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Obama shares 'View' on media, family, even Snooki

By Ed Hornick, CNN
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Critics slam Obama for 'The View'
  • President Obama's interview with ABC's "The View" airs Thursday
  • Obama blasts the "24/7 media cycle" and defends his policies
  • "View" co-host Joy Behar describes president as comfortable during taping

(CNN) -- President Obama wasted no time in an interview on ABC's "The View" to pounce on the media for providing a culture that "loves conflict."

"The things that the media may focus on are not necessarily the things I focus on," Obama said during a taping of the show, which aired Thursday.

"I have to sign letters to parents of children who have been killed in Afghanistan or the husbands or wives of people who have been killed in battle, and that gives you a sense of perspective that is just different from what is going on on cable TV on any given day."

Obama, the first sitting president to visit a daytime TV show, took note of the recent Shirley Sherrod controversy, which overshadowed other major news such as the Wall Street reform bill becoming law.

Sherrod was forced to resign from the U.S. Agriculture Department after a conservative blogger posted a video clip of her making seemingly controversial remarks on race. However, it later came out that Sherrod's speech had focused on how an incident more than 20 years ago had changed her outlook and made her realize people should move beyond race.

Video: Obama: 'I don't know who Snooki is'
Video: President airs 'View'

The president, who spoke last week with Sherrod by phone, hit back at how the story coverage unfolded.

"What I do think happened in that situation is that a 24/7 media cycle that's always looking for controversy and oftentimes doesn't get to the facts first, generated a phony controversy," he said. "A lot of people overreacted, including people in my administration."

The lesson to be drawn from all of this? "Let's not assume the worst about other people; let's make sure we get the facts straight," Obama said.

Other topics discussed on "The View" included the war in Afghanistan, the economy and the first family's recent vacation to Maine.

"Malia just turned 12 and Sasha just turned 9, and it couldn't have been a better couple of days," the president said of the New England trip.

Obama said he does not focus on what pundits say about him but spends more time worrying about Americans.

"You think about what the American people have gone through, losing jobs, seeing their home values go down, their 401(k)s declining, those are the folks who I draw inspiration from ... and so I don't spend a lot of time worrying about me. I spend a lot of time worrying about them," he said.

Obama said he chose to appear on the program because first lady Michelle Obama watches it.

"Look, I was trying to find a show that Michelle actually watched, and so I thought this is it, right here," he said, according to ABC, which airs the show. "All those new shows -- she's like, 'Eh, let me get the clicker.' "

The president said he watches the show, adding that he's been on it two times.

Not so, the hosts interjected.

"Actually I think it's the third time," Whoopi Goldberg said. "You did the book first ... and when you were running [for president], and now sir, here you are, as president of the United States of America."

Joy Behar, one of the co-hosts, said that the president was "charming as usual" during a taping of the show.

"We had some laughs with him," said Behar, who also has a nightly show on HLN. She added the president was at ease and did not appear nervous during the taping.

Obama was also candid when it came to admitting to his lack of knowledge about reality television, saying he knew little about MTV "Jersey Shore" cast member Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi.

"I've got to admit, I don't know who Snooki is. I'm sorry," he said when asked if the pop-culture sensation should consider a run for mayor of Wasilla, Alaska -- a post Sarah Palin once held.

Though Obama said he isn't familiar with Snooki, that hasn't stopped him from making light of the "Jersey Shore" star in the past. At this year's White House Correspondents' Dinner, the president joked the new 10 percent tax on tanning salons had a "Jersey Shore-Up" provision.

"The following individuals shall be excluded from the indoor tanning tax within this bill -- Snooki, 'JWOWW,' 'The Situation' and House Minority Leader John Boehner," Obama joked.

But Snooki herself wasn't laughing over the tax that took effect in July, saying, "I don't go tanning anymore because Obama put a 10 percent tax on tanning," she said. "And I feel like he did that intentionally for us."

CNN's Alex Mooney and Tom Cohen contributed to this report.