Steve Harvey interviewed President Obama for a special segment in his episode airing Friday, December 20, and the comedian-author-sometime philosopher got a personal glimpse at the man and father rather than the President.
“I think I did something that nobody else did,” he told XFINITY. “I wanted to talk to the President just as two men who happened to be married, who happened to be fathers, who happened to have daughters around the same age, and I think the result is a way I have never heard him speak before.”
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They touched on the headlines, like Obama’s recent “selfie” at the Nelson Mandela memorial service, but their conversation mostly focused on trademark Harvey subjects: dating, driving, fatherhood, relationships, and romance.
“I asked him how he was going to handle his oldest daughter going on her first date, and he said one of the main reasons he ran for a second term was so when she begins going out there will be people with guns accompanying her.”
Before the interview, Harvey and the President surprised a White House tour group. Obama’s celebrity dwarfed the talk show host. At one point, Harvey jokingly introduced himself as Cedric the Entertainer.
Harvey struck an emotional chord with the President – and himself – when he got him talking about how much he missed his grandmother. “The greatest moment in that interview for me was [when] he was talking about his grandmother, who he misses so,” Harvey told Washington D.C.’s NBC 4 outlet. “She passed in her eighties and my mom passed in her eighties.
But the interview brought out Obama’s lighter side. “I think I had him laughing out loud, really hard, twice,” Harvey said. “He has so many people out to get him it’s difficult for him to open up. But I thought he relaxed. He was charming. I’ve never seen him smile as much.”
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The two had met several times previously, and the President remarked that Harvey’s suit seemed more conservative than normal. “I told him it was my presidential interview suit,” Harvey said. “I only have one, so I told him not to get too comfortable seeing me in it.”
What did Harvey learn about the man who occupies the nation’s highest office?
“That he is like every other father. He loves his kids. He was complimentary of his kids – and he gave Michelle all the credit. But you could see there’s some concern – and that was the father in him showing. That was real.
“All of us who have daughters who’ve reached that age where they’re going to start dating, we’re wondering how it’s going to go. We don’t know how we’re going to handle it. We’re watchful, worried.”
Harvey said his show will be a chance for people to see the President smile. He also said there’s a surprise ending.
“I got him to do something I’ve never seen another president do,” he said. “I won’t tell you. You got to tune in. But he really cares about every day people, and when I asked him to do something, he did it – and it’s really cool.”
Harvey enjoyed his intimate visit to the White House. He even took his wife. “It was a special day,” he said.
Could he imagine a President Harvey?
“If they give me a pass on the background check, I can do it. Otherwise, no way.”
Steve Harvey’s interview with President Obama airs Friday, December 20. Check your listings here.