15 Candid Quotes Obama Gave Marc Maron That Give Us A New Look At What The President Really Thinks
POTUS on a podcast that was taped in a garage — yes, that's what went down Friday, and thankfully the long-awaited President Obama-Marc Maron interview is finally online.Comedian Marc Maron interviewed Obama for his podcast WTF with Marc Maron, a twice-weekly show that typically covers comedy and entertainment but was happy to make space for the most powerful man in the country. And thank goodness the unlikely match-up went down because where else would we be without these candid Obama quotes from the Maron interview?
From the get-go, Maron set the scene of the special interview. His driveway was tented, there was a sniper on the roof, and Secret Service camped out everywhere. Besides the homey set-up, what made Maron's podcast a unique experience is how the format necessitated honesty. No hiding behind an editor's red pen or splicing soundbites. It's a full hour of rolling tape as two guys shoot the shit and have a real conversation. And we're lucky to listen in.
It's not the first time we've heard Obama speak, but it might be the first time we hear an Obama unafraid of openly speaking — which means the man was willing to drop the N-word to make a point about racism. I wouldn't mind having more of this kind of Obama if it means we get more of these hard-hitting quotes.
On Whether The President Was Stressed About The Interview
No, I wasn't. That would be a problem if the president was feeling stressed about coming to your garage for a podcast.
On The Government Making Change
Sometimes your job is to just make stuff work. Sometimes your task as the government is to make incremental improvements or try to steer the ocean liner two degrees north and south so that 10 years from now, suddenly we're in a very different place than we were. ... Societies don't turn 50 degrees. Democracies don't turn 50 degrees. ... As long as they're turning in the right direction and we're making progress, then the government is sort of working the way it's supposed to.
On Climate Change & Congress
It would be a lot better, it would be a lot more helpful if we had some cooperation from Congress. If I didn't have the chairman of the energy and environment committee in the Senate holding up a snowball as if that was proof that climate change wasn't happening, that would be useful.
On Race Relations
Do not say that nothing's changed when it comes to race in America unless you lived through being a black man in the 1950s or 60s or 70s. It is incontrovertible that race relations have improved significantly in my lifetime and yours and that opportunities have opened up and that attitudes have changed. That is a fact.
Racism, we're not cured of it. And it's not just a matter of it not being polite to say n*gger in public. That's not a measure of whether racism exists or not. It's not just a matter of overt discrimination. Societies don't overnight completely erase everything that happened 200 to 300 years prior.
The point I made in the immediate aftermath of the killing was that I've done this way too often. During the course of my presidency, it feels as if a couple times a year, I end up having to speak to the country and speak to a particular community about a devastating loss and the grieving that the country feels is real.
On Gun Control
It's not enough to just feel bad. There are actions that could be taken to make events like this [Charleston] less likely. And one of those actions we could take would be to enhance some basic common sense in gun safety laws, which, by the way, the majority of gun owners support.
On Whether Gun Reform Will Happen
I don't foresee any legislative action being taken in this Congress, and I don't foresee any real action being taken until the American public feels a sufficient sense of urgency and they say to themselves, "This is not normal. This is something that we can change and we're going to change."
On The Moment He Was The Most "Disgusted"
Right after Sandy Hook, Newtown, when 20 6-year-olds are gunned down and Congress literally does nothing. Yeah, that's the closest I came to feeling disgusted. I was pretty disgusted.
On His Mother
She was the last of the great secular humanists. She thought all religions had something to say. She thought all cultures were fascinating.
On His Father
My dad was a tragic figure in a lot of ways. A brilliant man by all accounts who sort of took a leap from a tiny village off the backwaters of Kenya to suddenly the United States, getting a degree, attending Harvard, and he never managed that leap as well as he could have.
One of our biggest jobs as parents, because we're all a little bit crazy, is "Let's see if we can not pass along some of our craziness to our kids, and let's see if we can break the cycle."
On How He Has Fun
The biggest fun I've had is watching my kids grow up.
On What He's Learned As President
The American people are overwhelming good, decent, generous people.
On Being President Now Than When He First Began
I've been through this. I've screwed up. I've been in the barrel tumbling down Niagara Falls and I emerged and I lived. That's such a liberating feeling.
Images: marcmaron/Instagram; Getty Images (6)