Apparently President Obama—the father of teen and tween daughters—is not supposed to have an opinion about pop culture, even if it’s one of the biggest African-American-related celebrity news stories of the year: the “American Idol” feud between Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj.
When Obama called in for a phone interview with a Miami radio station, host Michael Yo asked his opinion on the Carey-Minaj feud. This is standard fare for the president, who makes frequent call-ins to radio stations, whose hosts often find it amusing to ask the leader of the free world his opinions about trivial pop culture issues.
The president, who likely can’t escape pop culture even if he tried with 14- and 11-year-old girls in his house, usually obliges, in the past giving his views on the Kanye West-Taylor Swift altercation and the popularity of Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe”—which he called a “cute pop song” though he said he had never really heard it.
The fact that I—the father of 13- and 10-year-old daughters—even know how to spell Carly Rae Jepsen illustrates how thoroughly pop culture dominates the household of fathers with teenage daughters.
Sports call-in shows do the same thing with the president, leading to him sharing his NCAA basketball tournament picks with the rest of the world.
For the record, the president offered a fairly nondescript answer on the Minaj-Carey feud.
“I think they are going to be able to sort it out, I am confident. I am all about bringing people together, working for the same cause. I think both outstanding artists are going to be able to make sure that they’re moving forward and not going backwards,” he said, before adding that Carey is his favorite, “a wonderful lady” who has “done some events for us.”
But what did he say that for?
Republicans went in hard on Obama for deigning to have an opinion about black folks acting up on television—even if his opinion was one he could have mouthed even if he knew virtually nothing about the feud.
“For anyone who’s a serious-minded voter, this is ludicrous. We’d like our president focused on global crises—like Libya for example. But Obama isn’t trying to reach serious voters, he’s trying to reach a few clueless young people more focused on ‘American Idol’ than American security, ” Dan Gainor, VP of Business and Culture at the Media Research Center, told FOX411’s Pop Tarts column. “It’s not just embarrassing that Obama has lowered the office of president to ‘American Idol’ and ‘Sesame Street.’ It’s infuriating. Maybe if he focused more on the economy, some of those same college students would be able to find jobs when they graduate.”
Ronn Torossian, CEO of 5WPR and author of “For Immediate Release,” also wondered why the president would say something about “American Idol.”
“With the presidential election only a few weeks ago and key elements like the economy and Iran facing America, one wonders why Obama comments on issues like ‘American Idol’ or the Jets quarterback controversy. From a communications standpoint, even youth don’t want a President commenting on the Kanye West/Taylor Swift incident when there are more important issues,” he said. “He appeared on the Letterman show the same day he snubbed Israel’s Prime Minister, and it’s unbecoming of the President.”
The entertainment website TheWrap.com ran a story Monday with the headline “Obama Stupidly Weighs in On Mariah-Minaj Dispute,” while on Twitter there was a barrage of attacks, such as “Obama puts his Nobel Peace Prize experience to work with Mariah Carey vs. Nicki Minaj feud,” “Forget Israel-Iran conflict THIS is just HIS speed: Obama weighs in on Nicki vs. Mariah feud” and “Obama puts his Nobel Peace Prize experience to work with Mariah Carey vs. Nicki Minaj feud.”
Of course, we know what would have happened if the president had said he wasn’t aware of a feud between Minaj and Carey: The headlines would have blared “Obama Out of Touch with Everyday Americans.”
All of this probably has the president sitting somewhere, shaking his head about what a wonderful country he has to babysit.