‘The View’: President Obama Talks Gay Marriage, Wall Street and ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’

by | May 15, 2012 at 1:28 PM | The View

President Obama on 'The View' (Photo: ABC)

“I like hanging out with women, what can I tell you?” said a grinning President Obama as he made his way onto the set of “The View” Tuesday morning.

The President, who recently made history by announcing he’s in support of gay marriage, was quick to address the topic with the hosts.

“Is it true that you were going to announce the gay marriage thing on this show?” asked Joy Behar.

“It was a possibility,” said Obama. “We had been discussing it for a few weeks and we thought, ‘What are formats where we can talk about it, not just as a policy issue, but as a personal issue?’”

“Will you now fight for a federal bill that gives the same rights to heterosexuals that the federal bill now does not give to gays?” asked Barbara Walters.

“Part of my believing, ultimately, that civil unions weren’t sufficient … was partly because of the issue of Social Security benefits or other laws, estate taxes, things like that … Part of it was just knowing friends and family, people that I’d gotten to know, who had these wonderful relationships, and they’d say to me, ‘The words matter. Even though you’re a strong supporter of civil unions, somehow, it still says we’re different.’ And that particular set of conversations I had is what ultimately led me to this conclusion … There are folks who are sincere in their faith, their beliefs. I think it’s very important for us to make sure that churches and other religious institutions have the freedom to make their own determinations about what their religious sacraments are, but when it comes to civil law, when it comes to the rights that are recognized by the state, then I think it’s very important to make sure that everybody’s treated fairly, that everybody’s treated equally.”

Despite his landmark announcement regarding same-sex marriage, Obama conceded, “What’s going to determine the election is the economy and … whether people feel as if America continues to be this extraordinary land of opportunity.”

“I think what you’ll see in this campaign is two very different visions about how we move the country forward. I believe we’ve got to invest in things like education, making college affordable, science and technology, rebuilding our roads, rebuilding the country … I think everybody sitting on this couch is probably going to have to pay a little more in taxes so we don’t have to raise taxes for middle-class families, and that’s a different view from what Mr. Romney believes.”

In addition to explaining his political positions, the so-called “Pop Culture President” was more than willing to show off the part of him that’s still a regular guy, voicing his support for his former hometown basketball team the Bulls and correctly answering questions about Kim Kardashian’s marriage, “The Avengers” and “Dancing With the Stars.”

“What is your guilty viewing pleasure on TV?” Sherri Shepherd asked Obama, who had already expressed his daughters’ affection for “Modern Family.”

“Well, Michelle would say that I will watch any sport. It doesn’t matter – curling, pool, luge – I will say that is probably my biggest pleasure, but now that we’ve got this DVR, so I can actually tape stuff, there are some of these shows like “Mad Men” or “Homeland” that I’ll end up actually catching up with.”

One question he wasn’t ready for was: “Name the controversial sex book that’s on millions of women’s bedside tables.” (That would be the erotic novel “Fifty Shades of Grey.”]

“I’ll ask Michelle when I get home,” joked Obama, getting lots of laughter from the audience.

As for the future of his presidential career, Obama explained, “What I want to spend the next five years doing is recreating that America where, if you work hard, you can make it, regardless of where you come from.”

“I think [the race] is going to be tight,” said the Commander-in-Chief. “But I’m gonna win.”