Can presidential dignity survive a stint on a couch where so many of the undignified - hello, Snooki - have sat before?
It may not be the most-hyped event on American TV - that would be the return of said Snooki and her spray-tanned Jersey Shore sidekicks on MTV - but Barack Obama's Thursday appearance on The View may well be the most controversial.
"I think the President of the United States has to go on serious shows," Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, a Democrat, scoffed when he heard of the popularity-challenged POTUS's latest political gambit. "I wouldn't put him on Jerry Springer either."
Barbara, Whoopi, Joy, Elizabeth and Sherri - not to mention their millions of devotees watching at home and (let's face it) the office - would take exception, of course, with Mr. Rendell's definition of "serious."
And maybe only those blinded by their Beltway biases would consider it unpresidential, in 2010, for the commander-in-chief to chat it up with interviewers more accustomed to pitching softballs about wardrobes and workouts than probing the national security breaches of WikiLeaks.
Even so, this is not presidential business as usual. Barbara Walters, who is interrupting her convalescence from open heart surgery to steer the ship on Thursday's show, insisted it is the "first time in history a sitting United States president has visited a daytime talk show."
In 2004, George W. Bush did Dr. Phil. But that was strictly to talk about parenthood. The topics on The View are, to say the least, more varied.
"People have busy lives and it's best to go where they are," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs offered when a mischievous reporter wondered whether Mr. Obama was "going on The View to talk about Afghanistan."
Far be it for anyone to suggest that women (80 per cent of The View's audience is female) watching late-morning television are not busy people. But Mr. Gibbs's explanation for why the White House is sending the big guy to the chatterbox on the Hudson for a Wednesday afternoon taping was incomplete.
The real reason is that Mr. Obama's approval rating is sinking by the day with the very voters who put him over the top in 2008. Women broke for Mr. Obama over John McCain 55 per cent to 43 per cent in the last election, while men split evenly. Rekindling that affection will be critical to the success of Democratic candidates in this fall's midterm congressional elections, not to mention the President's own re-election in 2012.
"It makes sense that President Obama is looking at who his key constituency was in 2008 and at how to get them motivated and energized to vote in the midterms in 2010," Jennifer Lawless, director of the Women & Politics Institute at American University in Washington, said in an interview. "He's got to get them back on the bandwagon."
Of course, the real voter gap Mr. Obama faces has nothing to do with gender. It has to do with race and ethnicity. African-Americans (almost unanimously) and Hispanics (a solid majority) are still on his side. But white Americans are deserting him in droves.
Winning back white males, especially working-class ones, may be impossible unless the economy turns around. But his visit to The View indicates the candidate of hope has not given up on white women. Nor can he afford to.
Mr. Obama attracted the support of 46 per cent of white women in the 2008 election, compared to 41 per cent of white men. But the latest NBC-Wall Street Journal poll puts his current approval rating among white women at an abysmal 35 per cent.
Proportionately, white women in their 40s and 50s are expected to vote more than any other group in the Nov. 2 midterms. "And they're the women watching The View," Prof. Lawless added.
Mr. Obama will have to fight Sarah Palin for their support. The former vice-presidential candidate, and potential Republican contender for the Oval Office in 2012, has been aggressively wooing "mama grizzlies" as she steps up her campaigning on behalf of GOP candidates running this fall.
As for the Beltway snobs, they should get used to what is likely to become the new presidential normal.
The View, which attracts an average of about 3.8 million viewers, has been moving up the political food chain with a new Red, White & View segment devoted to politicos. In March, Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney was on. Then Vice-President Joe Biden appeared - and didn't even blush when Joy Behar quipped that getting frisked by the Secret Service agents was the most foreplay she had had in years.
It was only a matter of time before Ms. Walters, who has hobnobbed with the power elite as much as any president, snagged the grand fromage.