Just yesterday, Bill Maher made available an 18-minute version of his recent interview with President Obama, which touched on everything from marijuana legalization and media, to socialism and Donald Trump. Since then, however, the Real Time host has uploaded the full 37-minute sit-down with the 44th President of the United States.
First off, much of the conversation surrounded mainstream media, as Maher points out that news has become a for-profit industry, with various networks shaping their viewers’ stances on issues.
In speaking on the topic of media, Mr. President said, “Even a pretty capable, well-meaning president is going to only be able to take the country so far without people, ordinary folks all across the country, being engaged, being involved, being active.”
“People are busy, people are stressed. They don’t have the time to follow the intricacies of some debate around Medicare and what’s going on in Syria,” he went on to add. “When I say I want a government as good as the American people, what I mean by that is that I think people’s instincts – their gut, what they want out of life, how they want to see people treated – is pretty good. The question then becomes how do we get enough information in front of them to be able to make good decisions.”
In switching gears to the much-talked-about subject of marijuana legalization, Obama admitted to being reluctant to act on the issue, as it is tied to the public health problem that is smoking in general. Obama in turn is an “ex-smoker” who is now reliant on nicotine gum.
“There is this enormous public health effort to get kids to not start smoking. And make sure the parents felt guilty if they were passing on that habit with their kids,” Obama said. “So that’s where I think we need to go with pot, alcohol. So I don’t think legalization is a panacea but I think that we’re going to need to have a more serious conversation about how we’re treating marijuana and our drug laws generally.”
Before he left, Mr. President of course had to address the upcoming election.
“The stakes are high,” Obama insisted. “I will say this: The choice in this election should be really clear. And anybody who is watching your show and was a supporter of mine or a supporter of Bernie or is a progressive generally, this idea that ‘both of them have problems and nothing will change,’ listen… every single issue that we’ve made progress on over the last eight years is going to be on the ballot in the form of this choice.”
For the entire conversation between President Obama and Bill Maher, press play above.
An a lighter note, make sure to take a look inside the Obama’s stylish White House.