Barbara Walters, the show's creator who's now back from heart-valve replacement surgery, asked: "Do you really think that being on a show with a bunch of women, five women who never shut up, is going to be calming?"
"Look, I was trying to find a show that (first lady) Michelle (Obama) actually watched, and so I thought this is it, right here. All those new shows, she's like, 'Eh, let me get the clicker,'" he responded on the show airing Thursday at 11/10c on ABC.
Subsequently, the conversation turned more serious, with Walters asking: "In the last month what has been the rose? And what has been the thorn?"
"Well in the last month the rose has to be a couple of days we took in Maine with Michelle and Sasha and Malia, and we went on bike rides and hikes, and the girls are getting old enough now where they're not quite teenagers yet, so they still like you," he said, as the audience laughed, "but they are full of opinions and ideas and observations, and it's just a great age. Malia just turned 12 and Sasha just turned nine, and it couldn't have been a better couple of days."
As for the thorn, he said: "Obviously the country has gone through a tough stretch since I took office. When I was sworn in ... we were losing at that time 750,000 jobs per month, the economy was shrinking at a pace of about 6.5 percent, which is unheard of since the Great Depression, and so the last 20 months has been a non-stop effort to restart the economy, to stabilize the financial system, to make sure that we're creating jobs again instead of losing them, and in the midst of all that we've also had the oil spill, we've also had two wars, we've also had a pandemic, H1N1, that we had to manage, and a whole host of other issues. What has been gratifying is the fact that the economy now is starting to stabilize and grow again, and what's been satisfying is seeing how resilient the American people are."