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Interviewer Makes Fun of Obama Repeatedly by Saying His Wife's Book Sells Better

In my opinion, the interviewer overdoes making fun of Obama.
But I think it's not too bad because it's done to spice up the interview.

#1) Saying His Wife's Book Sells Better

Interviewer: Congratulations on your new book!
(lifts Michelle's book in the air)
It is just ... (hinting an adjective like amazing next to bait Obama)
I'm sorry (pretends that he lifts Michelle's book by accident)

Obama: (closes eyes then looks away, then shakes head) (communicates "are we really playing this game?")

Interviewer: I just carry it with me wherever I go.
Have you read this?
Cause this is a good book.

Obama: It's a great book. (Agreeing & complimenting his wife's book shows he's not drawn into the competitive frame; also value-adding)

Interviewer: 10 million copies.
Hard to beat.
That's going to be very hard to beat.
But you're not a competitive guy so that's fine. (I think he was scared to go overboard so his tone was softer at "that's fine")

Obama: I've already waved the white flag.

Interviewer: Okay, good

Obama: Come on man.

Interviewer: If you want to point something out.

Obama: You know what's either. (ends halfway)
Any illusion that I might catch up, it turns out now that my book is selling, they all package it with her book so she keeps selling more.
So I can't ...
(shakes head)
It's hopeless.

The last reply by Obama re-frames that

  • His book is the good-selling one.
    He has helped Michelle sell more books because the publishers package her book with his book.
  • He cannot beat Michelle's sales because Michelle launched her book first, and their books are sold together.

#2) Implying He Takes Too Long to Write the Book

Interviewer: By the way, I am enjoying A Promised Land (the title of the book)

Obama: Thank you

(Goes into making fun of him again)

Interviewer: Originally, you thought it will be done in about 2 years I think.
About 500 pages.
It's 4 years. It's 758 pages.
And it's only volume one. (Raising the volume here)

Obama: Yeah

Interviewer: Who will finish first?
You or George R. R. Martin

Obama: For those of you who don't know the reference, Game of Thrones

Interviewer: Everyone knows the reference sir.

Obama: Do they?

Interviewer: (joking, patronising tone) More people have read his book.
I'm sorry. Very popular.

Obama: The difference is that, by the time, there's a TV show, I'll have finished.

Obama tries not to get dragged into this frame and moves on.

#3) Saying Obama is Too Slow in Replying to his Question

I thought this one was out of place.
The interviewer asked a challenging question.

Interviewer: You write this in the book.
"This, I was coming to realise was the nature of the Presidency.
Sometimes your most important work involved the stuff nobody noticed."

What's something nobody still hasn't noticed that you guys did?

Obama: (looks away thinks and sighs; I think this is an important topic for him)

Interviewer: I'm sorry I had to speed it up a little there for the ...
(stumbles a bit)
We don't have an hour.

Obama: (laughs, implying that this is ridiculous)
By the way, if that was an imitation of me, that was terrible. (one-ups back)

Interviewer: I will play your book back right now and show you that's how slowly you read your book sir.

Obama: It might be that slow but it sounds so much better when I do it. (maintains the frame that he's terrible at imitating)

Interviewer: I will grant you that.

Obama: Anyways, we will move on. (moving the conversation on is a form of dominance)

Interviewer: I will grant you that.

Interesting case study, Matthew.

And great analysis.

Yeah, even when says:

Interviewer: What were you thinking

So disempowering.

As if a man has to obey to whatever his wife says.

On the last one, Obama tries to re-empower himself when he says:

Obama: If that was an imitation of me, it was terrible.

Obama is a beast.
But sometimes he comes across as thin-skinned.
And the reason he does sometimes, it's because he goes overboard in attacking his opponent.

Maybe because he's not president anymore, the interviewer holds frame though:

Interviewer: (looks at him with incredulous expression sub-communication "are you serious"?) I will play your book back right now, and I will show you how slow you read, sir
Obama: it might be slow, but it sounds so much better (he fell for trap, ended up touting his own horn). Anyway, moving on (he realizes it's getting confrontational and it wasn't a good move from him, so he moves on right away, excellent choice)

Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

I think Obama could have turned it back on him:

Interviewer: What were you thinking?

Obama: Do you discuss all work-related decisions with your wife?

For the last part, I think challenging the interviewer could be good:

Interviewer: (looks at him with incredulous expression sub-communication "are you serious"?)
I will play your book back right now, and I will show you how slow you read, sir

Obama: Show me if you can do better

Obama could call out his behaviour in a joking manner as well:

Interviewer: Congratulations on your new book!
(lifts Michelle's book in the air)
It is just ... (hinting an adjective like amazing next to bait Obama)
I'm sorry (pretends that he lifts Michelle's book by accident)

Obama: I see what you're doing. Being cheeky.

Or something like

Obama: Is this how we are going to spend time on the interview?
I thought we were going to have an interesting discussion.

Directing the interview could also work

Obama: Tell me what's your favourite part of the book.

I do think the interviewer would not dare to be so dominant if Obama was the president.
For some reason, the interviewer felt very at home.

I find that Jordon Peterson is one of the best at handling frames and questions during interviews.
I think it's because he goes back to his strength, his intellectual frame and careful reasoning.

Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on August 27, 2021, 9:27 pm

Maybe because he's not president anymore, the interviewer holds frame though:

Interviewer: (looks at him with incredulous expression sub-communication "are you serious"?) I will play your book back right now, and I will show you how slow you read, sir
Obama: it might be slow, but it sounds so much better (he fell for trap, ended up touting his own horn). Anyway, moving on (he realizes it's getting confrontational and it wasn't a good move from him, so he moves on right away, excellent choice)

If Obama was still the president, I suppose the situation would be like Putin meeting Khabib.
The interviewer would not dare to be so dominant and cheeky.

Though I do feel that, in the American culture, the free speech culture may allow greater leeway.

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