Obama Tells Oprah: I Deserve a B-Plus

President grades performance on Oprah Winfrey Christmas special

By DANIEL MACHT
|  Monday, Dec 14, 2009  |  Updated 4:13 AM PDT
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President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, left, pose with Oprah Winfrey, right, in the Blue Room of the White House in Washington during a taping of a special, "Christmas at the White House."

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President Obama graded himself a “solid B-plus” for his first year in office and also revealed Santa was coming to the White House this year.

In a sitdown with fellow Chicagoan Oprah Winfrey for her Sunday Christmas special on ABC, Obama and first lady Michelle answered a string of mostly softball questions about their holiday traditions and the president graded himself on his performance so far.

"If I get health care signed, we tip into A-minus," Obama said.

Among the other revelations during the interview: the president usually “gives nicer stuff” than he gets on holidays.

“No way!” Michelle interjected. “I gave you good stuff last year.”

“Who gave you this?” Obama retorted, pointing at the pearl necklace his wife was wearing.

In a separate interview for CBS “60 Minutes” that also aired Sunday, the president tackled hard-hitting questions about the war in Afghanistan and expressed his frustration with tightfisted “fat cat bankers.”

Winfrey had said the goals for her interview would be decidedly more warm and fuzzy.

She asked the Obamas to remember their favorite Christmas presents. Michelle said hers was a metal dollhouse with plastic furniture. The president cited a “kid 10-speed bike” and a basketball his mostly-absent father once gave him during a rare visit.

“I think there was some cause and effect there in terms of the degree to which I just ended up taking up the sport as a kid who didn't know his dad,” he said.

Winfrey also scored a tour of the White House from Michelle Obama and was greeted by the first family’s Portuguese water dog, Bo. He showed off his new training by high-fiving Winfrey.

"Does Bo need a buddy?" Winfrey asked.

"No, no, no," Obama said emphatically.

In the state dining room, Obama pointed out a 390-pound gingerbread White House replica covered in white chocolate. She also showed off the White House Christmas tree, and revealed each family member -- including Bo -- would have their own stocking.

After Winfrey noted many rooms in the White House were stocked with apples, President Obama said the first family wouldn't try to make Santa Claus follow their healthy eating lifestyle.

"Santa can eat what he wants," Obama said, meaning a plate of milk and cookies.

The conversation did turn serious when Winfrey asked whether sinking public approval numbers bothered him. Obama said he viewed the decline as inevitable with 10 percent unemployment in the country.

“People aren’t interested in what you’ve inherited…[It’s like] ‘What have you done for me lately?’” he said. “I’m not interested in spinning my way out of it.”

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