Press Goes Wild Over Obama Photo

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," December 30, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: This photo of Barack Obama vacationing in Hawaii is creating quite the stir. Just this week there have been a barrage of blogs and newspaper articles all commenting on the president-elect's fit physique.

Today he was photographed, The Washington Post had this written on page one.

Quote, "The sun glinted off chiseled pectorals" — I feel like I'm in the middle of a bad novel.


COLMES: "Sculpted during four weightlifting sessions each week, and a body toned by regular treadmill runs and basketball games."

If this is how excited the press gets over the future president's fitness, will they be able to objectively report his policies?

With us now, the author of "A Slobbering Love Affair".


COLMES: "The True (And Pathetic) Story of the Torrid Romance Between Barack Obama and the Mainstream Media," Bernie Goldberg. Bernie's new book hits stores on January 26th.

That sounds like you might have ghostwritten the "Washington Post" article given that title, Bernie.

Video: Watch the 'H&C' interview

BERNIE GOLDBERG, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I mean this is exactly what I'm talking about. The sun glinted off, the sun glinted off pectoral — this is.

COLMES: It's beautiful language, isn't it?

GOLDBERG: This is the kind of thing — this is the kind of thing you'd expect to find in a steamy romance novel with Fabio on the cover.


GOLDBERG: Not on, not on page one.

COLMES: I don't hear — I hear music every time I read that.

GOLDBERG: . of the most important newspaper in the nation's capital.

COLMES: You know, I know that when, you know, when George W. Bush is also a fitness fanatic and spends a lot of time — I know he can't run anymore because of bad knees. He does the bike and he does weights and some other things. But he never took his shirt off.

Now if he'd only taken his shirt off maybe he would have gotten this kind of press.

GOLDBERG: You know, when George Bush was into his exercising regimen, a liberal reporter who, by the way at one time also worked for The Washington Post, but wrote this particular thing for the L.A. Times, said that Bush's exercise regimen, he used the word, it was an obsession.

And it was an obsession, here's the quote, "that bordered on the creepy." So when it's George Bush who's exercising it's an obsession that borders on the creepy. But when it's Barack Obama, his — the sun glints off of his pectoral muscles?

I mean, look, this reporter, this particular reporter may be a very good reporter. I don't know. I'm willing to accept that. But that one sentence, Alan, may be the most embarrassing sentence ever published in The Washington Times.

COLMES: Right. You know, it's kind of fun to talk about it.

GOLDBERG: I'm sorry. The Washington Post.

COLMES: Washington Post. Don't get those two mixed up. But look, aren't there — you know, other things that are clearly more important than this in terms of what's going on? We got bad economy. We have war in Gaza. We have all kinds of real problems.

And isn't — I mean it's fun to talk about this for a few minutes. But is this — this is not really going to be the focus after January 20.

GOLDBERG: Very good point. You've stumbled on to a very good point.

COLMES: I did stumble.


GOLDBERG: You know what?

COLMES: It was only by stumbling, Bernie, that I did it.

GOLDBERG: Well, every now and then you stumble on a good point and you just did.

COLMES: So kind of you.

GOLDBERG: If this were about, if this were about some ordinary celebrity, I wouldn't have a problem. But when it's about the celebrity in chief, the soon to be celebrity in chief, I have a big problem, because it makes me wonder if this is the kind of — this is why I titled the book "A Slobbering Love Affair."

If this is the kind of slobbering we're going to continue to get after he's president of the United States.

COLMES: But it's not about his policies.

GOLDBERG: That's why it's important.

COLMES: It's about, you know, his physique.

Look, it sounds to me that conservatives may be a little jealous of the attention and good press that Obama's getting, especially in light of how poorly the current president is doing in the popularity polls. And certainly his policies, not very popular with the American people.

So could there be some jealousy creeping here on the part of people who are not Obama fans to begin with?

GOLDBERG: Maybe. But that's not why I'm here. I mean I'm here trying to analyze this — embarrassing journalism. I mean, maybe some people, you know, don't like it for the reason you mentioned. But I'm not one of them.

And frankly, Alan, I thought this would be one subject where you and I and Rich and everybody could agree. Because don't — I mean don't be defending the indefensible on this one. This is indefensible and you know it.

COLMES: This just sounds like a bad novel. I mean, I'm not defending — I just think it's fun.

RICH LOWRY, GUEST HOST: Hey, Bernie, it's Rich.

You know, during the break Alan was suggesting in keeping with the theme of this segment, Bernie, maybe you should have shown up shirtless for this segment.

COLMES: And then you can get a slobbering review from The Washington Post.


GOLDBERG: Maybe next time. You never know.

LOWRY: So, Bernie, in terms of your book, you have to be so happy about this commercially. You are writing about a slobbering love affair and it got even more slobbering.

GOLDBERG: Well, I mean, I — this happened on Christmas morning. You know? This piece was in The Washington Post on Christmas morning. And you sort of hope, Rich, that all the other stuff was in the past. You know, like, maybe they got over it.

LOWRY: Right.

GOLDBERG: But they didn't get over it.

LOWRY: Bernie, you — even, you had.

GOLDBERG: And as I said the reason.


LOWRY: You had mainstream journalists after the election saying gosh, that was embarrassing. We were in the tank for Obama so you thought there would be some self-criticism and reflection here but apparently not.

GOLDBERG: Well, I think some journalists are probably going to try to be fair. But when you read something like this, I think a reasonable person, and many of the people watching us right now are going to wonder, is this what we have to look forward to?

Is this kind of embarrassing fawning — I mean, you know, like, our friend Michelle Malkin had a great line.


GOLDBERG: She said, you know, drool cup to the newsroom on the double.

LOWRY: Yes, it was a great column.

GOLDBERG: I mean, you need a drool cup, you need a drool cup when you read something like that.

LOWRY: And she also pointed out, it wasn't just the — former Washington Post writer that you cited but Reuters had a report about Bush and his exercise. And it quoted Cindy Sheehan saying what a scandal it was.

GOLDBERG: Yes, that's right.

LOWRY: That Barack — that George Bush was exercising so much and he couldn't concentrate on the affairs of the country.

GOLDBERG: That's right. And that's because there's a basic rule. If it's a Republican, especially George W. Bush Republican, they're going put the worst slight on something as simple as running on a treadmill.

But if it's Barack Obama, they are going to write Harlequin novels about it. You know, about how the sun is glinting off of his pectoral muscles. And, and it's simply because one is a Republican named George Bush and the other is a Democrat named Barack Obama.

There's no deeper explanation by the way. They love this guy. They are in love with him. And if they continue this love affair into his presidency, all of us, whether you're a liberal Democrat out there or a conservative Republican, we're all in a lot of trouble if they don't start to shape up. Believe me.

LOWRY: Yes, you're absolutely right, Bernie. It's really the celebrification of our politics.


LOWRY: You know, paparazzi stalking the guy and taking pictures of him in his bathing suit.

Bernie, thanks so much for being us with. Happy New Year.


LOWRY: Bernie Goldberg, author of "A Slobbering Love Affair," thank you for joining us.

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