President Obama graces the cover of Rolling Stone this week, giving the liberal-friendly magazine a wide-ranging interview that touches on everything from Jon Stewart to the impact his presidency has had on race relations in America. The genial interview, published on the heels of a buzzy appearance on Jimmy Fallon's show and a two-day tour of college campuses, is part of Obama's push to re-energize the young voters who came out in droves to support his 2008 campaign. Here, five highlights:
1. Obama knows winning a second term won't be easy
Obama concedes that it will be a "close election," citing the fact that the unemployment rate is "way too high," and that people are "still feeling the pinch from high gas prices." No kidding, says Daniel Halper at The Weekly Standard. "Perhaps if Obama weren't hanging out with actor George Clooney, and was more in touch with the American people, he'd have a clearer idea of how to enact policies more in line with what people want."
2. He's set on casting Romney as an extreme conservative
Obama insists that Mitt Romney won't be able to Etch A Sketch away the conservative positions he took during the nasty GOP primary. "I don't think that their nominee is going to be able to suddenly say, 'Everything I've said for the last six months, I didn't mean.'" Obama claims that many of those positions are "far out of the mainstream," reiterating his claim that "Ronald Reagan couldn't get through a Republican primary today." Newsflash, says Philip Klein at The Washington Examiner. The GOP is not comprised of "big bad conservatives," and voters know it. Obama's "tendentious" analysis is both insulting and misleading.
3. Obama knows he didn't usher in a "post-racial" America
"I never bought into the notion that by electing me, somehow we were entering into a post-racial period," Obama says. But while racism continues to be "one of the fault lines in American culture and politics," Obama says that his very presence "in the Oval Office is a testimony to changes that have been taking place."
4. He likes Jon Stewart and Paul Krugman
Obama says comedian Jon Stewart is "brilliant," with a talent for cutting through the "nonsense" of the daily news cycle. He reads all columnists at The New York Times, and thinks that liberal firebrand Paul Krugman is "one of the smartest economic reporters out there." He also reads some conservative columnists "to get a sense of where those arguments are going."
5. Obama is confident about his singing skills
Obama says he's been inundated with requests to croon after he famously sang a bit of Al Green's "Let's Stay Together" at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. However, Obama says he doesn't want to overdo it. "My whole point is that the fewer the performances, the higher the ticket price." He also says he wasn't nervous at all before launching into Green's classic. "I can sing. I wasn't worried about being able to hit those notes."