LIVEBLOG: The YouTube Interview of President Obama

We’re liveblogging the YouTube Interview of President Obama right now! We’ve got the stream below, and if you’re behind, you can catch up with our liveblog of the interview!

Interview Begins: 2:08 PM PST


[Quotes are paraphrased.]

(2:11) President Obama makes good joke about “leasing the White House” and getting his security deposit back.

(2:11) Hank: A lot of people feel government doesn’t have their best interests at heart.

Obama: The government does a lot (you don’t realize). [Lists a bunch of stuff that has occurred while he was in office, including student loan aid, etc.]

Change happens, not always immediately, but it does happen.

(2:14) Hank: Have we over/misused technology? (drone strikes)

Obama: Our goal has always been, how do we target specific terrorists with as little damage as possible? It’s tough. War is damaging. Take the Bin Laden operation: successful and effective, but some people were killed. It’s legitimate to say, as new tech is developed, do we have a control on it?

Hank: Generations-long genocide in North Korea is perhaps biggest issue. How is there anything left to sanction? How does this oppression exist?

Obama: North Korea is the most cut off nation on Earth. It’s brutal and oppressive. North Korea will collapse in time… but it is tricky because all they spend money on is their “war machine.” The answer is not a military solution. They will not last as information seeps in.

(2:19) Hank: Marijuana legalization?

Obama: At the federal level, I am looking into how drug prisoners are being treated. Good news is: reforming the criminal justice system is now coming from some Republicans as well.  (Sort of dodges the question.)

(2:22) Hank: Obamacare works, thanks.

Obama: A lot of young people don’t think they need health care until something happens. Hopefully awareness is increasing. The website works really well.

Obama: Hank, I’m proud of what you’re doing.

Hank: Thanks.

(2:24)-Their interview concludes-


Glozell comes in, has painting her husband did beside her. Good work, Glo, Glo’s husband.

(2:25) Glozell: Why didn’t Sony feel protected enough to release The Interview?

Obama: We have to work with private companies to better help them protect themselves … wants pooling of information. The hacking against Sony wasn’t even sophisticated, so shows how vulnerable we all are. People will still be able to watch your show though, Glo.

(2:27) Glo cut the hoods off all her husband’s hoodies. How can we bridge gap between black males and white cops?

Obama: Cops are doing a tough job and mostly doing it well. African American males seen as more threatening in studies. Best bet: Improve training for cops. More trust from communities. I’ve put together a task force to come up with best tools/training (body cameras) and put federal muscle behind them. You get better communities when the police are protecting/serving all citizens.

(2:31) Glozell: Castro puts “dick” in dictatorship. How are we improving our Cuban sitch?

Obama: It’s time to do something new. We’ve increased travel to Cuba, more contact. By normalizing relations, we can increase pressure on government, but lessening of sanctions will influence Cuba and allow freedom to thrive there.

(2:32) Glozell: Will same sex marriage be legal during your time in office?

Obama: We’re trying. We’ve increased a lot over my tenure. My hope is (the Supreme Court) recognizes two people who love each other should be left alone in eyes of law. I hope the Supreme Court comes to right decision. People against gay marriage: They’re not bothering you.

(2:34) Glozell: What do you want your legacy to be?

Obama: 11 million new jobs, reduced pollution, health insurance, and more young people to college. Ended two wars in a responsible way. But we still have challenges. How can young familes get health/childcare, increasing college by making community college free. When I’m done, I’ll look back and see what my legacy is.

(2:37) Glozell screws up and tells Obama she has gift of green lipsticks for his first wife…

Obama: Do you know something I don’t?

(2:37)—–2nd Interview over——————–


(2:37) Bethany Mota: How do we make college more affordable?

Obama: College is the best investment you can make. It’s the key to the future. More young people now have access to lower interest rate student loans/PELL grants. Community college, first two years free. If you have debt, we want to cap how much you pay back to 10 percent of your income. As a student though: you’ve got to be a smart shopper. Don’t go to expensive out of state schools if you can’t afford it. High schools and colleges need to work together better.

(2:40) Bethany: Cyberbullying. How do we prevent it in schools and online?

Obama: Peers will have more influence than the President. Kids need to speak out and stop it. We had a big anti-bullying conference at the White House, workshopping. Everybody should use positive peer pressure.

(2:43) Bethany: How do we stop foreign governments from allowing mass kidnappings?

Obama: We’re trying but a lot of countries (Nigeria) are not cooperating. The more attention these issues receive, the more that can be done. During your lifetime, more people have come out of poverty and felt more secure than any time in history. We’re not going to solve every issue overnight.

(2:45) Bethany: How can we make China a part of the global community?

Obama: China, Russia, etc. realize that if people have open internet, they could gain a voice. They’re trying to quell uprising by quelling free speech. America sees free speech as who we are. We can’t force China to change, but we can shine a spotlight. Over the long term, any government that doesn’t trust its people will not thrive.

(2:46) Bethany: Why should younger generations be into politics?

Obama: Politics is just how we run a society. Politics exist out of a necessity for making things work. If young people aren’t interested, you’ll suffer. So you’d better have a voice. If climate changes, it will be you and your children who deal with it. So we have to start now to protect the future. We’re lucky we live in a democracy where our voices matter.

Say you and your friends want to go see a movie. Not everyone will agree. You’ll debate and compromise or you won’t hang out together too much longer. It’s the same for a country. You want to have a voice — that’s what politics is: negotiations, compromise at a national level. Sometimes people just get turned off

(2:47) Bethany asks “the lightning round”:

Fave TV show:

Obama: Sports. Mostly SportsCenter.

What did you want to be growing up:

Obama: Architect or playing in the NBA. Didn’t have the skills for NBA, but seems to have worked out okay.


Obama: Flying seems cool. As long as you could stay warm. Invisibility seems sneaky. Flying.

Or… I would love to be able to speak any language. I don’t think it’s that exciting — would make a boring movie.

(5:53) Bethany, Glozell, Hank take selfie!

(5:54)——- Interview ends————-

——————————————————Transmission Ends——————————————————

Watch it again on White House’s YouTube channel.