Now that I’ve talked to him again, this time just outside Las Vegas, I believe that’s even more true. He comes off like a regular person — a regular person who just so happens to be running for president.
And that’s what makes it so, well … it’s hard to put into words.
See, when I started doing this, I didn’t know how far the MTV News job would go. I never thought I’d be considered a journalist. I didn’t go to school for that. But when you’re talking to Barack Obama, when you’re sitting with him, everything that you say could potentially be historical. If you f— up a question, you go down in the record books as that guy who f—ed up the question. Even if you don’t mess up, however he may respond to what you ask, the whole world can view your work.
So you have to bring your A-game. I lose a lot of sleep before I interview him. You could call it a comfortable nervousness. I want to rise to the occasion.
But the thing with Barack, man, it just feels like you’re having a dialogue. He’s so laid-back, in a sense, you don’t get nervous. Considering all that’s on his shoulders, all the tasks he has in front of him, he really is stable and calm.
That’s what I mean when I say it’s like talking to a regular person. He’s the type of person you feel like you’ve already met. It feels like you’re talking to someone you’ve known already, if that makes sense.
Like, get this, I was wearing Wallaby shoes. If you grew up in the ’80s or ’90s, you know these are classic, kinda casual, sporty shoes. Barack took note! “Man, those are Wallabies, those are nice,” he said. “You’re looking real sharp!” For him to know about these shoes says a lot to me. You gotta be hip but also street-smart a little.
I’ll say this: Barack is probably the most intelligent person I’ve ever interviewed. I don’t know if that sounds like I’m dissing anybody, demeaning anybody. It’s just the man knows what’s what.
At this point, after all these experiences as far as interviewing goes, I’m not sure that anything could top what I did on the campaign trail this year. I did Biggie’s last interview and Tupac’s last interview — President Bill Clinton, I’ve interviewed him. Bono, man, Bono!
All due respect, those interviews were magnificent, but this beats them all. And I think all those guys would agree and understand why nothing tops this.