The newly retired senior advisor Dan Pfeiffer opened up about life at the White House in a recent Grantland podcast interview, revealing some of President Obama’s media habits.
When quizzed by the hosts, Pfeiffer said that Obama would frequently talk about and watch sports and TV shows in his downtime.
“He looks for escapes, right, because his entire life is like massively critical world events, and so if we’re just hanging out he’ll want to talk about television, movies, a lot of sports.”
Aboard Air Force One, Pfeiffer said, Obama would frequently relax.
“On the plane it’s good, because he always has a game on,” Pfeiffer said pointing out that Obama usually tuned into ESPN on the big TV screen in the conference room. “There’s always some NBA game on, usually the Bulls.”
Pfeiffer added that Obama was frequently willing to talk about television shows, movies, and sports in his downtime.
“He’ll have hot takes on sports,” Pfeiffer admitted, although he noted that Obama was careful to avoid spoiling TV shows for his staff.
Obama “usually gets the TV shows before they air,” Pfeiffer said, revealing that the president already had a copy of the upcoming “Mad Men” premiere.
“He basically refuses to watch network television,” Pfeiffer said. “All of his TV shows are cable.”
“I read somewhere that he liked Downton Abby, and I was horribly disturbed by that fact,” he joked.
At the White House, Pfeiffer explained that there were frequent appearances from celebrities including sports figures.
Basketball legend Shaq O’Neal and the NBA’s ”Steph” Curry visited the White House in the past two weeks, he revealed.
“There’s a fair amount of NBA players who come through when they play the Wizards,” he said.
Pfeiffer admitted that he was watching a Fast and Furious 5 in a theater when he got an email on his BlackBerry asking him to come back to the White House. When he arrived, he found out that the mission to kill Osama bin Laden had just been completed.
“I went years without knowing whether Paul Walker and Vin Diesel could take down the Brazilian drug lord,” he said.