Barack Obama on 60 Minutes: Torture, First Dog, and Football Playoff

Barack and Michelle Obama gave their first major televised interview as president-elect last night on 60 Minutes (video above).  One segment which has attracted interest was his response on torture after there have been some stories that Obama might not be planning to end the use of torture:

Kroft: There are a number of different things that you could do early pertaining to executive orders. One of them is to shutdown Guantanamo Bay. Another is to change interrogation methods that are used by U.S. troops. Are those things that you plan to take early action on?

Obama: Yes. I have said repeatedly that I intend to close Guantanamo, and I will follow through on that. I have said repeatedly that America doesn’t torture. And I’m gonna make sure that we don’t torture. Those are part and parcel of an effort to regain America’s moral stature in the world.

When discussing the presidential “appointment” which has attracted the most interest, Michelle Obama stated that this decision might be deferred until they are settled in at their new home:

The dog, the dog front? We’re on-call mode on the dog front. Because the deal with the dog was that we would get the dog after we got settled. Because as responsible owners, I don’t think it would be good to get a dog in the midst of transition. So when we settle, get in a routine, we think about late winter, early spring, we’re gonna get the dog. Now, we cut that deal with the kids before America knew about it. So they’re good with it.

Being fall, the subject of college football also came up with Obama backing a playoff:

Kroft: We get along fine. I have one last question. As president of the United States, what can you do, or what do you plan to do, about getting a college football playoff for the national championship?

Mr. Obama: This is important. Look, excuse me for a second.

Michelle Obama: Please. Don’t mind me.

Mr. Obama: I think any sensible person would say that if you’ve got a bunch of teams who play throughout the season, and many of them have one loss or two losses, there’s no clear decisive winner that we should be creating a playoff system.

Eight teams. That would be three rounds, to determine a national champion. It would it would add three extra weeks to the season. You could trim back on the regular season. I don’t know any serious fan of college football who has disagreed with me on this. So, I’m gonna throw my weight around a little bit. I think it’s the right thing to do.

I agree with Obama about an eight team playoff and discussed the benefits of this last season. Currently none of the bowl games on New Years Day have meaning towards selecting the national champion, and only two teams have a shot following the regular season. An eight team playoff would allow us to have four bowl games on New Years Day which would be meaningful, followed by a limited number of additional games after New Years to settle the national championship on the field.

Any system would still have controversy in deciding which teams are to be included, but at present there are too many situations in which the top two teams selected might not necessarily include the best team in the country. While a selection of eight teams to play for the national championship will not necessarily contain the exact eight best teams, it is unlikely that the best team in the country would be excluded from a field of eight. This could both return to the era when the bowls on New Years Day were meaningful while also leading to a true national championship game, giving us the best both of the pre-BCS system and the current system.

The transcript of the interview is available here.

Update: The interview had the highest ratings for 60 Minutes in at least nine years.

1 Comment

  1. 1
    BaxterJ says:

    Can’t wait to hear more from the First Couple Elect.

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