President Obama fielded questions from the serious to the profane Thursday as the White House granted interviews to three YouTube personalities, including one who told Obama she believes that the Castros “put the dick in the dictatorship.”
Obama smiled and outlined his decision to upend U.S.-Cuba policy, arguing that normalizing ties will allow the U.S. government to put pressure on the Castro government and that more visitors and internet access will open up the communist island: “Over time, what you're going to see, gradually, is a shift.”
His exchange with Glozell Green -- as unconventional as it was -- also resulted in some news: Obama told her that he hopes the Supreme Court will issue a ruling upholding same-sex marriage across the country.
“My hope is that they go ahead and recognize what I think the majority of people in America now recognize,” Obama said of the justices who agreed last week to take up the case. “Two people who love each other and are treating each other with respect and aren’t bothering anybody else. Why would the law treat them differently? There’s no good reason for it.”
The White House said the interviews were aimed at engaging a different audience: Glozell opened her interview by noting that she has more than 5 million viewers.
“It simply is an effort to try to engage as many Americans as possible in a variety of venues to discuss the president’s priorities,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said.
The interviews hit some serious spots: marijuana laws, U.S. drone policy, cyber security and online bullying.
But not always: while giving Obama three of her signature green lipsticks for his wife and daughters, Glozell accidentally referred to first lady Michelle Obama as “your first wife,” prompting Obama to ask “Do you know something I don’t?”
The event ended with a selfie of the three with Obama. Millions might have watched on YouTube, but some critics were not amused: Veteran White House reporter Keith Koffler wrote that the stunt served to “take the presidency to a brand new low, inviting in three absurdly unqualified and generally ridiculous people to interview the president of the United States.”