock on Twitter.