This is positively weird.
President Obama blames the press for creating the image that he's aloof and disconnected from the rest of Washington, insisting in a new interview that he's just more interested in spending time with his family than in exchanging pleasantries with strangers.
"My suspicion is that this whole critique has to do with the fact that I don't go to a lot of Washington parties and, as a consequence, the Washington press corps maybe just doesn't feel like I'm in the mix enough with them, and they figure, well, if I'm not spending time with them, I must be cold and aloof," Obama said in an interview with Time Magazine released Thursday.
"The fact is, I've got a 13-year-old and 10-year-old daughter. And so, no, Michelle and I don't do the social scene, because as busy as we are, we have a limited amount of time, and we want to be good parents at a time that's vitally important for our kids."
Jodi Kantor touches on the same theme in "The Obamas," published last week, which depicts the first couple as more interested in spending time with their family and inner circle than with in schmoozing with Washington's power players.
And, Obama said in the interview with Time, it's not like socializing with congressional Republicans has done anything to boost his legislation and attempts at bipartisanship.
What makes this so strange is that presidents, as a rule, don't go out partying every weekend. Most presidents occassionally have a close friend to dinner at the White House and save their schmoozing for state dinners and receptions. Very rarely will a president venture outside the White House for a social event - usually charity functions where they are asked to speak and traditions like the Gridiron Dinner.
Obama thinks social Washington expects him to show up at parties where the social whirl of Washington takes place. I doubt that, although some of the social grande dames would not doubt kill for a chance that a president showed up at one of their soirees.
Every insider story that I've read about the Obama's reflects the notion that they are indeed, standoffish and isolated. Hard to blame the press when all they're doing is reporting the truth.