ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: A lot of your pop culture tastes are already listed on your Facebook page — we know you like the first two Godfather movies and are a big SportsCenter fan — but we want to get a little more specific and probing.
BARACK OBAMA: Absolutely, sure.
For instance, who's your favorite movie or TV president?
You know who was a great movie president? Jeff Bridges in The Contender. That was a great movie president. He was charming and essentially an honorable person, but there was a rogue about him. The way he would order sandwiches — he was good at that.
Is that one of the things you're looking forward to? Confounding the White House kitchen staff with obscure sandwich requests?
Absolutely. I want to test them. I want to see if I can get any sandwich I want.
What's the last movie you saw in a theater?
Oh, goodness. It's almost certainly a children's movie. The last few times I've gone it's been with my kids. I'm trying to think back — maybe Shrek 3?
What'd you think of it?
Not as good as the original.
Who controls the remote in your house —you or Michelle?
I usually have some clout when it comes to the remote. I'm not home a lot, so Michelle is usually willing to give it up. The only time I grab for the remote is when a game is on.
So neither of you are fascists when it comes to the remote...
If I tell her, ''Sweetie, we've got game 5 of the NBA finals on,'' she's willing to give me a little slack. Most of the time, though, the TV is on HGTV, and I suffer that silently.
Are there any shows you two argue about?
She likes American Idol, her and the girls, in a way that I don't entirely get.
Have you or any member of your family ever voted for an Idol?
I think the girls did vote in last year's contest. I don't know who they voted for, but I recall that a vote was cast. They were very excited about it. [Obama's camp won't comment, but rumor has it that his daughters, Malia and Sasha, were big David Archuleta fans last season.]
What's the last videogame you played?
Pong. That gives you a sense of my age. I loved that game.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What was the first film you remember seeing as a kid?
BARACK OBAMA: I don't remember the first movie, but I can tell you that one of the first was Born Free. I remember that movie having an impact on me. I think I may have teared up at the end when they release [the lioness] Elsa. I couldn't have been more than 4 or 5, but I remember choking up on that.
What about TV shows? What shows were you passionate about as a child?
You know, I grew up in the golden age of sitcoms. I think M*A*S*H was probably my favorite. Michelle's favorite is The Dick Van Dyke Show, which she sometimes now watches [in reruns]. I have to say The Dick Van Dyke Show ranks right up there.
What about your kids — what do they watch?
Oh, they're all about Hannah Montana. They're starting to get into these tween shows. They were big fans of That's So Raven, but I don't know if that's still on. Drake & Josh. All these Nickelodeon and Disney shows. But they can still hang with SpongeBob SquarePants. And I have to say, SpongeBob is pretty funny.
If a TV network launched a show about a male president and a female vice president, how would it do?
[Laughing] You know, I have no idea. Generally, political shows don't do that well.
Everyone knows you're a Jay-Z fan, but who else is on your iPod?
My staff teases me about how eclectic my tastes are. I've got Frank Sinatra, I've got Sheryl Crow, I've got John Coltrane, I've got Bob Dylan. There's Javanese flute music, African dance music, a lot of R&B.
Last question, and the fate of the Republic hangs on your answer: If you could be any superhero, which superhero would you be?
I was always into the Spider-Man/Batman model. The guys who have too many powers, like Superman, that always made me think they weren't really earning their superhero status. It's a little too easy. Whereas Spider-Man and Batman, they have some inner turmoil. They get knocked around a little bit.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: This might sound like a sleazy rumor out of one of those 527 ads, but we've heard you're a huge ABBA fan. Can this possibly be true? Honestly?
JOHN McCAIN: Yes, I have to give a straight-talk answer. I'm also a Roy Orbison fan and a Linda RonstadtUsher, too. I was on Saturday Night Live with him, got to see him perform, and I was very impressed with him. fan — all the ones whose place in the spotlight ended some years ago. But I like
Yeah, but back to ABBA. Is it true ''Take a Chance on Me'' is your campaign theme song?
''Take a Chance on Me'' was one of them. ''Sweet Caroline'' is another favorite of mine. Lately, with the media, though, we've been using songs like ''My Eyes Adored You'' and ''Can't Take My Eyes Off You.''
What's the best movie about the Vietnam War you've ever seen?
We Were Soldiers. That's a very good film. Let's see, what else? You know, it's been so long since I've seen one. I know there was Full Metal Jacket and Coming Home and Born on the Fourth of July, Apocalypse Now — but honestly, one of them doesn't really stand out as the best.
What's the last movie you saw in a theater?
A couple of weeks ago we went to see the new Indiana Jones movie. I enjoyed that so much. The old guy wins.
We read somewhere that Viva Zapata! is your favorite movie of all time...
Elia Kazan made three movies with Marlon Brando. One was A Streetcar Named Desire, one was On the Waterfront, and the third was Viva Zapata! Many people think Brando's performances in Streetcar and Waterfront were his best. I think Zapata! was his best. I'm in the minority about this. But go back and watch the scene of his wedding night, with [Brando] and Jean Peters — the actress who later married Howard Hughes, who made her give up acting — when she teaches him to read by taking out the Bible and reading it with him. That's a poignant scene.
What's the first movie you remember seeing as a kid?
Believe it or not, Bambi.
Did you cry?
Oh, yeah. When his mother was killed. Oh, yeah, I cried.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: If you could be any superhero, which one would you be?
JOHN McCAIN: Batman. He does justice sometimes against insurmountable odds. And he doesn't make his good works known to a lot of people, so a lot of people think he's just a rich playboy.
Who controls the remote at home, you or Cindy?
Sometimes I win the arm wrestling contest, but foolishly she continues to try to assert her control over the remote. This is a battle that will continue for a long time. But there are shows we agree on. We like the reruns of Seinfeld. I really like Curb Your Enthusiasm. I kind of like Dexter, too, although it certainly has a macabre side to it. I'll tell you that Cindy likes Big Love — I haven't watched it much, but she enjoys that. And I like The Wire a lot, too. That's a great show.
You seem to really know your cable TV. What about the Internet? Do you ever look at the campaign spoofs on YouTube?
I've seen some of them. Some of them are too painful for me to watch. One of my favorites is ''It's Raining McCain.'' But I also like that early one they did for Obama [in which celebrities such as Scarlett Johansson recite lines from a speech as if it were a song]. That was really excellent.
Have you or any member of your family ever voted for an American Idol?
No. [Asking his wife] Cindy, have you ever voted for an American Idol? [Pause] She says she has. She says she voted for Jordin Sparks from Glendale, Arizona. That's news to me.
Who is your favorite TV or movie president?
President David Palmer [Dennis Haysbert] on 24. He's fabulous. He's a guy who makes tough decisions, he takes charge, he's ready to sacrifice his interest on behalf of the interest of the country. My least favorite is the one that got stabbed by his ex-wife but who, according to your magazine, may come back to life, along with Jack Bauer's daughter, Kim...
Um, not to put you on the spot — but on 24, Palmer was the first African-American president...
You know, I hope that I and all Americans can be color-blind about any president.