Obama speaks

OBAMA SPEAKS…. Barack Obama’s first interview since the election aired last night on “60 Minutes,” with a three-segment piece from Steve Croft (who insisted, inexplicably and hilariously, on comparing Obama’s mother in law to the family dog).

There probably wasn’t a lot in the way of news, but a few things jumped out at me. For example, when asked about his principal focus lately, Obama talked about the economy, but it wasn’t the first issue he mentioned.

Kroft: What have you been concentrating on this week?

Obama: Couple of things. Number one, I think it’s important to get a national security team in place because transition periods are potentially times of vulnerability to a terrorist attack. We want to make sure that there is as seamless a transition on national security as possible. Obviously the economy. Talking to top economic advisors about how we’re gonna create jobs, how we get the economy back on track and what do we do in terms of some long-term issues like energy and healthcare. And how do we sequence those things in a way that we can actually get things through Congress?

Also, I found this very encouraging, especially in light of some of the recent rumors about how seriously the Obama administration might, or might not, take interrogation issues.

Kroft: There are a number of different things that you could do early pertaining to executive orders. One of them is to shutdown Guantanamo Bay. Another is to change interrogation methods that are used by U.S. troops. Are those things that you plan to take early action on?

Obama: Yes. I have said repeatedly that I intend to close Guantanamo, and I will follow through on that. I have said repeatedly that America doesn’t torture. And I’m gonna make sure that we don’t torture. Those are part and parcel of an effort to regain America’s moral stature in the world.

And finally, I couldn’t help but note that Kroft’s very last question was about Obama’s support for a national college football playoff system. Obama not only explained why it’s a good idea, but he suggested — I think only half-kiddingly — that he’s prepared to throw his “weight around” a bit to make this happen.

If he’s successful in this endeavor, I suspect it’d be worth at least a few points in his approval rating.