In interview switch, Obama questions British naturalist for BBC program

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 25, 2015 7:41 PM

By Roberta Rampton

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - In an interview, President Barack Obama is normally the one giving the answers. But on Sunday, he will turn the tables and ask the questions in an interview with naturalist Sir David Attenborough airing on BBC.

Obama and Attenborough will discuss climate change, one of Obama's top issues for his remaining time in office.

"I have been a huge admirer of your work for a very long time," Obama told Attenborough in a clip of the interview posted on the BBC's website.

It is the latest in a series of unusual media appearances for Obama, who has been game to tap almost any avenue that reaches as many eyeballs as possible to get his message out.

Last week, Obama was interviewed by comedian Marc Maron for the viral podcast known as "WTF." Earlier this year, he talked to green-lipstick-wearing comedian GloZell Green and other YouTube celebrities with huge followings.

To reach young people he wanted to sign up for Obamacare, his signature health care insurance program, he talked to comedian Zach Galifianakis for the web series "Between Two Ferns."

Obama, a Democrat, has bantered with other comedians on late night television and exploited every possible social media tool, even doing his own jousting in the political arena of Twitter (@POTUS is his handle).

Attenborough, 89, has been making television documentaries for 60 years. The BBC has called him "the godfather of natural history TV."

Obama's interview with Attenborough about climate change was taped on May 8, and will air on BBC, BBC America and 20 other broadcasters around the world, a White House official said.

It comes as Obama's administration is finalizing rules to curb carbon emissions from power plants. Obama has pushed world leaders to agree to new targets at a summit later this year in Paris.

Obama told Attenborough that kids are "much more environmentally aware" than adults, citing his daughters Malia, 16, and Sasha, 13, as examples.

"They do not dispute, for example, the science around climate change," Obama said in the clip.

Attenborough agreed that adults lose the fascination with nature that is common among children.

"A 5-year-old, turning over a stone and seeing a slug, and says, 'What a treasure!' Kids understand the natural world," Attenborough said.

(Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Leslie Adler)