Obama Dishes on the Cool Factor of Being President

President tells New York TV station about talking to Beyonce and Jay Z.

Jay Z hugs President Barack Obama at a campaign event at Nationwide Arena on Nov. 5, 2012, in Columbus, Ohio.
President Obama told WABC's Diana Williams his daughters think it's cool he is friends with Jay Z, shown here hugging Obama at a campaign event in 2012.

A government shutdown. A looming default. Dysfunction in Washington. President Obama has no shortage of problems to deal with. But he enjoys being president and doesn't let setbacks get him down.

This was clear in an interview he gave to New York's WABC. TV journalist Diana Williams said her teenage daughter was impressed that Obama seemed to be friends with entertainers Beyonce and Jay Z, and this raised a question--what's the coolest thing about being president?

[SEE: 10 Celebrities Who Have Made Big Donations to Obama]

Obama laughed and said getting to know celebrities such as Beyonce and Jay Z was pretty impressive. "That is a view shared by Malia and Sasha," his daughters, he added.

Warming to the topic, Obama said, "For me, I think the coolest thing is that if there is somebody interesting who's doing anything --a scientist, a sports figure, a writer, anybody in the world--if I want to call them up and talk to them, they will answer my phone call. That's a pretty cool thing."

Most of the interview with WABC Tuesday focused on important topics of the day, such as the congressional impasse on ending the government shutdown and raising the debt ceiling. Obama expressed optimism that everything would work out. "Tell everybody back in New York--including Giants fans--it's going to be OK," he said.

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  • Ken Walsh covers the White House and politics for U.S. News. He writes the daily blog, "Ken Walsh's Washington," for usnews.com, and "The Presidency" column for the U.S. News Weekly. He is the author of the new book "Prisoners of the White House: The Isolation of America's Presidents and the Crisis of Leadership."  Ken Walsh can be reached at kwalsh@usnews.com and followed on Facebook and Twitter.