POTUS: Optimistic but frustrated.
POTUS: Optimistic but frustrated. Everett Collection / Shutterstock.com

ICYMI, Marc Maron interviewed the president of the United States on Friday. The episode, which was posted today, covered a wide range of topics, from Obama's upbringing and racial identity to his feelings about red state/blue state politics and race relations in America.

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Here are some highlights:

On the shooting in Charleston and mass shootings in general:

The grieving that the country feels is real....[but] It's not enough to feel bad. There are steps that could be taken to make events like this less likely. And one of those actions we could take would be to enhance some basic, common sense gun safety laws that the majority of gun owners support.


On gun control:

I don’t foresee any real action being taken until the American public feels a sufficient sense of urgency and they say to themselves, "This is not normal, this is something that we can change, and we’re going to change it."

On why he's optimistic:

The American people are overwhelmingly good, decent, generous people.

On whether things are indeed getting better:

LGBT rights have been recognized and solidified in a way that we couldn't have imagined 10 years ago.

In terms of moving the country forward... we've had a lot more hits than misses.

On criticism that he hasn't done enough, and his view of how to change things:

The trajectory of progress always happens in fits and starts... Progress in a democracy is never instantaneous and it's always partial and you can't get cyclical or frustrated because you didn't get all the way there immediately.


On getting angry:

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Right after Sandy Hook, Newtown, when 20 six-year-olds are gunned down and Congress literally does nothing? Yeah, that's the closest I came to feeling disgusted. I was pretty disgusted, but that's the exception rather than the rule in the sense that, on most fronts, I've been able to find ways to make progress, even in the face of obstruction, even in the face of resistance, even in the face of gridlock.


On race relations in the United States:

Do not say that nothing's changed when it comes to race in America.... It is incontrovertible that race relations have changed significantly in my lifetime and yours... What is also true is that the legacy of slavery, Jim Crow, discrimination in almost every institution of our lives, that casts a long shadow and that's still part of our DNA. We're not cured of it.